Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Psychopoesie on July 26, 2013, 04:25:59 AM

Title: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: Psychopoesie on July 26, 2013, 04:25:59 AM
My SIL is accustomed to kissing family & close friends on the mouth when greeting or saying goodbye.

I'm more reserved - light kiss on the cheek for friends/family with kissing on the mouth reserved for romantic partners. So I tend to feel a bit uncomfortable when my SIL greets me.

My brother & SIL live a four hours away, so it's not like I see them that often. Does still bug me while I am visiting.

Nonverbal signals haven't worked so far and I've been reluctant to say something about what is essentially an affectionate and well intentioned gesture from a really lovely person. Compared to some of the IL issues people have, this is really minor.

Would still appreciate some tips on polite ways to ask SIL to please kiss me on the cheek, not the lips.

Thanks. :)



Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: weeblewobble on July 26, 2013, 05:27:48 AM
Treat her like you would an over-affectionate first date.  When she goes in for the mouth kiss, very deliberately present her your cheek.  If she protests that she wants some of that sugar, tell her that you're more comfortable with kisses on the cheek.

Personally, I don't blame you for being uncomfortable.  I don't kiss anyone on the lips but my husband. There's a level of intimacy there that outstrips the relationship that you share with someone that you only see a few times a year. Your level of comfort and your boundaries are just as important as hers. 
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: YummyMummy66 on July 26, 2013, 06:47:35 AM
I would just turn my head each time she tried to kiss me on the lips and she would get my cheek.    She should get the hint and if she says anything, I would just tell her, sorry, but that is not for me.  I only kiss romantic partners on the lips and since that is never happening, you get the cheek!
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: MrTango on July 26, 2013, 07:15:04 AM
I'd gesture with my hand for her to not go in for a kiss, and if she's so dense as to not pick up on that nonverbal signal, just let her walk into your hand, keeping her at arm's length.

I don't do kisses (except with my wife), and I don't tolerate hugs from anyone outside my immediate family and closest friends.  What I'll do is offer my hand for a handshake.  If the person goes in for a hug anyway, my arm is already between us.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: Venus193 on July 26, 2013, 07:16:38 AM
I'd gesture with my hand for her to not go in for a kiss, and if she's so dense as to not pick up on that nonverbal signal, just let her walk into your hand, keeping her at arm's length.

I don't do kisses (except with my wife), and I don't tolerate hugs from anyone outside my immediate family and closest friends.  What I'll do is offer my hand for a handshake.  If the person goes in for a hug anyway, my arm is already between us.

I'd second this one.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: CakeEater on July 26, 2013, 07:19:23 AM
I guess since you've said non-verbal signals aren't working, that you've tried the constant head-turning?

Can you hold her by the elbows, and don't let her head near yours?
Or hug, put your head right past hers and give an enthusiastic air kiss, then launch straight into a greeting?

I would be stunned if someone kissed me on the mouth.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: Psychopoesie on July 26, 2013, 07:35:59 AM
OP here. Thanks for the replies.  :)

Nice to know I'm not alone in the discomfort stakes on this one.

Have tried non verbal stuff (presenting my cheek *really* obviously). Expected she'd pick up on those cues but not so far (they've been married a few years). Have managed to dodge her a few times but she keeps doing it & has freakily fast reflexes or something.

Suddenly switching to a handshake (while a little tempting) would feel awkward at this point & probably hurt her feelings as well which I am trying to avoid. It is however something I've done with acquaintances who want to be more huggy/kissy than I prefer.

Think I'm going to have to say something to her and would really like some suggestions on what to say, how to approach.

Admit I chuckled over weeblewobble's suggestion that "If she protests that she wants some of that sugar, tell her that you're more comfortable with kisses on the cheek." Humour may in fact be the way to go. 

ETA. CakeEater posted at same time. Hadn't tried the elbow grab. May have to rehearse as a manouvre or there could be some accidental knocking of heads.

Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: weeblewobble on July 26, 2013, 11:42:25 AM
I don't think you have to make a big production out of a pre-emptive conversation. Just in the moment, turn your cheek and say, "I'm a bit more comfortable with cheek kisses, thanks!"

Maybe add, "I'm saving the sugar for my (romantic partner)."

:)
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: CakeBeret on July 26, 2013, 12:11:30 PM
I have a relative who wants to mouth-kiss me. I am wildly uncomfortable with this. I preemptively kiss her cheek, making it natural for her to then kiss my cheek.

I'm actually not a fan of the cheek kiss either, but in this case it works and it's much better than the alternative.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: Tea Drinker on July 26, 2013, 12:14:00 PM
If it's true for you (as it is for me) you might tell her "For me, that sort of kiss is romantic and/or sexual in nature. I'm not comfortable kissing someone I'm not dating on the mouth."

If she then protests that she doesn't mean it that way, you can agree and say "I know you don't. That's exactly why I don't want to kiss you that way."
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: CakeBeret on July 26, 2013, 12:20:18 PM
Another thought I had. If you think a humorous approach might work, you could tell her, "You could at least buy me dinner first!"
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: chicajojobe on July 26, 2013, 12:21:42 PM
I agree with the handle it the same way you would a first date who's moving too fast. Do the last second cheek turn.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: Judah on July 26, 2013, 12:24:35 PM
I don't think you have to make a big production out of a pre-emptive conversation. Just in the moment, turn your cheek and say, "I'm a bit more comfortable with cheek kisses, thanks!"

Maybe add, "I'm saving the sugar for my (romantic partner)."

:)

I agree, don't make a big production, just say something light in the moment. I like weeblewobble's wording.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: Zizi-K on July 26, 2013, 12:39:26 PM
If giving hints isn't working, I think it's sometimes useful to use humor in these situations. When the kiss is immanent (greeting or parting), you can say dramatically and with a smile, "Now Sue, I'm only going to kiss your cheek because I don't want you to get the wrong idea!" If she looks confused, you can drop the "joke" and say "Actually, Sue, I was raised to cheek-kiss family and reserve the lips for my one-and-only. I hope you understand."
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: PastryGoddess on July 26, 2013, 01:29:34 PM
Maybe rather than turning your cheek, you can put your hand over your mouth, so that she runs into it.  When she looks at you funny, I would just say something to her matter of factly.  If you don't stop it now, you are in for years of being uncomfortable with your SIL over this.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: *inviteseller on July 26, 2013, 01:45:40 PM
Ick !  There is very very few people who get mouth kisses..serious romantic partner, my kids, my cats (yes, yes I do) but I hate overly huggy kissy people.  There is affection for loved ones, and there is way too into my personal space.  I would just tell her that you are uncomfortable with kissing on the mouth.  It would be a shame if she gets hurt, but there is nothing wrong with telling people they make you uncomfortable.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on July 26, 2013, 01:49:34 PM
Another thought I had. If you think a humorous approach might work, you could tell her, "You could at least buy me dinner first!"

LOL! That's a good one, I might suggest that too!

The only one I kiss on the mouth is my DH, everyone else gets a cheek or forehead (though the foreheads are reserved for children).  Though there've been times I got one from the babe on the lips but thankfully, unlike most toddlers he kisses with lips closed. 
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: cwm on July 26, 2013, 01:55:14 PM
Okay, I don't have any objection to kissing on the mouth like this, but I can understand how it would make people uncomfortable. And knowing people were uncomfortable, I wouldn't try it with them. But the problem is knowing for sure. I don't pick up on a lot of social cues/nonverbal cues either, so I might not catch on.

Personally I'd appreciate it more if someone just came up to me and told me that they didn't like it, and would I please kiss them on the cheek/refrain from kissing them in the future. As long as they were nice about it, which I don't honestly think would be a problem in this situation.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: menley on July 26, 2013, 05:11:54 PM
I am really shocked that anyone kisses others on the mouth that isn't a romantic partner! I've never experienced this. Is it a cultural thing? Or regional?
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: whatsanenigma on July 26, 2013, 06:39:16 PM
I have a relative who wants to mouth-kiss me. I am wildly uncomfortable with this. I preemptively kiss her cheek, making it natural for her to then kiss my cheek.

I'm actually not a fan of the cheek kiss either, but in this case it works and it's much better than the alternative.

I like this suggestion.  I am not a kisser myself at all, and it would be very hard to overcome my social inhibitions and kiss someone first, but if the alternative is getting kissed on the mouth by a non-romantic partner, I think I could manage the preemptive cheek kiss. Also, I would think that the chances of the person being offended would be low.  A kiss on the cheek and maybe a hug, with a sincere greeting, that would be pretty hard to take personal insult to, I think, even if the person's first choice is mouth-kissing.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: Bethczar on July 26, 2013, 08:46:54 PM
I am really shocked that anyone kisses others on the mouth that isn't a romantic partner! I've never experienced this. Is it a cultural thing? Or regional?
I think it just goes by family. I still kiss my parents on the mouth, but they are the only ones other than my husband. I personally would not be comfortable kissing anyone less close to me than that.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: PastryGoddess on July 26, 2013, 09:53:10 PM
I am really shocked that anyone kisses others on the mouth that isn't a romantic partner! I've never experienced this. Is it a cultural thing? Or regional?

neither really.  I've met people from all over the country who kiss on the mouth.  They have been different ethnicities as well
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: weeblewobble on July 26, 2013, 10:04:27 PM
You could quote Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation:

"I wouldn't kiss me.  I have a lip fungus they haven't identified yet."
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: menley on July 27, 2013, 09:37:42 PM
I am really shocked that anyone kisses others on the mouth that isn't a romantic partner! I've never experienced this. Is it a cultural thing? Or regional?

neither really.  I've met people from all over the country who kiss on the mouth.  They have been different ethnicities as well

Huh. Maybe I just have a "back off, don't kiss me!" look on my face that keeps them from trying it ;)
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: EllenS on July 27, 2013, 10:29:58 PM
When I was growing up, we were cheek-kissers in our family, but my first cousins were lip-kissers.  My grandparents (cheek-kissers by nature) had adapted to kiss them the way their mom did.

One day when I was about middle-school age, as I was leaving, my grandpa got mixed up and kissed me on the mouth.  It was just all kinds of wierd for both of us. I felt so bad for him, he was so embarrassed.

The funny thing is, I kiss my kids on the mouth now.  They always saw me and DH kissing like that, and started coming at me lips-first as toddlers. I just didn't have the heart to turn them aside.  So now our house is lip-kissers, too. (But only amongst the 4 of us).
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: Redsoil on July 28, 2013, 09:52:14 AM
Would it be possible, rather than kissing, that you pre-emptively give her a big hug?  You know the sort - big squeezy hug, slightly prolonged.  That way, you might avoid the kiss, but still give her the affection needed.

Otherwise, maybe a European-style double kiss - one on each cheek?  If all else fails, just take a quiet opportunity to mention that you love her, but you're actually more comfortable with cheek-kisses and you know she'll understand.  Just be quite matter-of-fact about it.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: MamaMootz on July 28, 2013, 04:39:19 PM
Is it wrong that I'm picturing Ross from Friends in that episode at their cousin's wedding with the aunt that always glommed on to him screaming "WHY IS IT ALWAYS ON THE LIPS?"

But that would be wrong.

I am uncomfortable with even hugging, so I'm glad that none of my relatives are lip-kissers. But if she's not getting the non-verbal hints, I'm afraid you are going to have to say something kindly, like you are more comfortable with cheek kissing - what Redsoil said.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: Arrynne on July 30, 2013, 01:30:21 AM
Treat her like you would an over-affectionate first date.  When she goes in for the mouth kiss, very deliberately present her your cheek. 

This. My husband's grandma was a lip-kisser. I became very skilled at quickly turning so she got my cheek instead of my lips.
Title: Re: Kissing on the mouth
Post by: learningtofly on July 31, 2013, 07:29:41 AM
Treat her like you would an over-affectionate first date.  When she goes in for the mouth kiss, very deliberately present her your cheek. 

This. My husband's grandma was a lip-kisser. I became very skilled at quickly turning so she got my cheek instead of my lips.

I became skilled at this as well.  DH's family was never a hugging/kissing family, but they saw that my family hugged and kissed on the cheek hello and goodbye.  When they started this practice I think FIL had spent years only kissing MIL (and therefore associated kisses with lips) and my husband's SIL and I spent a few years with awkward mouth kisses and then learning to turn really fast once we got past the initial shock.  Now we just don't hug or kiss any of the adults and everyone is happy.