Does your British man kiss their guy friends on the mouth?

Posted on January 26, 2011 by yankeebean


There’s been another out cry from a fellow expat and I’m opening it up to you lovely She’s not from Yorkshire ladies.  One reader is American, living in South Korea and dating a British expat there.  She’s said that he’s lovely, and funny and adventurous, but does one thing that makes her uncomfortable.

I am concerned about his overly affectionate behaviour with his mates. I just don’t understand it. And I don’t know if it’s just a British thing? Help!

When we’re out, him and one of his best mates will kiss each other (fairly regularly and it’s pretty over the top and drawn out). I find it rather unsettling so I broached the subject one day. He told me that they kiss each other ‘because they love each other’, as well as to get a reaction and he also said that he thinks it’s an acting/theatre thing (they’re both actors).

He said there are other guys AND girls he’s done this with back in England, but it’s not romantic or sexual. He’s also very openly affectionate/cuddly/huggy with his friends (including the guys).

It makes me uncomfortable, but at the same time I don’t want to change who he is.

I want to know if this kind of behaviour is more common with British men – do they tend to be more physically and verbally open and affectionate with their friends? I’ve never seen this kind of thing with American guys so it really puzzles me. I think I also need to make it clear that it’s unacceptable for him to continue doing this with the girls he used to openly kiss now that we’re in a relationship (even if it doesn’t mean a thing!)

If you’re able to give me your opinion and/or any advice, I would truly appreciate it as I’m at a loss.

Well, I would be uncomfortable if Mr. Nice Guy was doing any more than giving someone a peck on the cheeck.  Man / woman, it doesn’t matter – those lips are mine…  But I also know that Mr. Nice Guy isn’t openly affectionate, he’s never liked PDA.  We hold hands, or have a little smooch in public, but other than that, it’s saved for when we’re on our own.  So if I saw him doing this, it would be TOTALLY out of character.

I ran with the theatre crowd when I was in high school and I can easily imagine my guy friends back home doing this kind of stuff.  I think it still would have made me uncomfortable, though.  Hugs?  Fine.  Cuddling?  Borderline.  Kissing?   Nonononooo.  Maybe I’m just possessive, though.

What do you think, ladies?  Does your British man kiss other male/female friends?


Thanks to Carolina.firefly who posted a link in the comments to a Guardian article about straight men kissing more.  It proves you’re not alone, lovely reader!

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What Others Are Saying

  1. oggle September 18, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Kissing female friends on the lips is actually normal for a British guy (at least with close friends). Kissing other males is rarer – but it could simply be that the guy sees it as no different from kissing his female friends, as long as it’s a peck. Heck we don’t even get weird about kissing our kids on the lips here (again, just a peck), so if we love our kids and kiss them, why not kiss the friends we love?

    A lot of British men aren’t actually comfortable with their sexualities (though they’re more comfortable than Americans and more Britons than Americans are comfortable) so even the many British men who kiss female friends on the lips (a quick peck as mentioned) would shy away from doing the same with a male friend – but some straight males are more comfortable so see it as no different.

    However, anything more than a peck is wrong if he has a partner. Unless the partner is into that sort of thing.

  2. Yorkshire Yank February 5, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Oops, meant to say “British men don’t show affection” stereotype.

  3. Yorkshire Yank February 5, 2011 at 11:51 am

    In my experience, the “British men don’t show affectionate” stereotype just isn’t true. My British husband is affectionate with me in public and in private. Our British couple friends cuddle and kiss in front of us.

    Regarding men kissing men, one thing that I have noticed is that heterosexual British men seem to be much more comfortable with their sexuality than straight American men and not worried about being perceived as gay the way straight American men would be worried about that. The standard fancy dress costume for a (straight) British man is drag, after all.

  4. Carolina.firefly February 2, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Hi ladies,
    I’ve been reading your website religiously since I started seeing my British guy about a year ago, but this is the first time I’ve thought I had anything to contribute. I mentioned this post to my guy fully expecting laughter and “Noooo, no way…” Instead, he laughed and said, “The funny thing is, I was just reading about this…” and referenced this article in the Guardian:

    Maybe it’s more common than any of us thought? But whatever the latest social trend may be, I wouldn’t be comfortable with my guy’s lips on anyone’s but mine. Thanks for the great site!

  5. justAmericandesigned January 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    My British man has kissed other men on the lips, but he was drunk (and not dating me at the time!). When he told me, he didn’t make a big deal about it, but he has no desire to do it again, especially sober. Maybe he’s just ok with that behavior? Many American men shy away from affection with their male friends for fear of the “gay” label… But maybe he’s just comfortable with who he is?

    Although, in relation to your second question… I’ve noticed he is very affectionate towards all of his friends (male and female) including being cuddly, speaking very close together, and holding hands… the latter is a red flag in my mind, but after discussing it, it’s apparently a difference in our cultures.

    Hope that helps?

  6. peacefulyorkshire January 27, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Or he could be ‘bi’….

  7. Katie Seattle January 27, 2011 at 8:46 am

    This does not sound something any of the British guys I know would do. I had an American actor boyfriend that kissed male friends on the mouth. He came out after we broke up… just sayin’…

  8. TheMysteriousHat January 27, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Have to add to the general view above, it’s not remotely normal behaviour for a typical British man. The theatrical subculture is different, but not necessarily that different.

  9. Julie January 26, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    He’s gay. Sorry!

  10. Culturally Discombobulated January 26, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    We can be surprisingly affectionate – particularly when sloshed. When drunk a group of British guys can quickly descend into jokingly groping and slopingly kissing each other. The kiss is unlikely to be on the mouth, it’s more like a wet kiss from Nana.

    This sounds a bit different. He has admitted as much it’s to get a reaction. Perhaps he’s playing up to it more because he’s in South Korea which my pressiom fr South Korean friends it’s a bit more conservative on such matters. As for the “it’s a British thing” I use that excuse all the time from when I mispronounce words to a joke falling flat.

  11. thechubbygrl January 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    This is so the opposite of what British male behavior actually is! I have found British men find it hard enough to kiss their women in public (unless they’ve had a pint or 4) let alone another man! I do know a few British men that would kiss other men in public, but they wouldn’t be kissing women if you know what I mean.

  12. Almost American January 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    No, this is not common behavior for British men!

  13. Jocelyn January 26, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I think the rules for men kissing that I have found are kissing female relatives on the cheek is ok, male relatives get a half hug/pat on the back sort of thing, female friends might get a kiss on cheek if you haven’t seen them in a long time or it’s an important hello/goodbye, male friends don’t tend to get physical contact- more likely just a ‘see you later, mate’. I think your man’s kissing is an eccentricity particular to him!

  14. peacefulyorkshire January 26, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Sorry to break it to you honey, but in my expereince, Oh my, no I do not think this behaviour is common in the UK. Heck this is the site where women COMPLAIN that their British men are not very openly cuddly etc.

    But a positive thing, at least you won’t be lacking PDA’s in public as he sounds very affectionate! Better tell him how you feel— fast– before those lips touch anyone else!

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