There are certain table manners that we as women unknowingly violate when we are dining out with friends that could possibly diminish the experience.
Being mindful of these dining rules would help show that you are appreciative and respectful of the company you are with.
Here are eleven table manners that women should be mindful of when dining with people in a formal or semi-formal setting.
1. Chew with your mouth closed
There is nothing more annoying than sitting close to someone who chews loudly, that’s just gross. Always chew with your mouth closed.
Also, don’t talk when you have food in your mouth. Even if someone asks you a question, wait until you swallow before answering.
2. Keep your cell phones away
We know it’s a digital world but it is poor table manners to even bring your cell phone to the table, talk more about operating it while eating with people.
It is rude to use your phone when you are dining with people because it comes across like you do not value their company. Switch off your phone or put it on vibrate before dining. You can practice this by keeping your phone away while eating alone.
3. Don’t start eating before your host
When you are served, wait for your host to reach for their cutlery before you start eating. If there is no host, wait until everyone has been served, or has gotten their food and is settled before you begin to eat your food. It shows your consideration and care and respect for the people you are dining with.
4. Never add salt and pepper before tasting the food
Taste your food before you add salt, pepper, or other seasonings. Doing otherwise may be insulting to the host or hostess. If you are dining with a prospective employer, the person may perceive you as someone who acts without knowing the facts.
5. Ask for the food to be passed to you
When you are at the table, make sure you ask for something to be passed to you. Don’t lean over someone’s food in order to get to what you want. You don’t want to risk dropping a serving dish on someone’s plate or worse, push their food off the table.
6. Hold your cutlery correctly
The knife and fork are supposed to be held with handles in hand, forefinger on top and thumb underneath.The knife should be on your left while the knife on your right.
The fork must face down. Do not turn it face up as a spoon and do not scoop food with it. Use your fork to spear food and bring it to your mouth.
Use spoons to eat food that is not completely solid, like soup or pudding. Hold the spoon with your right hand. Hold your spoon like a pen, with the handle between your thumb and index and middle fingers. Rest your fourth and fifth fingers in your hand. Do not lift the little finger. The spoon must face up. Do not fill the spoon completely to avoid spills.
When you finish eating, leave your cutlery on your plate or in your bowl.
7. Match your eating pace with others
Avoid rushing your food when you are eating with others. Even if you eat hurriedly when alone, resist the urge to do that in public. Try to eat slowly and pace yourself to finish at the same approximate time as the host or hostess.
8. Remember to use your napkins
As soon as you sit down, turn to your host or hostess and take a cue for when to begin. Once the host unfolds his or her napkin, you should remove your napkin from the table or plate, and place it on your lap. If you are dining out, you should place your napkin in your lap immediately after you sit down.
Keep your napkin in your lap until you are finished eating. If you must get up at any time during the meal and plan to return, place the napkin on either side of your plate. After you are finished, place your napkin on the table to the left of your plate.
9. Avoid placing your elbows on the table
Make sure your elbows are off the table when you are dining especially if the table is covered with a cloth. Putting your elbows on the table can risk the tablecloth and food being dragged off the table.
Also, keeping your elbows on the table can cause you to hit your drinking glass or another person’s drinking glass.
Placing your elbows on the table also bends your upper spine and this can inhibit digestion because your stomach will be squeezed between your ribs and spine.
10. Never lick your spoon or plate after eating your meal
No matter how delicious the meal may have been, it is inappropriate to lick your spoon or plate after eating.
11. Stick to the drinking rules
If you are being served any alcoholic beverages, know your limits and stick to it. If you do not know, ask for the alcoholic content or simply do not drink that beverage, ask for a substitute. You would not want to be tipsy or drunk while dining people.
If you are drinking from a stemmed glass, hold it by the stem. Also, do not look over your glass while drinking but into it instead.