Evening gents, welcome back to The Young Gentleman’s Guide! Now, we’ve all gone to eat at someone else’s house or at a restaurant before (like a real, sit-down restaurant, not a fast food place). And I would hope that you try to keep proper table manners and common decency in mind, because they do in fact still apply past your days as a kid when your mom asked you to keep your elbows off the table. By doing that, you’ll create a much more positive self-image for your hosts, show respect to them, and it will overall make your dining experience all the more enjoyable (especially if you’re on a dinner date, fellas). So just in case you don’t keep table manners in mind for any reason, today, I’m going to give you five (5) easy steps to improving your dining etiquette.
1. When do you start eating?
This can be a difficult question to answer. Most people will say to start eating when other people do, but that can be a bit hard to gauge. I was always taught to wait until everyone has their food served to them. However, it may take a while to get for everyone to get their food, especially if you have a large group. So a good rule to follow is that if hot food is being served, if at least two (2) people are seated and served, then you can start eating, provided you yourself have been served. Of course, this is all assuming you’re eating in a group larger than four (4). If your group is four (4) or fewer, just wait for everyone to be served. In general, you do not want to be the only person eating, but you also want to eat hot food while it’s still hot.
2. Mind your elbows
This is a simple rule. You should not put your elbows on the table while in the middle of the meal is NOT ALLOWED! It’s simply improper, plus you’ll run the risk of getting a stain on your shirt (if you’re wearing long sleeves, that is). However, it is perfectly ok to put your elbows on the table in between courses or during coffee is perfectly okay. It’s only when there’s food on the table that you should keep your elbows off the table. That actually brings me to my next rule.
3. Do not reach
Whether you’re eating at a restaurant or at someone’s house, there is likely to a large spread of food across the table. So there might be something you’d like to eat that’s halfway across the table. With that in mind, how should you go about obtaining that item? It’s fairly simple. If you have to reach across the table, meaning you have to get up out of your seat to get it, don’t even bother. Simply ask someone else at the table to pass it over to you. Simple as that
4. Bring the food to you; don’t bring yourself to the food
Let’s face it, we’re guys. Our natural instinct is to shovel food into our face like an animal. This is fine if you’re eating by yourself in the privacy of your own home, but if you’re out eating with someone, you’ll want to make a good impression on whoever you’re eating with. It could be family, a co-worker, or a lady friend. So if you want to leave said impression, it would be smart to not eat like an animal. A couple of good general rules is that you should not put as much food on your fork or spoon as you possibly can and to let the food to travel at least a good ten inches to your mouth.
5. Put the phone away!
It always surprises me how often I sit down at a dinner table and see so many people glued to their phones, as if they’ve forgotten what the purpose of going out to dinner is! The whole point of going out to dinner is to interact and socialize with whoever you’re eating with. And just like I said earlier, you’ll want to leave a positive impression the host, whether it be your boss, your family member you haven’t seen in a long time, or your date. So in order to avoid making things awkward and leaving other diners feeling offended, just turn your phone off. You’ll be fine without having to check Facebook or Instagram for an hour or two.
So there we go! Follow these simple steps, and you’ll end up leaving a very nice and positive impression on your dinner hosts. As a result, they might invite you to even more dinner plans! Thank you all so much for checking in on The Young Gentleman’s Guide. Please comment down below if there are other ways to improve your dining etiquette that I missed, and be sure to follow The Young Gentleman’s Guide on Facebook and Twitter. We have a pretty big announcement coming in the next few days, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. But until next time, this is Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide signing out!