If you ever break bread with others outside of your immediate family, it is possible you have been offended by others’ table manners, or they have been offended by yours. In the age of eating in the car, while standing up, and on the couch one might argue table manners are obsolete. But this is far from the case. Do you think about your table manners when you eat with others? In restaurants, when we have to share close proximity with other tables, are we aware of how we act affecting those around us?

Let’s face it, eating with someone is an intimate act. And there’s ways to make the act more attractive and less attractive. Which category do you fall in?

Here’s a list of six bad manners that are incredibly common. Do you recognize yourself or your loved ones in this list?

  1. Drinking before finishing the bite in one’s mouth.
  2. Putting food in or taking the silverware out with the inside curve of the utensil instead of the outside curve (like the picture above).
  3. Placing personal items on the table such as keys, cell phone, or purse.
  4. Touching your head or face while eating.
  5. Talking about your food preferences (likes or dislikes) during the meal.
  6. Leaning on the table with your various body parts, including arms, elbows, or chest.


The majority of the above bad manners involve issues of hygiene. After all, imagine accepting the bread basket from the person who just ran their hand through their hair or itched their ear? And most likely, that purse set on the table was just on the car floor.

Other table manners involve how we appear to the ones having to watch us eat. When we wash our food down with our water or chew with our mouth open, it means we are oblivious to the person sitting across from us. Remember, the purpose of etiquette is for the respect of others, showing we are aware of those we are with over ourselves.

Most likely, I am preaching to my choir of regular readers here at Tea Party Girl and you could write this article! However, manners of all kinds are common Internet search terms, because many of us are still in the dark on these matters. The days of debutante training and finishing school are over, and more and more think good manners irrelevant for their circumstances. However, an amazing amount of socializing and business take place away from the home in our society around the table. For this reason alone, good manners are not for girls only!

For further encouragement or instruction on etiquette, especially for the children in your life, there are a number of valuable resources available including:

Tonight at dinner, be aware of the dynamics around your own table. Were you surprised?