Have you ever panicked because you’re attending an important dinner, but you're afraid that you may unintentionally break some rules of table manners?
Dining etiquette is important for both social and professional situations. Having proper etiquette at the table says a lot about you, especially if you’re meeting someone for the first time. And you definitely don’t want to leave a bad impression right?
Some dining etiquette are common sense, but others remain relatively unknown to many. To keep you prepared for the next formal business lunch/wedding dinner, we’ve made a list of some must-know dining etiquette.
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Rule #1: Never go for the menu immediately
You should always wait till you’ve been at the table for awhile, which shows that you’re not here just for the food, but more for the company. Have a quick chat with your friends, and start ordering after! Always hold the menu lower or just leave it against the table. (Unless you really really wanna hide your face?) After you’ve decided, close the menu and put it down. This is the secret code to let the server know you’re ready to order.
Rule #2: Always serve others first
When there’s a carafe of water or a bottle of wine on the table, it may be a good idea to offer to pour the drinks for others. Just remember, before you fill your water or wine, serve everyone else at the table first!
Rule #3: Bread and drink, where should they go?
Bread on the left, drinks on your right. Urghhh. How to remember??? Don’t worry, here’s the trick. Make a thumbs up with both of your hands. The left shows a “b” and the right shows a “d”.
Tada! “b” for bread, “d” for drink. Get it now?
Alternatively, you can use your fingers to make a "b" or "d" too!
Rule #4: Be polite to the server
“Gimme that… ” What did you just say? Whenever you order, do it politely. You wouldn’t want to be viewed as a rude person. A good way to order would be, “I’d like to have X, please.” or “May I have a X, please.” Be nice to the server and I’m sure he/she will be ready to please you for the night.
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Rule #5: Dealing with the napkin
If you have to get up and use the restroom during the meal, leave the napkin on the seat of your chair. It wouldn’t be nice to leave the stained napkin on the table while others are enjoying their food right? And when you need to clean your mouth, use the inside of the napkin (duh, you wouldn’t want people to see all your dirty traces of spaghetti sauce).
While you’re eating, keep your napkin on your lap until you are finished. At the end of the meal, place the napkin to the left of the plate, crumpled up slightly to hide any stains (lipstick marks included).
Rule #6: Pass the condiments together
“May I have the pepper please?” Sure, take them both. Interestingly, salt and pepper should always be in a pair. So the next time someone asks for one of them, just pass both. They’re considered “married!”. Many people don't know this rule! But now you do ;)
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Rule #7: Dealing with the utensils
Visiting the restroom? Leave your utensils slightly crossed on the plate. Place your knife and fork such that their tips meet near the centre to form an inverted “V” to indicate that you’re still eating. When you’re finished, the knife and fork should go either straight up and down in the centre of the plate with the handles resting on the rim, or pointing between 10 and 4 o’clock. Alternatively, you could simply tell your waiter that you’re done.
Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/40110252906445790/
Rule #8: Eight wait, nine fine
What on earth is this? Well, it’s actually a rule that some people follow. Most of the time, we would wait for everyone to be served before we start digging in. The exception here is that if there are nine or more people at the table, it’s fine to start eating first. Is this be a strict rule that people should follow? Not really. Get the cue from the host if you’re unsure!
Rule #9: Put away your phones, take a break from social media
You can say that this is basic manners. Yet, some of us casually forget about it and leave our eyes glued to our phones throughout the entire meal. This serves as a reminder for those of you who can’t live without social media. (I’m guilty…) It’s definitely better to have face-to-face interaction than to be interacting with your phone. Why text someone else when you can actually talk to people who are right in front of you?
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Rule #10: Reject food with courtesy
If you’re ever served food that is not to your liking, at least take a bite. “Eww, I don’t like that”, shouldn’t be the first thing that you blurb out right after. Reject your food politely by saying, “I’m glad I tried it, but I guess it's not for me.” This reveals a lot about your character.
Rule #11: Always taste your food first
Some people consider it to be rude to season your food before tasting it. Have a bite first and add on some salt and pepper if you think that it's under-seasoned.
Hope you learnt a thing or two after reading this as I certainly did while writing! :)