Greeting people in Holland still makes me uncomfortable after more than 20 years. I know the norm is to hold out my hand, give a firm handshake and state my first and last name clearly. But I'm more of a "Hi, I'm here and wave in the air to all the strangers" kind of person. Very often I find myself walking into a meeting and forgetting to shake everyones hand. Or meeting someone new and forgetting to introduce myself.
The same thing happened yesterday. I went to pick up a number of my girls friends from the train station. I said Hi (I think) and told them I would give them a drive to our house. What followed was a very quiet drive. And then got to thinking. I think the silence came from me not following the norm. What I should have done is shaken their hands, said my name, and introduced them to the others that were driving along. Then the ice would have been broken and chatter might have ensued.
If I had been a good hostess, dutch style, I probably should have walked up to every person and introduced myself. But like I said, greeting people in Holland still makes me feel uncomfortable! It feels so formal and distant and so not like I want to be. But yesterday I also realized that me not following the norm may have led others to feel uncomfortable as well.
I suppose I need to resign myself to this dutch norm. That way it will only be me feeling uncomfortable. And who knows, maybe dutch formality will grow on me!