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Hello fellow human! Learning how to say hi & goodbye.

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Culture shock is something we experience when we go to a new country and the way people behave or live is different from what we are used to.

How do you say hi in Canada?

As you know, Vancouver is by far one of the cities with the most culturally diverse environment in the world! More than half of its population are immigrants or the direct descendants of immigrants.

So… what does this have to do with saying hi? When you get here, you will interact with people from all over the world (and a few Canadians) and you will want to avoid the awkward moment when you scare people by saying hi with a handshake, a hug, a kiss, a bow, or if you are one of those people who screams and jumps in excitement.

Learning all these greetings is tough

We know! If you had to learn how to greet a Brazilian, Korean, Thai, Mexican, Japanese, Russian, Indian, Canadian, etcetera, you would need to ask the government to give you at least another 3 months on your visa.

However, we can explain to you what is generally practiced by everyone immersed in Canadian culture. Canada is known for being on the cold-side of greetings because there is not a lot of physical interaction when saying hi. Time for a Canadian example!

Casey is at a Tim Hortons (Canadian Starbucks) and waiting for Jessie. When Jessie arrives, they wave at each other to say hi, Jessie smiles and orders a coffee. Jessie then sits at the table and they start their conversation.

Where’s the hug, kiss, or personal greeting in this example? There isn’t! And that is why we wanted to write this article. A simple wave to each other, usually accompanied with a smile, is more than enough when it comes to Canadian standard.

Now… what about goodbye?

Same thing. No physical contact, just waving goodbye.

End of section.

LOL. Jokes aside, saying goodbye is very similar. People do not usually do a personal goodbye like hugging. They end the conversation and wish each other well before leaving.

You can see people who hug but it’s more common amongst old friends, once there is a deeper connection.

Bonus detail! These interactions can also be seen in groups of people. If you arrive or leave a party, you do not have to say hello/goodbye to everyone. Simply wave around the room, smile and say hi/bye.

Final thoughts on greetings

What we have covered here is one of the most shocking things when arriving in Canada. People seem a little colder and this can lead you to think that you are doing something wrong, people do not like you or you just simply feel isolated.

If you feel this is affecting you too much, we recommend getting closer to your community in the city. Look for Facebook groups that connect you to people from your country. However, remember you are here for an international experience, so try to make friends from all over the world and learn how they greet each other in their culture!

Wishing you many new friends and good social interactions!

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