Growing up I've been taught to chew silently, to have my elbows off the table, to put the napkin in my lap once seated, and so much more. Mom even sent us for etiquette lessons and I did not like it one bit. But I'm extremely thankful for them today!
Of course, it doesn't really matter, but you probably wouldn't want to dine at a table with someone who talks and chews their food at the same time. So it's nice to be able to follow few if not all of the social conventions.
I’ve always been fascinated by etiquette, including which fork to use and where to put your napkin when you leave the table.
Here are some basic table manners I feel everyone should know:
Be on time for dinner, and if you're late, remember to apologise. People may have been waiting for you to start dinner.
Your drinks are to the right of your plate, your bread plate is to the left of your plate. Remembering this can prevent you from eating someone else's bread and drinking their water! If you forget, remember BMW - from left to right: bread, meal, water.
If you're a guest at a dinner party, wait until everyone is seated at the table, and until your host takes his or her first bite before you start eating. Unless they absolutely insist you start eating first.
Eat and chew silently, like you're eating in secret and you don't want others to know.
Don't leave the napkin staring back at you as you sit at the dinner table. Place the napkin on your lap immediately upon seating - and please unfold the napkin in a smooth silent motion and not shake it or snap it open!
Even if someone asks for only salt or only pepper, they should be passed together.
Never intercept a pass. For example, if I'm passing a snack bowl to someone else, and you're sitting in the middle, don't snag a snack out! You'll just have to ask them to pass the bowl back to you.
Always taste your food before adding on salt and pepper. It's considered rude to just assume that the food is under-seasoned before tasting it.
If your food is hot, wait till it cools down on its own. Never blow your food!
When you're finished with your meal, your utensils should be placed on your plate next to each other. Not back on the table.
If the dinner is in an informal setting, and your host doesn't have a maid, always offer to help clean up after.
Say thank you! You should always say note to your host after dinner. If you forget, send them a thank you text to express your gratitude.
One thing you should always remember is that if someone at your table is unfamiliar with table etiquette and other social conventions that exist, you must always keep a dinner running smoothly without fighting over whose bread that was. If your guest puts their elbows on the table and they look relaxed, let them. Always be gracious and make everyone feel comfortable. That is most important of all.
Have a beautiful day ahead!