Basic Table Manners

Table manners refer to the rules of etiquette that are observed while eating meals. Some of these rules pertain to the proper use of utensils. The rules differ from one culture to another, and each family sets its own standards for proper table manners. You can start practicing proper table manners by following some simple tips, such as keeping your napkin on your lap. Also, remember to eat a small amount of everything on your plate.

Place your napkin on your lap

Many people don’t know the correct way to place a napkin, or don’t even notice when someone doesn’t use it properly. In fact, many people don’t even notice when someone blows a napkin into the table! Even if you’re not aware of proper table manners, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you don’t blow your napkin while you’re eating. Here are some basic rules:

When you’re eating, never take your napkin from your lap. If you’re leaving the table, place it on the seat to the left. This way, if you’re not finished eating, it will not be a distraction. If you’re going to leave during the meal, be sure to excuse yourself politely. Leaving a napkin on your seat will give the impression that you’re not finished eating.

Avoid blowing your nose at the dinner table

Using a handkerchief to blot your nose is discreet and acceptable. You can use a tissue to dry your nose when you need to, but don’t do it in front of your dinner guests. Instead, excuse yourself to use the bathroom or the table’s restroom. You should never use a cell phone in front of your dinner guests, and you should leave it in your pocket or on vibrate mode.

Another common table manners faux pas is blowing your nose at the dinner table. It is rude and impolite, and it is not a pleasant experience for anyone else around you. It can also cause a plethora of other obnoxious odors. If you’re a frequent nose-blower, make sure you leave the table and go to the restroom before you blow your nose. You’ll want to avoid putting your used napkin on the table unless your dinner companions have finished eating.

Eat a little of everything on your plate

In order to show proper table manners, you should always eat everything on your plate. Never try to taste another person’s food. When you spill soup, always put it on the side of your plate, not in the middle of it. If the spill is yours, apologize and offer to pay for the dish. It is also polite to pass the salt and pepper together.

When you’re eating at a table, wait until the host invites you to begin eating before you dig in. Also, keep your hands visible – fork and knife in your left hand, napkin on your lap. You should use your knife and fork to cut food and place it on your plate, not on your lap. Avoid talking with your mouth full, and chew your food with your mouth closed. Make conversation, but try not to talk loudly and keep it light. Avoid talking about personal issues, but do talk about pleasant things with your companions.

Avoid sitting down as you please

When attending an informal dinner party, a host will either direct you to a particular seat or may ask you to choose where you will sit on your own. In both cases, you should not sit where you please. When a hostess picks up a fork, you should wait until she gives you a hint before sitting down. Similarly, you should not sit at a table by yourself if you don’t receive a place card.

Besides the etiquette of being considerate, other table manners principles are also based on your appearance. To keep a good impression on others, don’t bring your purse or hat to a table. If you want to share an item, wait until the initial guest has finished the item. Sitting at a table is a sign of respect and should be treated as such. Avoid leaning forward or slumping down on your chair. Also, keep your feet on the floor and keep your elbows off the table. If you must be late, wait for the host to sit.

Silverware and dinnerware rule

When it comes to dining manners, the first and most basic rule is to keep your elbows off the table. Similarly, you should not lick your fingers, blow your nose, or pick your teeth at the table. Furthermore, you should never eat with your mouth open or wave your silverware. Another important rule for table manners is to never hold your fork or spoon when talking to others. It is also considered impolite to touch other people while talking.

When setting the table, the first rule is to position silverware on the outermost plate. The salad fork and spoon should go outside the plate. Next, the dinner fork and knife should be placed beside the dinner plate. The soup spoon and knife should be on the right side of the plate. The coffee cup and saucer should be placed on top of the plate and to the right of the dinner knife.

Waiting for others to finish eating

While it may make sense to wait until other people finish their meals, you may not want to be annoying to the others. Waiting for others at the table is the polite thing to do, and a good rule of thumb is to match the pace of the table. A slow eater will likely not finish their meal in five minutes, so you don’t want to start eating in the middle of the meal.