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Bad Table Manners
People who do offensive things at the dinner table generally don't know their behavior is offensive. Here is a list of things to avoid.
do not chew food with your mouth open
People that chew food with their mouth open are not aware they are doing it. The next time you eat, pay attention to whether you are chewing with you mouth open. If you are, please stop.
Smacking and crunching. Eating as quietly as possible is essential to good table manners. For many, other people's smacking noises are as cringe-making as on a blackboard.
do not bolt your food
Eat your food slowly and enjoy it. Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the company of your dining companions.
never speak with a full mouth
A mouth full of food is unpleasant to see and makes conversation difficult to hear.
- Make sure not to talk with even a little bit of food in your mouth.
- Wait before your dining companions have finished chewing before asking them a question.
Reach for something only within the invisible boundary that separates your personal space from the other diners'.
don't stuff your mouth full of food
Don't stuff your cheeks full of food and don't take exceedingly large bites of food.
Don't form food into a ball in one cheek or take a sip of anything while chewing.
don't blow on your food
Avoid blowing on your food to cool it down. At an informal meal, you may use an ice cube to cool a hot beverage (proper table manners).
don't take a half-bite
Eat every bite completely. Don't eat 1/2 of what you have placed on your fork or spoon.
dont' waive utensils about
Never gesticulate with an eating utensil in the hand. You risk stabbing a dinner partner or knocking over a goblet.
Don't fidget with your tie or jewelry, adjust your flatware, play with you napkin or your hair. Keep still and calm.
don't "waive away" service
Do not waive away a server if you do not want something, just say, "No thank you."
don't push your plate
Don't announce to the table that you have finished eating or push your plate away when you are done with the meal.
To show that you're alert and engaged, don't slouch. Sit up straight and don't stoop to eat your food.
Using a piece of bread to sop up the sauce left over from a dish is fine-but only when the bread is speared by the tines of your fork.
picking your teeth
Toothpicks should be used in private, not as you walk out of the restaurant or, worse still, at the table. Also refrain from noisily cleaning your teeth with your tongue at meal's end-an equally unattractive habit.
grooming at the table
Avoid a primping routine at the table. Whether you're a man or a woman, don't use a comb at a restaurant table, nor should you rearrange your hair or put your hands to it wherever food is served. Do not use dental floss at the table.
- Mike Lininger, Editor, Etiquette Scholar
If you find any typographical errors, inaccuracies, or inconsistencies, or if you just have something to add, please email us.