Avoid awkward mealtimes by following these dining etiquette

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People often forget their table manners when visiting someone's house. Avoid upsetting anyone by following these easy-to-remember tips!

Is it ever ok to have your elbows on the dinner table? Do you know which utensils should be used for specific dishes? Whether you’re trying to impress parents of that special someone, or just want to improve your social skills, here’s an essential list of table manners to learn to avoid offending anyone!

9 dining etiquette tips for a basic list of table manners

1. Wait for others before you eat

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If you’re at a restaurant and with a group, then wait until everyone’s food has been served before you dig in.

But if you’re at a private dinner, wait for the host to pick up their fork before you follow suit.

2. Place the napkin on your lap

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Usually, when you eat out you’ll have a napkin on your plate. Either wait for the waiting staff to place it for you, or place it yourself.

And at private meals, observe the host to see when they place the napkin on their lap.

Once the napkin is placed, it’s expected to stay there until you finish eating. If you need to nip to the restroom, place it on either side of your plate until you return.

3. Keep your phone off the table

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We know, we know…In this day and age, it’s as if we can’t live without our phones. But if you’re following this list of table manners and want to be polite, your phone shouldn’t be out in the open.

Of course, you might want to snapshot your dish for the gram. But generally, phones should be off the table. Having it there indicates that you aren’t interested in the evening’s proceedings.

4. Use the right silverware for the right dish

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And how do you determine this exactly?

The general rule of thumb is to use the utensils that are furthest from the plate.

If in doubt, follow the host (if at a private dinner).

5. Don’t talk with food in your mouth

This should be a given but it’s often forgotten in the acknowledged list of table manners people adhere to. After all, if the company is great and conversation is flowing, we can lose ourselves in the heat of the moment to tell our story. But as the saying goes, say it, don’t spray it! The story can be shared without showering our friends and family in the leftovers of our entree.

6. Place your cutlery in the proper resting position

list of table manners

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This is a commonly neglected practice from people’s list of table manners! But when you’re taking a break from eating your meal, place the knife diagonally across the fork, to make an upside-down V.

Once you’ve finished eating, place the fork and knife parallel to each other, with the handles facing at 4 o’clock on the plate.

7. Keep your elbows off the table

list of table manners

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At all times! While eating, remember to keep your back straight and don’t use your elbows to prop yourself up.

8. Cut your food a piece at a time

list of table manners

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You might not have considered this as part of the essential list of table manners you need to observe. But when it’s time to eat, don’t cut up your food into bite-sized pieces (unless you’re feeding a child). Instead, cut a small piece of your food when you want to eat it.

9. Pace yourself

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No matter how hungry you are, take your time when eating. Try and match the pace with the host or the rest of the group so you’re not finished early and left twiddling your thumbs.

Written by

Vinnie Wong