It's amazing that in this day and age many adults still lack the essential tools for proper dining etiquette. That's why Modern Manners Guy has put together a dining etiquette refresher - so you actually get invited back for another meal.
But aside from competitive eating, a meal with friends or colleagues should be about enjoyment. Even if you are a self-described “fast eater,” that doesn’t mean you get a “I’m just me being me” pass. Sorry pal, you’ll have to slow your roll and pace yourself.
You can still be a proud member of the “Clean Plate Club,” but it’s best to finish your meal at roughly the same time as others at the table. I’m not saying you have to cut your meat into microscopic pieces and take bites every 5 minutes. I’m simply saying that it's best to take your time so that you can be in the moment with the food and the people around you.
Tip #3: Be Flexible
We all know someone in our social or professional circle who is absolutely impossible to dine with because they are either a super picky eater, or insist on only going to certain restaurants, or have a snarky opinion about everything. No matter how wonderful this person may be as a friend or coworker, dining with him or her makes you wish you never made plans in the first place. What's worse, their negative attitude spreads to others at the table like a stomach bug. This type of person simply lacks a key social characteristic – flexibility.
Being flexible shows that you can go with the flow, are not bothered or unhinged by little things, and are willing to step out of your comfort zone every so often. I’m not saying that by being flexible you can’t have an opinion or get what you want. You can and you should. However, when you’re flexible, you’re much easier to be around and people appreciate that.
That new sushi place? Sure, let’s try it. The Mexican restaurant doesn’t have the type of sauce you like? Eh, when in Rome...(or rather Mexico). Bob and Joan would like to join your group for lunch today? Sure, the more the merrier. When you are the one who is constantly bullying others into going where you want to go, or bad-mouthing others' choices, it shows a lack of maturity as well as flexibility. No one enjoys the company of someone who complains the entire meal, so don’t. Simply relax, eat, and enjoy the company.
As always, if you have a manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.
Did you know that dining etiquette is a huge aspect of your career success? My book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career, has tons of tips and advice to ensure that your professional table manners hit the right note every time. Check it out today!