How to Greet People in Korea: 2 Steps (with Pictures)

Step 1: Bowing

Koreans don’t wave hands to say hello or bye to the senior. Of course, hand waving is common with friends. However, when you greet people who are older than you, you should bow.

In Korea, bowing shows courtesy. Interestingly, the degree of the bow depends on politeness, social status, and seniority. To show the highest degree of politeness, you bend your head and waist about 45 degrees. Common courtesy to most people is shown by bending about 15 degrees with your face downward.

Step 2: Handshaking

Handshaking is the typical greeting as well as the bow in Korea. Usually, a younger person bows first, going on to shake hands with both hands if the older person starts handshaking. The order is important, the senior first. It is considered to be impolite for younger people to start the handshake.

In addition, most Koreans hold hands softly, not tightly. In other words, the limp handshake doesn’t imply any negative impression to the other person.

Don’t be surprised! In Korea, it could be rude for the junior to use one hand when handshaking. Use two hands.

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Reference: Culture notes of Chat to Learn Korean — Eggbun

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