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20 Table Etiquette Mistakes To Embarrass Yourself

20 Table Etiquette Mistakes To Embarrass Yourself

So you think you can eat? Politely? If you’ve been spending too much alone time shoving food down your pie hole or hanging with friends whose careers don’t require adult behavior, your manners’ hard drive may be corrupted. It’s time to pull the napkin out of your collar and get serious again about good table manners.

1. Don’t Rush the Table

SDRandCo (5)

    A simple meal at a friend’s home is a great place to practice etiquette skills. Hopefully, you brought along an offering of wine, etc. and once there, are engaged in frivolity. But don’t get too comfortable too fast. Your hosts have some expectations. Let them lead the event including the gesture for seating. Musical chairs ended in grade school and it’s best to wait for their direction on when and where to sit. And naturally, ladies first.

    2. Can you hear me now?

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      Thinking of putting your phone, keys, or purse on the table? This is a clutter free zone, not your kitchen counter. Pack away yourmuteddevices after taking the requisite photos and doing the check in which should be no more than 30 seconds. It’s now considered acceptable to photograph your beautiful food or table mates if the host is doing it, otherwise, save the updates for later. Sara Rimerwas dealing with this a few years ago and her advice is still timely.

      3. Napkin Etiquette

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        It’s so much easier when the napkin is directly on your plate, otherwise panic sets in if you’re confronted with beautifully folded linens placed around the table. Yours is on the left which leaves your right hand free to use your eating utensil. Apologies to the lefties but this was decided long ago by royalty.Napkin History Wait until your host is seated and takes his/her napkin. You may then proceed without great flourish…no snapping or flapping among the refined! Most cloth napkins are big enough for a half fold on your lap while paper napkins can be completely unfolded. A napkin is for keeping hands and face neat; any attempts at using it for a handkerchief will get you promptly moved to the kids’ table.

        4. Place Setting Cheat Code

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          Both hands in front of you now while making this symbol. Look down. Do you see the letterbon your left? That stands forbreadand that’s where your bread plate is located. The letterdis on your right and it meansdrink. No excuses now for scarfing down your neighbor’s bread and water as you’rein the knowwith this tricky cheat code.

          5. Focus on etiquette, not plates

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            You’re seated without your technology which makes googling this puzzle impossible but don’t fear, the wait staff/hosts will guide you at this level. Napkin in place, the service begins and order replaces confusion. You’re the smart one now who recognizes that all thedrinks will be offered to your right and yourbread will be placed to your left. Soups or salads begin using the dish/bowl directly to your front and possibly on your entree plate. They’ve made it easy to find the appropriate utensils as they are placed on theoutsideto be used first. Notice the far left fork (salad) is shorter and wider so as tograbthe greens more efficiently. The soup spoon to the far right is longer and wider to dipdowninto the bowl for every last drop. When getting that drop, you may tilt the bowl but don’t pick it up or even think about bringing it to your mouth!

            When service of your entree begins, your used dishes and utensils will be removed (don’t forget to leave them on those dishes to signal that you’ve completed this course.)

            The entree arrives which leaves the remaining utensils at thesidesfor your use. The smaller ones at the top of the entree plate are waiting for the final coursewhich will be dessert.

            Don’t even worry about the various water and wine glasses placed near you. The staff/host will offer and typically pour your beverage in the appropriate glass saving you the concern over which one to use. But in case you’re a worrier, the water glass and white wine glass are usually simple, tall and slim allowing these clear liquids to be highlighted. Short and wide wine glasses allow red wines to expand their surface while you have room at the top to breathe in their bouquet. Understanding the reasoning behind a shape or placement will help you remember its purpose.

            6. Chew and listen. Swallow then talk.

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              Eating together is fulfilling. Thebreaking of bread in either a business setting or at home with friends and family touches something in our spirit. The ceremony of a meal is conducive to sharing and with that comes a multitude of etiquette mishaps. The most important (and perhaps most abused rule) is DO NOT EAT WITH YOUR MOUTH OPEN! It sounds simple but as we get excited sharing our conversation, we forget tochew and listen, swallow then talk. No matter what you are sharing, it gets lost as the audience watches the food in your mouth rather than listening to the content of your words.

              7. Etiquette Food Sneaks

              SDRandCo (50)

                It seems so harmless at first. The hostess is speaking or saying grace at a large dinner and you think no one will notice that nibble of bread you’ve slipped into your mouth. People notice and make an internal judgment that you’re ill-mannered. You are welcome to sip your beverage but DO NOT start scarfing your meal if you should be listening to a speaker. Only when the speaker urges you to continue eating are you allowed to CONTINUE EATING!! Put your fork down but not on your plate (the wait staff sees that as a signal you’re done) and listen. Besides, your chewing is never louder than when you are the only one doing it at the table.

                Click out the hilarious video below by GloZell to assault your senses if you think you can get away with beingaFood Sneak

                8. Time to Make a Pass
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                  It’s going so well and then you’re challenged to make a pass. Salt and pepper move as a set regardless of what is asked for…don’t separate these savory lovers when responding to a request. Also, it is acceptable to ask someone else to pass them if it’s still too far for you to reach. NEVER reach across a table!

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                  Some will argue that it is rude to enhance the cook’s meal with salt and pepper. The cook/chef/host doesnotput condiments on the table unless they think you may want to add them to your food. It is very rare to find a home cook or restaurant chef’s table without condiments which means it’s completely appropriate. Asking for something unexpected to flavor your food though is a no-no and may get you a frosty glare if mentioned.

                  Eating family style? Passing of the bowls is entirely appropriate side to side. Do not extend bowls across the table. Also, the serving spoon/fork is an indication of portion size. Dole out ONE portion for yourself; if there is extra food after everyone has been served, it will be appropriate to ask for seconds.

                  9. Run for it

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                    Your mother always said you couldn’t finish a meal without needing a bathroom break. If that’s still true OR you need to step away from the table for other reasons, do so without bringing much attention to yourself. The entire table does not need to know your business. Instead, excuse yourself quietly to those sitting nearest you, place your napkin ONyour chair and quietly exit. Expect to be missed if you are absent for more than a few minutes and if so, expect to be quizzed by your table mates upon your return.

                    10. Conversation Etiquette

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                      You converse everyday and it should be so simple but dinner conversation can be tricky if you’re with a business group, contentious friends, or dramatic family members. Alcohol, comfort level (because you feel so good about your etiquette) or being unfamiliar with your table mates can turn you into that personwho causes cringes and rolled eyes. According to the Etiquette Scholar, it is key toStop, Look, Listen, and Watchas you embark upon engaging your fellow diners. Stoptalking if it isn’t well thought out,lookat your listener’s expressions,listenas much as you talk, andwatch whomever you are speaking with.

                      11. Hand Jive

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                        Everything is going so well. You’re talking, eating, and drinking without fear of embarrassment until you notice someone watching your hands. Are you using the Caveman grip? There are two basic styles, Continental and American which are both acceptable. View Here Don’t make excuses for yourself if you’re not utilizing these. Regardless of your intellect and conversation skills, if you eat like the Flintstones, you’ll be treated like them.

                        12. Space…it’s personal

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                          Personal space can be challenging at a crowded table which makes it even more important to follow acceptable boundaries. Keep your elbows tucked in when leveraging your utensils while cutting food and definitely DO NOT place them on the table until it has been cleared completely. Hands can be placed upon the lap when not eating or rested at the wrist on the edge of the table. Moving your chair too close to another can cause angst when either of you have to leave the table. Diners with mobility equipment should always be given preference to an end seat or the placement of their choosing for easy table access.

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                          14. Don’t step in the etiquette landmine

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                            How can we even be discussing this? Because it has happened too often! Dinner guests with all the right moves above the table gettripped upbeing too comfortable underneath the table. No matter how uncomfortable those new shoes are, DO NOT remove them under the table. Can there be anything more embarrassing then having to explain why you’re in bare feet when you rise to leave the table?

                            15. Polite Decline

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                              With today’s myriad of food allergies, diet requirement, etc., it’s logical to communicate with your host pre-dinner concerning your needs. Most are happy to accommodate but mistakes can occur. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to respond amiably if your choices can’t be met. Restaurants can typically provide vegetarian fare but if you’re at someone’s home, show your class by letting the hostess know you’ll be doubling up on side items and bread. Making a scene about your inconvenience will get you on the “Do Not Invite” list for many.

                              If you have no reasonable requests but simplydislikethe fare offered, put on your adult demeanor and make the effort to try a bit of everything. Taking obligatory bites and then slyly moving your food around your plate without eating it will go far in maintaining the respect of your host.

                              16. Utensil Morse Code

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                                The restaurant servers or home hostess keep an eye on your utensil placement near the end of a course or your meal. They want the flow for everyone to be consistent so that conversation stays uninterrupted by a wholesale moving of dirty dishes. The simplest code is using your plate as a clock. Place your utensils parallel across your plate with the handles resting near four o’clock. A tip to remember: Your workday typically ends near four or five just as your meal is ending.

                                There are more specific details for formal dining. See the Etiquette Scholarsfor more information concerning these as well as International rules.

                                17. Let’s Share

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                                  Coffee and dessert? Maybe you’re feeling that you deserve a final treat after minding your manners. Private dinner parties will typically bring out the sweets now but at a restaurant, follow your host’s lead. If the hour is late, they may wave aside dessert but if everyone is ordering so can you.

                                  Sharing desserts can be a pitfall for etiquette mistakes. At business gatherings, it is not even recommended. For hygiene purposes, once you and others have decided which dessert(s) to share, also request extra serving plates and utensils. You can then divide and conquer the sugary delight with everyone getting a bite and not sharing germs. But remember, you’ve asked the server to go above and beyond as you should for their tip when the bill comes.

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                                  18. Food isn’t free

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                                    The meal is coming to an end and if the bill is divided among the diners, there are a few points to remember:

                                    1. Splitting a bill evenly should have been decided before the meal and the waiter informed.
                                    2. Don’t penalize the non-drinkers; ask that beverages be charged separately.
                                    3. For separate bills, remember that the wait staff has extra steps to keep it clear and should be rewarded with an extra tip.

                                    Read more here about the touchy subject of Dividing the Bill

                                    19. Giving thanks for no mistakes

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                                      A meal in which you have stretched your new found etiquette wings deserves a proper thank you. Although a text or email might be convenient, it’s the handwritten note that will get you noticed and invited to more wonderful gatherings. Networking isn’t just in the cyber world; it continues to be a personal experience. But, if your host has a strong online presence, be kind and thoughtful if you blog, FB, or tweet about your evening.

                                      All of your well earned manners credit will be lost if you DO NOT send some form of thanks. Don’t delay or forget…that is the ultimate embarrassment.

                                      20. Pay it forward and avoid embarrassment

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                                        Those beautiful flowers or nice wine that you brought to the dinner party…enjoy the feeling of getting your own. It’s one thing to be a polite and respectful guest who livens up the group and is often invited out, but how embarrassing for you if there is no reciprocation. If your living situation is not conducive to dinner parties, restaurants abound as well as other venues where you can host your own gathering. Museums, ballparks, theaters, can help you host your own dinner party. Be creative and adventurous and remember, there’s a whole new set of etiquette rules to conquer when you play host. Hostess with the Mostest

                                        Featured photo credit: x_alimaryanne_x via morguefile.com

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                                        Last Updated on August 20, 2018

                                        35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

                                        35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

                                        Every mature relationship has had a less-than-memorable anniversary. Maybe one of you forgot, or both of you got busy with work, kids, family issues, or something else. Whatever happened, the day came and went without fanfare. And neither of you seemed to notice or much care.

                                        But for the health of any relationship, it’s important to make important days feel special. Anniversaries offer the wonderful opportunity to relive beautiful memories, practice gratefulness for your partner, and to show your love and strengthen your bond. Make this year’s anniversary with your significant other something special  — one that will bring you closer together.

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                                        The best way to create a memorable anniversary is to do something new and different together as a couple. Stretch yourselves a bit.

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                                        While boredom can silently kill a relationship, new experiences reinforce the shared bond you already have and create strong new memories. Just think back to the most significant memories you have right now with your spouse and imagine what new ones you can create!

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                                        While you enjoy your chosen anniversary activity, be sure to keep a positive attitude and make your partner happy too on that day. Leave all arguments and day to day detail behind. Just celebrate your relationship. Whether you’re going to spend the day together at home, getting away, or having a wild and crazy new experience together, you can have your best anniversary yet!

                                        If You’re Staying In

                                        1. Spend an evening with no technology, just the two of you and maybe a board game. It’s hard to keep ourselves away from our computers and smartphones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Make a rule not to use your tech and you’ll rekindle your relationship!
                                        2. Make wine or beer together. If you enjoy drinking together, this is a fun activity to try together. Just remember to buy the necessary equipment ahead of time.
                                        3. Learn something new about each other. With an open mind, try asking some of the New York Times’ 36 questions that lead to love. They’ll help spark intimacy and will lead to some really honest moments.
                                        4. Have a lazy day. Breakfasts in bed, spend all day in bed talking and napping. Follow breakfast with champagne and dessert! If you feel like getting more active, cook together or play some games. Here’re some simple breakfast ideas for you.
                                          • Learn to dance at home. This is best for those active couples who work out together and also enjoy learning something new together. Just go on Youtube to find any music with dance tutorials and learn together.
                                          • Visit model homes or open houses and plan your dream home.
                                          • Have a special dessert – champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Having an unusual treat makes a day feel extra special. If you want to make the dessert really special, try these tasty dessert recipes.
                                          • Create a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple. Choose songs that tell your story, and songs that you bonded over throughout your relationships. Here’re some love songs ideas for your inspirations.
                                            • Write your love story. Write it together or ave each of you write your own and then bring them together in an interesting, both sides of the story format.
                                            • Get a fondue pot. Fondue is a fun way to enjoy melted cheeses (for savory items) and melted chocolate (for sweeter treats).
                                            • Decorate! Turn your home into a dressed-up french cottage, a sophisticated restaurant, or simply with flowers. The different ambience will immediately change the feel of your home and make it feel like a staycation.
                                              • Talk about the future together. It might sound simple and everyday, but imagining how you want to spend your retirement together, or planning future trips can be exciting and romantic.

                                              If You Want to Get Away

                                              1. Take a day trip together to your favorite spot. If you live in a city, it can be incredibly refreshing to get away for an afternoon and drink in the outdoors.
                                              2. Go on a scenic drive and stop at a wine and cheese bar. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of options where you live, try a brewpub. There are tons of small craft breweries with fantastic food options too.
                                              3. Go camping. Relatively affordable and, if the weather’s right, beautiful and romantic.
                                                • Take an overnight backpacking trip. For the more adventurous couples, backpacking is an even more intense way to challenge yourself physically while becoming one with nature.
                                                • Take a wine tasting tour. If you live on the West Coast or in the Northeast, take a drive to the nearest winery. Many offer relatively inexpensive tastings and deals if you purchase a certain amount.
                                                • Take a scenic train trip. Taking the train means less stress traveling: nobody has to drive, you don’t have to stop for breaks every few hours, and you can sleep if you need to!
                                                • Save up for a destination vacation. What better time than your anniversary to enjoy the beach at a beautiful resort?
                                                • Explore a new city. Whether you’re on a budget or have a lot saved up, you can have a great time just exploring an unfamiliar town.
                                                • Rent a cabin for a weekend away, in the woods or next to a lake or ocean. If you like the outdoors but can only take so much nature, try glamping.
                                                  • Go on a retreat. Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, beautiful natural surroundings … they’re all the rage. Search for centeredness and calm with your partner.
                                                  • Spend a day at a food festival. Many cities have fun and affordable food festivals, occasionally based on a theme. Check out your town’s (or a nearby city) calendar for inspiration!

                                                  New & Exciting Experiences

                                                  1. Go spelunking. Dark, damp, and utterly exciting!
                                                  2. Go on a hot air balloon ride. Because the basket is relatively small, this can be a romantic and deeply personal – and yet thrilling –
                                                    experience.
                                                    • Try sky diving. If you and you S.O. are real thrill-seekers, sky diving can really push you to the edge!
                                                    • Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving. This may take you far away from where you normally live and work, which is an added bonus.
                                                    • Experience white water rafting.
                                                    • Drive or hike to the highest spot nearby for a new view of the world. America has tons of beautiful mountains where challenging hikes (or drives) can deliver breathtaking views.
                                                    • Take a craft or cooking class. Up your craft skills or food  making skills, and enjoy something new!
                                                      • Take a wine and painting class today. These classes are easily found these days and even a beginning painter can create a nice painting. Challenging but relaxing, fun, and you get to go home with some artwork!
                                                      • Learn to salsa dance. Dancing is a fantastic way to actively get closer and coordinate physically with one another.
                                                        • Visit a nearby festival you’ve always wanted to go to. Have fun and let go with fellow audience-members!
                                                        • Spend the day at an amusement park together. Laugh and carry on like teenagers.
                                                        • Meet new people! At a restaurant, concert, or class, make it a point to meet new friends. Striking up conversation with someone you don’t know – but with whom you have shared interests – can be an adventurous and rewarding experience.

                                                        Whether your budget is big or small, and whether you have a little or a ton of time together, focus on each other. There are tons of options, in terms of location, level of physical activity, and cost. You can make the day special in a way that’s right for you!

                                                        Featured photo credit: Photo by Taylor L. Spurgeon on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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