Good friends for lunch in a fine restaurant, waiter spices the dinner, he using a spice mill

Dining Etiquette: Best Practices to Show Table Manners

Are you someone who enjoys dining at varied destinations? Perhaps it’s time to brush up on the basics and etiquette skills to make any dining experience a comfortable one.

Dining etiquette is the set of social manners that are considered to be good table manners. There are many ways in which one can breach these guidelines. As a result, it is always best to err on the side of caution when dining socially with others. Make sure you don’t commit any faux pas! You never know who might be watching. Here are the best practices to show table manners.

group of friends dining

Place the table napkin in your lap as soon as you sit down

One of the most important things to remember in fine dining is to place the table napkin in your lap as soon as you sit down. It is a universal sign that you are ready to dine. It is also a way to protect your clothes from any spills or messes during the meal.

Often, the table napkin is elaborately folded or decorated with creases to ensure that your server can easily see it.

Don’t start eating until everyone has been served in the dining room

This rule goes for even situations when you are in a buffet line at a self-serve restaurant or cafeteria. No matter what type of meal you are at, it is considered a social faux pas to start eating until everyone has been served.

This common dining rule applies even if your first course arrives and you haven’t gotten your other methods yet. Make sure that everyone in the room knows not to start eating their food until others have gotten their meal as well.

Remove orthodontic appliances before eating

If you wear any prosthetic or orthodontic appliances expander, you must remove them before eating. These devices might be difficult to clean correctly between meals. The best practice is to put the device away in a secure place until after your meal is finished.

For instance, if you have braces on your bottom teeth, remove your retainer before taking a bite. Once you have finished eating, place the retainer back in to protect your teeth from any damage that may come from being exposed while chewing food.

Close your mouth when chewing food

If you are dining in a busy or public place, it is crucial to close your mouth when chewing food. This way, no food will fall into your lap when trying to swallow. Also, it is just seen as being polite when dining with others.

Ideally, when consuming any food at the dinner table, make sure your mouth is closed. Doing so will ensure that no crumbs or bits of food are visible when you speak during the meal.

Avoid playing with your silverware

It is considered bad table manners to play with your utensils during meals. It might seem fun to move your knives around or rearrange the order of your utensils on the table, but this will leave others at the dinner table wondering what is on your mind.

Another reason why you shouldn’t make this habit because you could end up accidentally stabbing yourself or someone else if you lose control of your movements. Make sure you always have a firm grip on your utensils to avoid accidents from happening!

Avoid talking when your mouth is full of food

Ideally, when you leave your mouth open and talk with food in your mouth, everyone at the table will know that it is time to pause the conversation because you cannot speak. It may sound like a no-brainer, but many people forget this critical rule during meals.

If you do happen to talk with food in your mouth or while chewing, make sure you excuse yourself before continuing the conversation. This way, everyone will understand that you need a moment to finish your meal and address them once it is done.

Keep elbows off the dinner table

Keeping your arms on the dinner table demonstrates immodesty and discourtesy. It makes it appear as if you are too lazy to keep your arms in your lap. Furthermore, by having elbows on the table, you could be preventing yourself from eating comfortably or using utensils properly.

When dining at a restaurant or even your own home, make sure that both of your arms are either resting on your lap or placed on the armrests of your chair.

Dining etiquette can be summed up with a few key points. Following these simple best practices will ensure that you have good table manners and make everyone else at the dinner table feel more comfortable.