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Table Manners: 10 Etiquette Rules We Should All Be Following

Anyone who thinks that it is not necessary to abide by table manners is mistaken. Even when dining with your family or your closest friends, you need to observe proper eating etiquette.

It’s not so much about behaving pretentiously and ceremoniously as it is about not bothering others and remaining pleasant company. We have rounded up ten modern rules of conduct at the table, which people tend to violate often.

Table Manners We Should All Know

1. Put Your Phone Aside

Better yet — put it in your bag. Placing your phone next to food is a sign of bad manners. The real-life company should come first, virtual — last. Scrolling through social media during dinner is inappropriate.

2. Don’t Start Eating as Soon as the Food Is Served

If you’re with someone, don’t start eating until they are seated and served. If you’re with a woman, she should start eating first; if at a party, wait until your host invites you to help yourself.

3. Always Serve Others First

First, offer dishes to others, and then serve yourself. If you need something that you cannot reach easily, politely ask the person closest to the item you need to pass it to you.

4. Place Your Used Utensils on a Plate

Put your used fork, spoon, and knife on your plate rather than leaving them on the table. Moreover, avoid holding your utensils when you are not eating to make sure you don’t wave them around during a conversation.

5. Don’t Bite Into Bread

Rather than biting into your bread, break off small pieces and pop them into your mouth.

6. Don’t Play Around With Your Tea Bag

Take your tea bag out of the cup with a spoon, not your hands. Lightly press it against the edge of the cup to wring it out, and then place it on the left side of the tea saucer. Place any candy wrappers, used sugar sticks, and the like on the left side of the saucer.

7. Butter Your Bread Correctly

Place a knob of butter on your plate and only then spread it on your bread. Thus, you will avoid scattering crumbs all over the table.

8. Look People in the Eye When You Clink Glasses

Meet people’s eyes when clinking glasses. If the toast is in your honor, wait until everyone else has taken a sip before emptying your glass.

9. Don’t Freshen Up at the Table

Go to the restroom after the meal to check your teeth and freshen up. At the table, you can only blot the lips with a napkin.

10. Observe Table Manners, but Don’t Force Others To Do So

Questioning the table manners of others is rude. Apply your knowledge of etiquette only to yourself.

Now that you’ve brushed up your knowledge of table manners, you’ll continue to be a polite guest and pleasant company. What’s your biggest table manner pet peeve? Please share in the comments section.

Also, check out our article on public transportation etiquette to help make your bus or train ride the most positive experience possible.


I am an English major with a love of languages and fiction, and with an incurable travel bug. In my free time, I read fantasy, drink copious amounts of coffee, and like to go see movies. Culinary art means everything to me. My main hypostasis is the taster, though. The music school has taught me to appreciate the symphony of airy meringues, to create harmonious overtures of light snacks, hard rock of meat, fish, and vegetables on the grill. Choir classes have accustomed me to hear and feel the people nearby and create perfect harmonies of sounds.

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