10 Meeting and Greeting Customs in Indonesia

A day in the life the people would have a series of meetings and greetings. In Indonesia, there are two kinds of meetings and greetings, formal and informal meeting and greeting. The formal one, would usually for the businessperson who is going to meet the clients and have meetings. While the informal meeting and greeting is for the family, friends, or colleague that aimed to conduct some party such as wedding party, engagement, or birthday party.  Thus, there are several Meeting and Greeting customs in Indonesia you need to know.

  1. Handshaking is mandatory

Give a handshaking while meet a people is mandatory in Indonesia. Don’t forget to say your name firmly. After the first meeting, a handshake is not necessary; a slight bow or nod of the head is sufficient.  It is considered that you are welcome to the people whom you meet. Handshaking is also a form of “silaturahmi” in Indonesia. They believe that handshaking could help them to get more relatives at work or family.

However, be careful if the person whom you meet is the opposite sex. Shake an Indonesian woman’s hand only if she initiates the greeting. Remember that the most of people in Indonesia embrace Islam as their faith. You might not give your handshake toward the veiled woman. You just need to lift your handshake and don’t touch their hand.

  1. Standing up to welcome someone

While someone comes to them, they will stand up (if their firs position is sitting) to welcome the people who just come. It is a form of honoring people. Once you are up, you can shake their hands one by one. Do not forget to introduce yourself when you do not know them. If you already know them, you can try to ask how they are and what they do recently. (Read also: Bad Manners in Indonesia)

  1. An additional event after meeting and greeting

In casual meeting and greeting, Indonesians prefer add some events. The events such as games, karaoke, or even hospitality, are even added in a meeting and greeting. It is commonly used to increase the intimacy between meeting participants and greeting.

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  1. Introduce someone who accompany

In meeting and greeting event (at the formal meeting is an exception), the Indonesians usually would bring their colleague or family. When they just arrive at the location, they would like introduce the people who accompany him/her. Then, they would be at one of the topic of conversation to talk. It is because most Indonesians typically like to socialite each other. They would like to talk to the people although they’ve never met before.

  1. Nice Greeting

How to greet Indonesians is by saying “selamat”, which means peace. Say it slowly and sincerely. Shake hands then give a slight nod when meeting for the first time. Give your most beautiful smile ever. Don’t show your flat expression while meeting and greeting. It is an event to socialite with others. All the things you need to do is just be happy and get more relatives there. (Read also: Indonesian Greetings and Phrases)

  1. Kiss on the cheek between man and woman is prohibited

While in Western culture, kissing on the cheek between man and woman is normal, in Indonesia it would be considered as impolite or inappropiate  manner. That is why you don’t need to kiss the opposite sex while meeting and greeting, even she or he is your close friend. Giving him/her a handshake is enough. Hugging with opposite sex that has no family relation in front of the public would also be considered as impolite. (Read also: Things to Avoid in Indonesia)

  1. Chit chat is a must

Usually these chit chat are often used when a guest arrives at home or is away with a relative. Perhaps the eastern culture of Indonesians who are conditioned with hospitality, they can’t express a feeling or desire directly. Some are meant to be more polite, and some are meant to know or test your true nature. The different people have the different intent and purpose.

The topic of chit chat could be various. The most common chit chat is asking about the family, how many daughter or son you have, even some heavy topic such as the weather or trending news today.

  1. Calling the name of people started with Pak / Bu

If in English there is Mr. and Mrs, in Bahasa Indonesia you have to know Pak and Bu. Pak and Bu are designations for calling honorable people as a form of our respect to them. Calling the name each other in meeting and greeting is important. If in English you are familiar with Mr. Anthony, in Bahasa Indonesia you should mention it by Pak Anthony.

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  1. Let the older / honorable people to sit on the chair first

In Indonesian culture, politeness is really important. The people would usually give priority to the most honorable person who is the elder people. That is why while the guests sit on the chair, and the most honorable person come, the guess would stand up for a while to welcome him/her. The guess would let that person sit first. Then they would have a seat after the elder people sit down.

  1. Having meals after meeting and greeting

After the meeting and greeting finished, there would be eating together. It happen both in a formal and casual meeting. Eating together in Indonesia is like a mandatory. If the meeting and greeting is conducted in a restaurant, they would order a large number of foods and drink. However, if the meeting and greeting is held at the house, the host would prepare a lot of foods. The food usually includes the main course, snacking, and also desserts.

Those are the meeting and greeting customs in Indonesia. This event is actually another form of hospitality to tighten the relation among the family or working partners. It is also another way of Family Customs in Indonesia.