Men greeting Men – A handshake is appropriate in most situations. Handshakes tend to be energetic and very often linger through the greeting process and sometimes the entire conversation which may include walking where it is common to continue hold/shake hands. As a show of respect/ deference its is common to grasp the right forearm with your left hand when shaking hands. In casual situations a low hand slap is common. Many men also share a light touching of the side of forehead to the side of the other person’s forehead—first the right side, then the left.
Women greeting Women – A handshake and/or nod of acknowledgment is appropriate in most situations. If you would like to show great respect you may also place your left hand over your right elbow/forearm when handshaking. Many times women will hold hands with other women, and often the handshake is prolonged into this hand-holding. . Close friends or family members usually hug and exchange kisses on the cheek, alternating sides. If you are unsure what to do, just follow the lead of your Rwandan counterpart.
Greetings between Men & Women – Appropriate greetings depend on the nature of the relationship and region. A handshake is usually appropriate but it is best to wait for the woman to extend her hand, otherwise a bow or a nod of acknowledgment will suffice.
Note: It’s a good idea to use your right hand when shaking hands. Shaking hands is expected in business or government meetings.
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