Table Etiquette

When talking about table manners I am no expert and no model for modern day etiquette that’s for sure, but hey since we are here we might as well have a chat, and together brush up on one or two pointers. I looked up some rules online for basic table manners, Nothing too complicated and pretty straight forward.

1 – Napkins should be placed on the lap as soon as you are seated. When you get down from the table, leave the napkin, unfolded on the table, to the left of the place setting.

My boyfriend was actually the first person who I met that did this every single time he dined. His reason was handed down from his grandmother who we all call Belle, “you never know when you are invited to meet the queen”.

2 – Sit a comfortable distance away from the table, so that with the elbows bent the hands are level with the knives and forks.

Sometimes I find this one hard, because when you want to devour your food and it gets everywhere (hence the napkin) you want to be close enough to avoid this. Though this might because I am always super hungry.


3 – Sit up straight, sit square with hands in the lap and do not fidget. Do not put elbows on the table.

This one I try to do, though when I see others that dismiss this, I tend to follow suit. Ahhhhh the peer pressures.

4 – If you are served a meal that is already on the plate, wait until everyone has been served before picking up your cutlery, unless invited by your host to start.

I learnt this at a young age, though usually when your with your family and everyone is talking and hungry, this tends to go out the window.

5 – Make sure others have been offered anything they might want from the table, such as butter, water, salt or pepper. Help yourself last and never stretch across people.

Stretching across people is a bad habit of mine, maybe because of my stubbornness and unwillingness for the need for others to help me.


6 – Do not begin eating until everyone has been served, unless the host or hostess gives their permission for diners to start.

Basic manner one should hope.

7 – Eat at a relaxed pace and pace yourself to match your fellow diners.

This is always a good one. You don’t want to be the one looking at a dirty plate and waiting patiently for your guest to finish. At the same time secretly itching to spy the dessert menu again and just get that bad boy started.

8 – Keep your mouth closed and try to avoid making noises of any kind while eating, either with implements against the plate or teeth, or with actual ingestion of the food, eg slurping soup.

I mean we are not all perfect and in some cultures silence when eating can mean a bad thing. A rock and a hard place.

9 – Talking while there is food in your mouth should be avoided at all costs – even when you have a conversational gem up your sleeve.

Not the best thing to look at, one of my cousins is a real repeat offender.


10 – Avoid looking at your phone and using it at the table for more then 2 seconds. This might come across as rude and disheartening to your guest. If it is an important call, politely leave the table and answer it outside. 

This one is mine, this is one of my pet peeves. Though this can’t be help at times, I at lease make the effort not to be on my phone, if my guest is on theirs. That way it doesn’t look like we are just ignoring each other, and uninterested.

11 – When you have finished, place your knife and fork – with the tines facing upwards – together on your plate.

In japan it is rude to leave your chopstick sticking out from your bowl.

12 – If you are confronted with a plateful that is not to your taste, try to soldier on to avoid hurt feelings. Always compliment the cook.

Dorry comes to mind “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”

I hope this helps and some of these helpful tips can be a guiding step when you do get that golden ticket to meet the queen. If not Vogue just did a very chic explanation.

[ all graphics were done by me 🙂 ]


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