Kissing confusion for left-handers!
Some of our members have mentioned to us in the past that they often have trouble greeting people with a kiss on the cheek. They told us that the kissing would often lead to confusion and sometimes very awkward moments! So we thought that this couldn't be a one off and that there must be more left-handers out there that are having the same problem. So we asked you....
Is it just me or is it a left-handed thing?
It seems that many of you have been compelled to respond to this question and all of your answers were great to read. From what you have told us, it appears that at least 4 out of 5 of you have had this problem at some time in their life but most of you have also learned to overcome it. So we think that there has to be something to this and it has to be a left-handed thing!
Listed below are some of the responses that we received to our question.
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- My (right handed) husband has learnt to stay still and just let me kiss him whichever way I want to!! I have had this problem going in for a hug as well, I clash heads with the other person, who is trying to go the same way as me... Again, I thought it was just me being strange and didn't link it to handedness! Thanks- you have made me feel a lot better about my apparent inability to hug someone without clashing! ~ Cait
My son's wedding was a nightmare - kissing the female guests as they went into the reception. I just had to do it the right-handed way but this was wrong for several ladies - I can only assume that they were left-handed.
~ David Welford
I usually wait to see which side the other person is going toward, and go with that. I have had problems, thou, when it comes to just giving a friendly hug, as to which side to put my head. :-) I would like to say, thou, this is the first survey I've ever filled out where, when asked whether to choose left or right, that "left" is listed first!! Thank you!!! ~ Cheryl
- I laughed out loud when I read this! MANY times I have accidentally brushed against someone's nose or even lips! Which would be okay if it happened to a man...but usually this happens when I go to greet another woman. TOO FUNNY! ~ Kimberly Spruill
- I've had this problem ever since I was a little girl. I first remember it on visits to my aunt who's husband is very European and always insisted on the double cheek kiss. I used to start getting nervous during the long car journey to their house knowing that I was going to have to kiss him, and that inevitably I would headbut him on the nose and feel very uncultured and silly. Until now I've never thought about it as a lefty issue, just a social thing about Brit's not being totally au fait with continental greetings! But now I'm thinking it was just me all along! ~ Zoe Lewis, UK
- Ah, for once I'm a "natural" left-handed kisser. I can finally explain the greeting-at-the-door dance I've done with my mother for almost 50 years! ~ Ellen Newton Hausler, USA
As a single person actively dating, I find this happens often. We both end up doing a little dance/head bob thing and end up looking goofy. Fortunately, I can usually laugh this off with the person I am hugging/kissing.
- Here in Spain, when greeting, most people move first to the right side, then the left. A standard two kiss greeting. I got used to this after a few months, feeling comfortable and having little to none embarrassing clashes. THEN, I took a weekend trip to Italy, only to find out that they kiss starting on their left. Man, did it mess me up! I had many close call lip or nose kisses! ~ Jill, Spain
- My, that is soooo true. I do it all the time and get really funny looks when things do not go exactly as erhm planned!! I did think it was me, but it is reassuring to know I am not alone.... ~ Stephanie, UK
- Just thought you'd like a Rightie's opinion (my son is the leftie in the family). I never thought of this kissing as a potential problem--your newsletters always make me aware of something new, which helps to understand what my son may encounter as he grows (he is almost 5.) Thank you! ~ Amy, USA
- I had a really embarrassing moment with this. I ended up kissing my friend's husband full on the lips. My daughter stood there and looked stunned. I felt so embarrassed and my 8 year old said 'what about daddy?' I couldn't stop laughing later but I had some explaining to do to my partner and my friend! I now often wait to see which side the other person is going, which could make me appear stand offish. Oh well better than than lots of lip kissing!!! ~ Justine King, UK
i just wonder if any one out there is like me when I'm out with friends walking i have to be on the left side of road when walking and on the left of people when I'm talking otherwise i feel uneasy i find playing sports hard too as I'm a left hand and foot i seem to miss the ball because of the right-handers throw or aim. ~ Jay
- Receiving change from shop assistant - I nearly always find myself struggling to hold it without the coins falling all over the floor. (I'm talking about a combination of notes and coins). I think it's because people naturally hand change as if the person receiving will hold out their right hand - but I hold out my left. ~ Emma Hurley
- It's unbelievably true!!! but it has major advantages, my current boyfriend, then only best friend, was trying to kiss me goodbye and we ended up kissing "hello", LOL. ~ 'Rocket Queen'
- When going to a cinema or theatre I am always drawn like a magnet to the left hand side to find a seat. If I have to sit on the right hand side I don't feel comfortable all night and just sit there thinking how much better I would enjoy the film etc if I was on the left. Is this common with other people?
~ Maureen Elliott
- Myself and one of my best friends were going out later that night. well, we were trying on clothes and she wanted to try on the shorts i was wearing-with a belt. when she got them on and was trying to use the belt, she was having trouble getting it undone so she could do it. as she was having trouble, she made the comment "you and your left handedness." i had not realized she was having trouble with doing the belt until she said that and i asked what she meant. evidently,i had my belt "backwards". i have to wonder how many other "leftisms" there are that we (lefties) are unaware of?
~ Anonymous, USA
- Solved by embracing with the left arm, kissing the right cheek - my left arm around shoulder of friend being greeted - I serve as a church greeter, so I have "perfected" this over the years! (a left-hander adapting to what works best...) ~ Robert Callet, USA
- I've learned through trial and error. I "fake" motion to kiss on the cheek and wait to see which direction the other person moves then proceed and continue the friendly kiss on the cheek from there.
~ Shirley, USA
It works the same way when walking past someone but don't know which side to let them pass you on, so you end up doing a little dance and bounce on both feet before one person takes the lead and chooses a side. the difference is, it's with your neck and so you end up looking stupider! although it can be quite humorous ~ Laura Piplica, UK
- Whenever I read a book and the author describes a scene, I always find later, as the plot unfolds that I have visualised it completely the wrong way round, as a mirror image. Is it me? ~ Linda Dainton, UK
- Polite kissing is difficult - I also have a hang-up about shaking hands on meeting new people.
- Another observation I've had is putting on belts. I don't know if this has been shared before but I put on a belt backwards, as in using my left hand and inserting it in the right side. Most of the time its hard to notice a difference, but there's belts out there, like ones with buckles that end up being upside down. I know it's not just me because two other left-handers I know do the exact same thing, so I was wondering how many other left-handers do this as well? ~ Scott Farrar, USA
- Handshakes! I naturally put out my left hand...d'oh! Oh the trials of living in a right handed world...
~ Nancy Hopkins, UK
- I bump noses thought I was just awkward.Also I have difficulties with locks and keys is it just me ?
~ Frances Todd, UK
Along with the problem of greeting people with a kiss we also received comments on other things that made us think....is it just me or is there more to it? Some of the things that were mentioned were:
- walking down the street/crossing other peoples paths
- being helped to put on a jacket
- receiving change
- putting children's socks and shoes on
- using your left-hand as a point of reference when giving directions
- feeling more comfortable sitting on the left hand side of things
- putting belts on upside down
- visualise things the opposite way around
- trouble opening/locking locks
- work stations flow the opposite way around
In future newsletters we hope to bring you more questions on these kinds of topics and more like them. If you have any 'Is it just me...?' questions then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well, there you go!
Thank you to everyone who responded to our question - it is great to be part of such a helpful worldwide community of left-handers.
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