The fifth in a series looking at U.S. life and culture through its idioms. View previous entries.
Like apples and oranges = completely different from each other, not comparable
One thing I was confident about before I arrived in the U.S. was that I knew how to greet people there.I come from a Latin American country where we keep a very close physical distance, we touch and hug continuously, and kiss hello, even with a person we’ve just met. I was prepared to curb that practice in the U.S. and was sure I’d greet Americans with a wave and a light-hearted, “Hi.”
But oh, did I find unexpected scenarios!
Since I arrived, I’ve been able to pick up on a lot of the common greeting patterns, like shaking hands with people I’m being introduced to and answering “I’m good” instead of the long-practiced “fine, thanks.”
But it turns out there are lots of greeting patterns, and deciding which one to use can be curious and confusing. Some people you’ve met a couple of times, or even your friends, will go for the smile and “Hi,” but others will give you the typical “American hug” and some even kiss!