Top 10 Mistakes in Dining Etiquette
I'm not stating this to sound judgmental but to encourage all of us to pay attention to our table manners, because others really do notice, and it sends a message of how much we value the dining experience of those around us.
Here are a few things to remember:
1. Your napkin should remain on your lap until everyone is exiting the table. If you must exit first or during the meal for any reason place your napkin on your chair, and then upon return, back on your lap.
2. It's not polite to heap your plate full of food. You should never have food stacked on top of each other. You also don't want to fill your plate so full that you can't see the rim of the plate. Think conservative, especially if you're at a business or professional luncheon or dinner.
3. Never place your fingers in your mouth for any reason -- not to clean your fingers, not to remove food from your teeth, and not to get the last taste of sauce from your hands.
4. It's polite to only cut one to two bites of food at a time, placing your utensils down in between every one to two bites.
5. Never push your plate away after you're finished eating to signal that you're finished. Simply place your utensils side by side at five o'clock with the handles of the utensils slightly off the plate.
6. Never stack plates in order to help clean up the mess when at a restaurant or formal dinner. Only do this when you're at home or when you have been asked to do so by the host.
7. Never reach across anyone to get something at the table. A simple "please pass the ..." is all you need to do.
8. Do your best to keep conversation at the dinner table light, refraining from speaking of too serious of topics or topics that aren't appropriate, such as gross things vulgar things, sad things or political or religious debates.
9. Always find ways to sincerely compliment the cook or host.
10. Never announce any dislikes while at the table. Simply say "no thank you" if you would not care for something. Hopefully your host knows her manners and will never ask "why not?"
These are just a few common mistakes we tend to make while dining with others. Having proper table manners is a great indication of our education level, our ability to show self control, and our sincere interest in the dining experience of those we're dining with.