In the part of the world I live in, kissing is a normal way to say hello. Where I grew up it’s much less of a habit. There closer friends would find it easier to hug than to kiss and the handshake would be the normal way to say hello.
With the coronavirus on everyone’s mind, things suddenly changed.
When meeting someone you’ll start with a short negotiation. You’ll be looking at the other asking yourself how he wants to be greeted. If things are not evident you’ll enquire how they want to be greeted. And even then, there might be a small back and forth as both may fear to be too intrusive.
Some countries try to establish an official protocol, telling or inviting people how to greet one another. It doesn’t change the personal relationship and the fact that people find it awkward to move away from their habit. It’s a moment of anxiety. Making the wrong choice is seen as a possible threat to the existing relationship.
The feeling of awkwardness won’t go away on its own. But the negotiation can be transformed into an opportunity to share how this change feels and how it creates more awareness for the existing relationship. It’s showing that you care.