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50 Dining Mistakes To Avoid

Imagine ... you have been invited to a formal dinner in a posh restaurant. The moment you look at the table setting you start to panic. What cutlery are you supposed to use for what dish? 

“The way you treat your food on your plate is a reflection of the way you treat people in your life. Learning how to dine teaches you not just how to eat but how to treat people.” Rajiv Talreja

When dining out always keep in mind the occasion, your role and where you are.

Here are the 50 dining mistakes you should avoid when eating out with friends, family, work colleagues or business partners.

Don’t be late for your dinner. You show your counterpart that you don’t care, you don’t take them seriously and you don’t respect them. That’s surely not the impression you want to leave, isn’t it?

Don’t click your fingers to get the attention of the waiter. Instead raise your hand and smile.

Never lick a knife.

Don’t make or answer phone calls while sitting at the table, and also don’t text during your meals.

(For ladies only): Avoid leaving traces of lipstick on flatware or stemware.

Make clear that your children know how to behave. They should not come and go as they please from the table or start playing with condiments or cutlery. Also don’t allow them to watch videos on your phone just to keep them quiet.

(For ladies only): Avoid touching up your make-up at the table. Excuse yourself and go to the bathroom if required.

Don’t forget to leave a tip. (But check again, this depends on the country you are in. Be cautious: There are some countries in this world where you are not supposed to leave any tip.).

If your food seems to be too hot, don’t blow too loudly.

# 10
Don’t ask for mayonnaise or ketchup when being in a fine dining restaurant.

# 11
Don’t tuck your napkin in your collar. That’s meant for kids only.

# 12
Don’t hold your knife like a pencil.

# 13
Don’t hold your fork and knife in the wrong hand. The fork should be on the left, while the knife goes on the right side. (See the table setting at the end of this guide for more information).

# 14
Don’t smoke at the table.

# 15
Don’t ask for toothpicks to remove pieces of food from your teeth.

# 16
Don’t ask for knife and fork just because you can’t use chopsticks.

# 17
When drinking coffee, don’t leave your spoon in your coffee cup. You should place it on the saucer instead.

# 18
Don’t eat with your mouth open and avoid any kind of noises. It can be perceived as very disruptive to others.

# 19
Don’t pick up a fork once it has fallen on the floor. Get another one instead and continue eating your meal.

# 20
When removing fish bones or olive pits, don’t use your utensils but instead your fingers.

# 21
If there is a piece of meat which you are not able to swallow, don’t just tuck it away into your fist or on your plate. The right thing to do in this case is to chew it into small pieces and then place it on the prong of your fork. Afterwards, place it on the rim of your plate.

# 22
Don’t dominate a conversation and don’t talk too loud when expressing your views to others either. Listen instead what others have to say attentively and show your genuine interest.

# 23
Don’t leave the table until your host/hostess rises.

# 24
If for some reason your glass of water gets knocked over, don’t start drying the table with your napkin. Adjust the glass and continue with your conversation.

# 25
Don’t place your purse on the floor. You can either put it on the back of the chair, keep it on an empty chair or ask for a purse stand or hanger.

# 26
If you are the guest, you are entitled to get the best seat. However, wait until someone (the host) offers it to you.

# 27
Do not slouch in your chair. It would be advisable to leave a little bit of space between the back of the chair and you. This also helps you to have a good posture.

# 28
Don’t wave around with your utensils to make your point.

# 29
Don’t overdo it when it comes to drinking alcohol. Remember to do it in moderation. Getting drunk makes you look like a fool, a person who has no control over themselves. Your respect and credibility would be lost in an instant. Why risking that?

# 30
Avoid fights over who is responsible to pay the bill.

# 31
Don’t pick your teeth. Instead, go to the bathroom and excuse yourself.

# 32
At the end of the meal, remember to be gratefule and thank your host for the invitation.

# 33
Don’t slurp your soup. However, this depends in which country you are in. While in Western countries this would be considered rude and disrespectful, in certain Asian countries it would be acceptable, such as Japan (thus, check what is acceptable in the respective country!).

# 34
Don’t criticise the food.

# 35
Don’t place your phone on the table, instead switch it off. Don’t keep it close to you either. The focus during your dinner should be on your company and the food.

# 36
When eating bread and butter, don’t butter the whole roll or slice of bread. Instead, tear bread into bite-size pieces and spread some butter on each piece right before you eat it.

# 37
Don’t blow your nose at the table.

# 38
Once you are done, don’t move the plate further away from you. Just leave it where it is.

# 39
Once everyone has finished eating, don’t re-arrange or stack dishes in order to hand it over to the server. You might think it’s a kind and helpful gesture, but in reality, they want to do it their own way.

# 40
Don’t tell other people what to do, don’t correct their behaviour. Be mindful. If they realise themselves that they made the mistake it’s already embarrassing enough for them.

# 41
Don’t interfere with the space of other people sitting at your table.

# 42
Don’t place used utensils on the table.

# 43

Avoid putting spit-out items, such as gum, gristle or seeds on wrappers, sugar packets or even directly on the table.

# 44
Don’t choose the following topics for your conversation: death, religion, politics, sex etc. It can lead to negative discussions, disagreements and even fights. Just avoid them. Keep the topics positive, pleasing and light. For example: books, art, theatre, travel, movies, sport etc.

# 45
If you are sitting with a small group, don’t just speak to the same person. Include everyone in your conversations.

# 46
Even though it is very common nowadays, you shouldn’t take pictures of your food. It emphasises that you focus on your phone rather than holding nice conversations with your dining companions.

# 47
Don’t move around tables and chairs to accommodate your party.

# 48
Don’t remove the ice cubes from your drink with your fingers.

# 49
Don’t use the wrong utensils. Remember to always use them on the outside first and working your way inward.

# 50
Not being prepared to share a sharing platter and eating more what you are supposed to eat.

If you know someone who might also benefit from this article, feel free to share it. 

Thank you. 

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