Is it okay to kiss your friends on the lips?

It’s that awkward moment when you greet a friend. Is it okay to kiss your friends on the lips?

Remember that episode of Friends, “The One With All The Kissing,” where Chandler accidentally kisses Monica goodbye in front of Phoebe and Rachel who don’t know they’re seeing each other; then, to cover his tracks, he also kisses other women on the lips?

While in this specific Friends situation, Chandler’s gesture was not well received, with Rachel and Phoebe stating that it’s not something friends do, for others in the real world, platonic kisses , including on the lips, can be a very real way to say hello or goodbye.

Described by Relationships Australia NSW CEO Elisabeth Shaw as “an act of intimacy that is not romantic or sexual in nature”, the platonic kiss “even on the cheek – is most often reserved for extended family or more close friendsrather than something we would give to anyone.

But what makes a embrace platonic or something else? Like Rachel and Phoebe, Shaw thinks the differentiation has a lot to do with the location of the kiss.

“This difference is often marked by where the kiss occurs; that is, on the cheek rather than on the lips. Even an “air kiss” is still about showing closer relationships and affection or warmth.

But it’s the mouth or the lips that for some are still not so simple.

“For some, kissing on the mouth is only for a romantic relationship, and they will be pretty strict about it, and will view any attempt to kiss on the mouth outside of that relationship as inappropriate and a boundary violation,” he said. said Shaw. .

But for others, like Sara, Melbournian, 26, the platonic kiss on the lips is completely normal and is part of many of her friendships.

“My circle of friends and I regularly greet each other with a hug and a kiss on the lips. For us, it’s just a sign of our love and friendship for each other, something that seems more reflect that than a simple hello,” she explains.

Shaw agrees with this sentiment, believing that for many, “platonic kisses are a way of showing warmth, affection, and that the person means more to you than a handshake or verbal acknowledgment does. would point it out.”

She believes, however, that the location of that kiss can mean different things to different people, so it’s essential to determine that meaning first.

“It is important to recognize that touch has a very different meaning in some cultures, and to be aware of this and follow the example of others. There are many ways to verbally express affection and warmth and become more comfortable with it is useful in such situations.

This is picked up by Sara who explains that for one of her other friends platonic kisses are part of their culture but certainly not on the lips.

“My friend from the Philippines has always greeted me with an airy kiss. For her, it’s the usual way to say hello. Platonic kisses on the lips even if she doesn’t feel comfortable with it”, she says.

While platonic kisses can vary from person to person, culture to culture, even friend group to friend group, how do you know whether to plant a kiss on someone? one, be it the lips, the hand, the cheek or the air? Or when not at all?

Well, that can be tricky and can depend on a wide range of factors, says Shaw.

“In some cultures and circumstances – such as work relationships – moving around to show affection or closeness in this way may not be appropriate. It can break down boundaries and personal space or cultural norms. In the workplace, for example, it could skew team dynamics by making some look like favorites or closer allies than is helpful for relationship dynamics,” she says.

Shaw also says it’s important to remember that kissing always has meaning, so we can’t impose our own traditions on others and insist that they live it the way we do.

“In Western society, kissing also tends to be quite gendered and situated in heteronormative traditions. Therefore, a man can kiss a woman, but not another man; in other cultures, men who kiss and hug other men would be very normal and comfortable. It’s very different for women who can comfortably kiss other women without questioning or negative interpretations,” she says.

And finally, Shaw says it’s essential to seek consent or have permission before you frown in any way.

Shona Hendley is a freelance writer and former high school teacher. You can follow her on Instagram here.

This story was originally published in Body + Soul and has been reproduced with permission.


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