Spanish in Mexico

Greetings and Partings

Two people hugging

Greetings in Mexico are usually very informal. However, a more formal manner is used when greeting an older person, parents of a friend, a professor, or a person one does not know well. A more formal greeting consists, for example, of a handshake and “good morning, how are you” with the formal use of “you.” When friends or close relatives greet one another, they usually hug or kiss each other once on the cheek. When greetings are being exchanged in a group, strangers are expected to be introduced by a mutual acquaintance. In some instances, people who have just met may choose to kiss each other on the cheek, but a handshake can also suffice, even when greeting close friends.

“Good morning” or “good afternoon” are greetings commonly used when entering a room, a store, or public transportation. These are also appropriate for greeting professors and older people. When saying hello to friends, “what’s up?” is currently the most common greeting.

Partings are slightly different. Family members will exchange a kiss, while friends and more formal acquaintances simply say goodbye.