How to Master Table Manners: 10 Tips for Etiquette

Table manners have changed and developed over centuries to make the practice of eating with others pleasant and sociable. With so many table manners to keep track of, keep these basic yet vital table manners in mind as you eat.

Napkin and Cutlery on a Plate

Table manners are often overlooked, but they play a vast role in how you’re perceived. Knowing how to behave at the table is crucial, especially in social or professional settings. In this article, we’ll provide a complete guide to table manners with 10 tips to help you navigate any dining situation with ease and grace. By mastering these simple yet powerful etiquette tips, you’ll make a lasting impression and ensure a pleasant dining experience for all.

1. Wait for everyone before you’d start your meal

The first one on the list is a simple rule. If you go to a restaurant and your order arrives sooner, wait until everyone else’s food gets served. It is basic etiquette to wait for everyone before you start your meal. The same applies at home – unless the cook tells you to start the meal, wait for everyone.

Table Manners Tip: Wait for everyone before you’d start your meal
Photo by Redd on Unsplash

2. Eye contact at toasting

It is such a simple rule. Whenever you are toasting with someone, always make eye contact with the person. It is a small gesture that can make a huge difference.

Table Manners Tip: Eye contact at toasting
Photo by Zan on Unsplash

3. No phones at the table

It should be obvious, but in our modern world, it’s getting harder to get rid of our phones. Regardless of whether you are at a restaurant or the home table, there should be no place for your phone. It is allowed when you are eating your breakfast alone, but it is simply rude to others if you are using your phone at the table, especially if they would like to speak with you.

Table Manners Tip: No phone at the table
Photo by NordWood Themes

4. Say thank you after you finished your meal

Whether you’re in a restaurant and someone pays the bill for you or you are having a family dinner, and you know the maker of your food has worked on it a lot – simply thank them and mention how delicious it was. It will make them feel proud. Otherwise, if you keep forgetting to say thank you after you’re finished, you will seem selfish and rude.

5. Greet new persons at the table by standing up

Standing up to greet newcomers at the table is a nice gesture. Especially if you want to make a great first impression. When someone comes to the table where you are sitting, greet them by standing up. The person will notice and appreciate it, even if they don’t mention it immediately.

6. Don’t speak while eating

It should be obvious, yet I see so many people speaking while their mouth is full with their dish. It is not only inappropriate, but quite disgusting too. Only talk at the table when your mouth is empty.

7. Avoid politics at the table

Commonly, politics as a topic come up at family gatherings, don’t be the one who brings it up. Politics should be a personal opinion for everyone – it doesn’t worth bringing it up to ruin family gatherings with politics.

8. Ask others to pass you what you want to reach

It speaks for itself, instead of reaching across the table for something, ask for it to be passed to you. Gently ask others at the table to pass it to you – it is not only a more efficient way to reach it but a great conversation starter as well.

9. Pace yourself with fellow diners

Don’t rush while eating your meal – it is not a sprint. If you hurry while eating, it will seem like you want to finish it, then leave, which will seem rude.

10. Remember to use your napkin 

Finally, another obvious one for the final point, but always use your napkin at the table. It is there for a reason.

Table Manners Tip: Use your napkin
Photo by Mika Baumeister

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