It can be hard to know, in general, how to behave. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to lay it all out in one place—an etiquette column to end all etiquette columns. We’ll be tackling one befuddling situation at a time until all awkwardness has been driven from the earth. Take it to heart.
It’s a familiar moment: you’re coming to the end of an evening with a friend or business associate. He’s headed to his car and you’re headed to yours, but first you need some final physical gesture to mark your parting.
The standard is the handshake—a firm, businesslike way to conclude an interaction. It’s a perfectly respectable option (despite what the germophobes might tell you), but if you feel a sudden surge of fellowship, you may decide to go in for a hug.