When’s the last time you kissed someone on the cheek? If you live in Europe, the answer may be as recent as a couple of hours ago. In other parts of the world, it’s probably been a bit longer. In fact, you may never have done it at all. If it’s not as commonplace in your life, receiving this gesture may leave you wondering about its significance. So, what does a kiss on the cheek mean?
Why we kiss each other on the cheek
Kissing one another on the cheek is a popular greeting in Europe, especially France. It’s a natural gesture used when meeting up with friends and family members and to outsiders, it seems super chic. However, what you may not know is that this is hardly a new practice. As The Maudern reveals, it may have come to Europe thanks to the Romans during the Gallic Wars — yes, all the way back in the year 50, B.C. However, it could date back even further, with Texas A&M anthropology professor Vaughn Bryant explaining that humans may have learned to recognize one another by smelling each other’s cheeks. This could have evolved into the act we know as kissing today.
That being said, kissing each other on the cheek serves multiple purposes. The most casual and perhaps the most popular is the greeting. It’s casual while still conveying some sense of affection. However, depending on your relationship with the person offering you a peck on the cheek, that meaning could change entirely.
What does a kiss on the cheek mean from a guy?
- He thinks you’re sweet. Because a kiss on the cheek is so precious, if a guy does this to you, he likely thinks you’re very sweet. If you’ve done something thoughtful for him or been there for him in some way, he may be using this gesture to show you how much he appreciates you. Don’t feel belittled or condescended to if he calls you “sweet,” either. It can actually be a really good thing.
- He’s trying to be respectful. Maybe he’s super into you but he knows you have boundaries. Kissing you on the mouth without being sure he has your consent is a major no-no. Kissing your cheek is a way for him to convey interest without being inappropriate. No one wants to be sexually harassed or assaulted, so this is very considerate of him.
- He’s trying to friend-zone you. If you’ve indicated that you want to go further and have made it quite clear that you’d be into a proper make-out session (or more), he knows he has the green light. If he still chooses to kiss you on the cheek, it may mean that he doesn’t feel the same. He doesn’t want to hurt your feelings by rejecting you outright, but he also doesn’t want to give you false hope. This is somewhere in between.
- He’s attracted to you. If he’s more of a shy guy and you’re only just getting to know each other, this could be his way of showing you. It’s a tentative move, particularly if he doesn’t know where your head is at. He can make physical contact but in a way that would allow him to claim it was just friendly if you’re not into it.
- He has a lot of affection for you, though not necessarily romantic. This is a great way to express affection, but that may not be in a boyfriend-girlfriend way. It’s possible that he loves you as a sister or a best friend. He feels comfortable enough to be physically affectionate. So, he gives you a peck on the cheek to show you he cares.
- He’s testing your reaction. Again, if he likes you but isn’t sure if you reciprocate his feelings, a kiss on the cheek is a good litmus test. How you react to it will tell him all he needs to know. Do you blush and laugh? Get uncomfortable and try to get away?Give him a kiss back? He’s hanging on for your response.
What if it’s from a woman?
- She’s saying a friendly hello. As mentioned above, a kiss on the cheek — or maybe one on each! — is a common way to great friends and family members. If she offers you this gesture, she clearly feels very comfortable with you and wants to show you in a physical way. There’s nothing deep to it, she’s just greeting you. Don’t read too much into it.
- She really appreciates your friendship. Maybe you offer her a ton of support of you’re helping her move house. She can’t help but feel extremely grateful to have you in her life. What would she do without you? If your thoughtfulness and care came front and center recently, she wants to express her fondness for you. A big ol’ smacker on the cheek is a good way to do that.
- She’s trying to comfort you. Are you going through a hard time? Did you recently receive bad news? If you’re struggling at the moment, a kiss on the cheek could be her way of trying to comfort you. She hates seeing you upset or struggling and wants you to feel better. It may not work, but it’s the thought that counts.
- She feels a familial affection for you. Again, you could be like a sibling to her and she doesn’t think twice about being physically affectionate with you. This is especially true if you’ve been friends for a long time, or if she’s from a family that’s extremely close and open with one another.
- She’s interested romantically but unsure how you feel. Just as men might use this as a way to test a woman’s family, the same works in reverse. She really likes you and would like to date you, but she doesn’t want to make a fool out of herself by laying her cards on the table. She hopes that by offering this small gesture, you’ll pick up what she’s putting down and give her a sign.
Can it be romantic as well as friendly?
As you can probably deduce, a kiss on the cheek is usually completely platonic. However, it can certainly be romantic in some circumstances. In order to determine what it really means, you have to use context clues. For instance, how is the person’s behavior with you? Has there ever been any hint of romantic attraction before? Do they do the same thing with other friends? Every situation is different, but you can figure it out.