Don’t Get Caught Making These 3 Dining Etiquette Mistakes
You’re ready to gobble down your food like it’s thanksgiving dinner, but you know people are watching you at the dining table. Proceed with caution; you have to present your most poised and polished self at the dinner table or run the risk of being a topic of conversation at your coworkers’ family dinners.
Whether you’re going to a holiday party or just received an invitation to dine with the leaders at your company, here are three dining etiquette mistakes you should avoid.
Leaving Your Napkin On the Table for Decoration
There is a reason that your napkin is placed on your table; no, it’s not for decoration and it’s sole use is not to keep your silverware warm. It should be placed on your lap and it should be used to protect you from embarrassing situations. Excessive nose running should not be one of those situations where your table napkin becomes your best friend. Just excuse yourself from the table and make a quick escape to the ladies room. If you leave the table during the meal, place your napkin on your chair.
You don’t have to fully open your large napkin and create a layering of a skirt; just fold it in half. Keep the napkin on your lap throughout the entire meal and use it to gently blot your mouth whenever necessary.
And if you are still wondering what you shouldn’t do with your napkin, just remember this: you are not a teething baby who needs to keep their clothing free of food particles, so don’t tuck your napkin into your shirt like a bib. That’s the fastest way to create unnecessary murmurs at the table and draw questionable stares from those around you.
Buttering Your Entire Piece of Bread Roll at One Time
If you are following traditional rules of etiquette in the United States, there are clear do’s and don’ts for eating bread at the dining table.
Find your bread plate: this is the small plate to the left of your dinner plate. Use your butter or table knife to transfer a knob of butter to your bread plate. Put your piece of bread on the bread plate.
Now, this is where most people go wrong. You find many people grabbing their bread roll and buttering the entire piece of bread. This is what you should really do: tear off a bite-sized piece of bread and butter this piece before eating it. Hold the small piece of bread with your fingers and not in the palm of your hand or on your plate.
Buttering pieces of the bread instead of the entire roll of bread ensures that you eat any food that you bring to your mouth. You are not going to eat a whole roll of bread at once, so don’t butter it all at once. If you were to put the entire bread roll in your mouth, you’ll have to give the famous “wait a minute” facial response, and you may miss out on a great conversation.
Staring at Your Phone and Other Belongings on the Table
You’re an important person–we get that. But it’s important that you make the people around you feel important by paying full attention to them. Nothing is worse than you constantly responding to text messages and posting updates to Facebook while at the table–especially if you aren’t including your tablemates in on the action. And if you are constantly saying “huh?” or “can you repeat that?”, everyone starts to wonder why you decided to even attend the event.
First things first, remove all of your belongings off the table. That means no phones, no purses, and no banana apple bum chap stick. Think about what would happen if someone spilled wine on your new Apple iPhone. Instead of a wonderful meeting of the minds, you might be in for a furious battle of words that could lead to a lawsuit. Don’t allow anything to distract from the unified atmosphere and partnerships that you can create at the dining table.
If you are waiting on an important phone call or text, let the people around you know. Then excuse yourself from the table if you need to use your phone. This will prevent you from looking like the rudest person at the dining table.