In Los Angeles, as in the rest of the United States, when you meet someone the typical greeting is a firm hand-shake. Hugs are not common except between friends and kisses are usually reserved for family or very close friends. Very rarely will men kiss in greeting.
Most of the time, Americans will introduce themselves with their first and last name, although if the situation is casual, only a first name may be offered. Many people use, “Hello, how are you?” (or many variations) as a greeting. Do not be surprised if this is said and then the person moves on without waiting for an in depth response.
California may be casual but in Los Angeles, the casual has to look good. Be prepared for dressing in expensive jeans and a shirt for business meetings.
For business meetings, punctuality is expected. Add time to your journey as traveling from A to B at any time of the day can take an hour. If you are going to be late, make sure to call ahead to alert the other party.
California banned indoor smoking more than ten years ago. Smoking in city parks was banned in 2007 to curb the city’s bush fires, in addition to the smoking ban on city beaches. Starting March 8, 2011 the City of Los Angeles also prohibited smoking in outdoor dining areas of restaurants, cafes and food courts and within 10 feet of them. It is also prohibited within 40 feet of food shops, food carts and trucks. Due to these measures, an increasing number of Angelinos is calling it quits. For those of you who would like to join the club but are having a hard time doing so, the state offers a campaign called “1-800-NO-BUTTS”, which was created to offer information and support in order to double the chances of successfully quitting smoking.
Hugs and smiles are the norm in Los Angeles as are grandiose promises of fame and glory. Enjoy the warmth and the friendliness but keep one skeptical eye on Tinsel Town. Take it all in with the sunshine.