Table Manners play an important part in making a favorable impression for every aspect of social existence. They are visible signals of our behavior and upbringing. Table manners are defined in dictionary as social conduct as per the rules prevalent in the society that one lives in. And if one aspires to attain any degree of social standing it is absolutely necessary to conform to these rules.
How to Behave at the Dining Table?
- Posture: Sit up straight at the table, never lean backward, nor forward and also never let the elbows touch the table.
- "Please" and "Thank you" are basic manners at the table.
- Napkin: The napkin should be placed on the lap to catch crumbs or drips while eating food and should be kept back on the table neatly, after the meal is finished.
- Family Meal: Food is passed counterclockwise by the head of the family or the host/hostess.
- Wait for others to start eating.
- It is best to order foods that can be eaten with a knife and a fork.
- The only way to eat is slowly and quietly with the mouth closed.
- Smoking should not be done while dining out.
- One should avoid touching nose, teeth and combing hair while dinning.
- The table and table cloth should be kept clean.
- Avoid spitting anything out. If there is something in the mouth, which can't be swallowed, quietly put it in a paper napkin and then continue. (e.g. bones, seeds, etc.)
- End the meal properly. When a person has finished eating, the fork and the knife are placed diagonally crossed across the plate, this is the best way to inform the server that you have finished eating.
- When you have finished eating, express appreciation for the meal. And then wait for all to be finished before leaving the table.
Do's & Don'ts of Table Manners
To handle some of the unfortunate and embarrassing moments while eating food, following are some tips:
- When a bug appears: If a bug or anything of that sort appears in your salad etc. quietly send it back but do not point it out because it might ruin the entire dinner for the rest of the people.
- To remove a distasteful food item from the mouth: The food should be removed in the napkin discreetly and the food morsel should be kept out of view from others.
- If a piece of silverware falls onto the floor: It should be picked up if one can reach it and the server should be told to replenish it with a clean one.
- If some beverage or food is spilled on some guest while eating: The best way is to handle the situation with a calm and quiet frame of mind. Apologize first and then using the cloth napkin and water wipe it gently or else gently guide the guest to the wash room.
- Food should always be eaten with right hand.
- Some food items can be eaten with fingers: Some food tastes better when eaten with fingers. So you can eat with your fingers provided you use just the first two segments of the thumb, the index and middle fingers to pop the food into the mouth. Avoid licking fingers after finishing the food.
- Smoke at the dining table.
- Create nonsense at the table by playing with utensils.
- Talk when you are chewing food.
- Slurp while eating. Always eat slowly by chewing.
- Eat directly from the serving plate. Always get a little of what you need in your plate and then enjoy the meal.
- Take the lion's share in your plate. Pour a little and after finishing it, you can re-obtain the same.