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November 6, 2022

Table Etiquette: Everyone Should Know These

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.

The year is 2022. Know and practice these table etiquette tips as you go on dates, get invited to dinners, and so on. Remember, every time you eat, you leave an impression. Make a good one!

1. Sitting at and Leaving the Table

Get seated at a table, either by locating your name card or by requesting to be seated. Please wait till the host sits down before doing so.

As a man, be prepared to assist the women seated next to you with their seats during social events. Please don’t do this in a professional setting; women deserve to be treated as equals in the workplace.

The phrase “Excuse me for a second. I promise to be right back” should be used if you need to leave the table during the meal. There’s really no need to elaborate.
You should wait for the host to rise up before you get up to leave the table after eating.

2. When to Commence Eating Your Food

There are two sides to this. When the host takes up their fork, you may start eating. If you’re going to dine out, you shouldn’t eat by yourself.

The exception to the first side is this — make sure your hot meal stays hot. After two more individuals have been served, you may start eating if hot food is being provided and people are still milling about. If there are more than four of you at the table, wait until at least three or four people have been served before ordering.

On a sensitive note, respect religious rituals and prayers even if you don’t practice them. Even if everyone else around you is crossing their arms, you shouldn’t feel obligated to do the same. However, you should still be respectful and silent. Only the host should offer a prayer before the meal, although guests are welcome to join in.

No hard feelings if you gently decline to say if or when requested to do so by the host. Saying “Thank you, but I’d prefer not” will do the trick. If you can, try to make it brief and uncomplicated, and keep in mind that there may be people of different faiths in the room.

3. Refusing Food and Drink

Presented with an option you’d rather not take? Here’s what you do — take a little and give it a try.
Allergies? Vegetarian? Kosher? Is there anything else you can’t eat? Preferably when you respond with your RSVP, you should let the host be aware of any special requirements you may have. Eat a big lunch before going in if you can’t get what you need, and if it’s a meat problem, get some protein.

Make a plan for how you’ll react if your hosts offer alcohol.

Can I buy you a single drink? Two? None, perhaps? It’s your decision, and you don’t have to justify it to anybody. Just remember to stick to your decision. When you do this, people will have greater respect for you and be more willing to accept your choice.

It’s okay to take one glass and lightly brush your lips to it in lieu of drinking if you’d want to join in the toast. Water or soft drinks may be used for a toast during a formal dinner. However, this may be accepted more readily by certain groups than others. You shouldn’t toast with an empty glass.

4. Eat Politely

Don’t put your elbows on the table when you’re eating. During the breaks between meals or while enjoying coffee, it is acceptable to rest your elbows on the table. Keep your hands and feet to yourself and don’t reach over anyone’s shoulder to pick something. Ask someone to pass it.

If you make a mess, please apologize as soon as possible and offer to help clean it up. Then take it easy and try not to think about it.
In order to retrieve the last few spoonfuls from a bowl of soup, you may tilt it, but you should tip it away from yourself. If you break this rule, you may end up with the dreaded “soup down your suit” sensation.

When you’re done eating, put your fork and knife in the 4:20 position. The waiter will know it’s okay to take the plate, and they won’t have to worry about your cutlery falling out.

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