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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
  • 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'
  • 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 you 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. ~ Laura Piplica, UK

  • Polite kissing is difficult – I also have a hang-up about shaking hands on meeting new people.
    ~ Anonymous
  • 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
  • hugging
  • 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

Click here to see our full list of other “Is it Me?” comments.

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70 comments on “Lefty Kissing
  1. Valentina Crispi says:

    I’m left handed too, and I honestly never thought about this kissing thing! I have the same issue you describe, but I always thought I was the one being awkward. Thanks!
    Also, in my job we often have to close and open bar carts with locks. Sometimes I realize I cannot open them because the lock had been put and closed the “right handed” way 🙂 I definitely agree with most points in this article, I have felt the same in my experience.

  2. Angel says:

    This lefty never had any problem kissing anyone, anywhere, anytime, anyplace. Anyone I came in contact with was a ‘righty’ but there never seemed to be any problems. So far in my 70 years, the only problem I’ve come across was and ice cream scoop. Wish they made them for lefties!!!!!!!

  3. SusaninNapa says:

    Been there many times! I have learned to wait for the other person to approach me first. I get a chuckle seeing my left -handed grandson carry on the bumping tradition! Thank goodness my dad was a lefty. He learned to wait for others to approach as well.
    I am new to this site so I am wondering how dancing and being spun around with a male partner works for you ladies. Some times in a group where my dancing partner doesn’t know me, I spin the wrong way or am better at leading. Needless to say I get asked if I know how to dance or why I lead. I just laugh and say “You are dancing with a Lefty and I am not going to change”. I usually get a big laugh.

  4. Carol Ballew says:

    Borrowing a righties ballpoint pen

    “Wrong” way path thru museum exhibits.

    Glad to hear about trouble with keys. Me, too.

  5. Sue says:

    No awkwardness for this leftie kissing any gender on the cheek!

  6. Dorothy Nagel says:

    I have just given up on all the above-I put a belt on the left handed way, kiss on the left live left and if there is a problem, it is not mine-
    I just bought the left handed pens and actually understood what I wrote for the first time-
    I can write backwards faster and neater then forward-been doing it since I was little-most know it as mirror writing-in college I took notes that way so I’d understand my own writing-still do it to amaze people for fun

  7. kellie says:

    I never thought teaching my child how to tie his shoe would be so easy.

  8. Sue says:

    I thought it was just me. I am always bumping noses and to my shame I laugh and say “I am left handed”. Why do I do this? It is because they are right handed and wrong for me! I wish I could remember this and say “oh dear it’s because you are not left handed”.
    I also wish it did not happen.

  9. Dorothy says:

    I was just so happy to read that this is a left-handed condition and I am not alone in this embarrassment. There have been many awkward moments over the years when I head the wrong way and end up giving a big lip smacker rather than a brush on the cheek.
    – Dot, Australia

  10. nancy says:

    My mugs all face outward when i hold them with my left hand because the designs are on the “wrong” side of the mug!!!
    Everyone leaves my tea kettle facing the “wrong” way but me!

  11. Miranda says:

    Wow, I do all of these thing! …trouble kissing, hugging, locks, wrong way belts, wearing my watch on the wrong hand. I can use right handed scissors and knives correctly, but noticed that my butcher block of them all face left only when my daughter asked my why they were all backwards. I’ve recently starting hiking and noticed that my
    backpack’s zipper pocket closes the wrong way, to the right. Looking for a new one!

  12. Dwayne Thompson says:

    I solved that problem by marrying another leftie 🙂

  13. ronald says:

    Very true! My problem most often I end up clashing with the person am hugging! It feels so embarrassing for me that am sometimes reluctant to hug

  14. Sarah says:

    I’m right-handed raised by two left-handers with 3 older siblings, all left-handed. I learned a lot about the awkwardness of handedness! I have some left-handed habits and really struggled to learn my right hand from my left! I did learn to be a ‘follower’, to let the other person start before making my move. In some cases, this makes me seem aloof and awkward and not as warm and friendly as I would be if I had never slammed noses and foreheads during hugs.

  15. Karen Curry says:

    Before reading the above I thought I was just clumsy. Kissing the wrong side, turning the wine bottle, people complain that I do my ticks backwards, can’t cut anything. It seems that I am normal after all !!!

    • Lenny says:

      Just cos it’s backward doesn’t mean the writer is !
      I do a lefthanded tick when a tick is needed sealed wiv a kiss ead on….

  16. mia says:

    I am too young to be kissing but I do have lots of trouble with locks and keys and it is good to know that I am not the only one.

  17. sharon martinezweir says:

    yeah. i’ve done the hugging and kissing “dance” every once and awhile. how about folding sheets and blankets with a righty? on the 2nd fold, i’ll go left and they go the opposite direction, then we’ll both compensate at the same time, and reverse on each other.

  18. Peter says:

    Have frequently experienced problems when it comes to greeting a right-handed woman with a kiss. The whole thing is a lot worse when you are both wearing glasses!The university where I am a Senior lecturer provides a left-handed keyboard [numerals on the left so can easily use calculator on computer and most importantly makes entering of marks re assignments and examinations onto Admin software so much easier] when i receive my new computer every second year. The majority of the mathematics staff are left-handers and so our reference books in our department library are arranged in numerical order/order from right to left. Also provided with a left-hander’s desk, ruler, and scissors. Also office placements are made with the lecturer’s handedness in mind; so that the office door, when open, provides a clear view of the desk and the occupants of the room.

  19. Margaret, Chicago says:

    Yes, yes! People think I’m quite reserved, but I’m just trying not to be bumped again!
    Also, thanks for mentioning locks — having moved apartments for the first time in decades, I’m still struggling with the new locks after nearly a year. I should check whether they’re easier with shopping bags in hand(s) or not.

  20. Nigel Boddington says:

    with lips that put Mick Jagger to shame (I’m Caucasian!) I just pucker up and wait for the lady to chose her target!!

  21. Carolyn says:

    Now I’m VERY confused. As a leftie, I put my right hand around his neck, left hand over his shoulder, ( so my head is leaning to the left) and kiss him that way. Is this how we do it, or am I a right hander kisser??

  22. George Nimmo says:

    On the left handed belt thing , well yeah! I did it left handed for thirty years until my current girlfriend at the time gave me a belt with fish embroidered along its length. It must be fed from the left to the right or the fish look dead (upside down) . Once I got used to it I’ve never gone back even though the belt andthegirlfriend are both long gone.

  23. Lena says:

    I also have this problem. Not only with kisses, but also with side hugs. For some reason people always get hurt when I try to hug them. That leads to emberassing moments. But it’s good to know that I’m not the only one with this problem.

  24. Emma says:

    I’d never really thought about the reason for this before but I find it so much easier to reverse park into a space on the left hand side of the road rather than on the right hand side of the road. My husband also thinks I’m really funny because I find it easier to reverse into our drive or any parking space from the right rather than the left like him. Of course when I think about it now it’s because when reversing into a space on the left of the road or reversing into the drive/a parking space from the right you need to turn the wheel to the left with your left hand!!

  25. Michael says:

    This is so strange, my whole life I just always thought it was an awkward moment, the greeting kiss… Now I’m going to have to try & not think about it next time, yah right, lol so funny 🙂

  26. pifkus says:

    As it was destined, I married a lefty. I am also a lefty. We never have a difficulty with ourselves. It is just all the right handed gadgets we have problems with. As for the kissing, let me say this—when 2 lefty’s are together “It is magic!”

  27. jackie says:

    I’m right handed but I kiss to the left cx just saying it’s not just a left handed thing

  28. S says:

    I don’t think it has anything to do with the brain, predisposition, or any hormonal attitude, at least for me. In my dating days, much of the kissing activity took place in a parked car, parked in some quiet, lonely place. To kiss with a tilt to the right is extremely awkward, at least in those countries where the driver sits on the left side of the car. A tilt to the left just fits better. So, for those of us who spent our “formative kissing years” practicing in parked cars, a left tilt is just plain habit, one we’re most comfortable with.

  29. Natasha says:

    i have encountered every one of these sometime in my life. in school it annoys me so much as i have to write in ring binders and its really difficult or the desks where there is only room t write on the right hand side so i had to write on the floor…awkward!! out of everyone in my year in school (250 people) i am the only one who is left handed so lovely for me. everyone makes a big fuss when they realise im left handed and always watch me write to see what it looks like. at least i know that it is not just me there are many of us out there!! LEFTY AND PROUD!!!!!! 😀

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