Table Manners – Ultimate How-To Guide To Proper Dining Etiquette For Adults & Children

The Importance of Learning Proper Table Manners –

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Table manners are actually something your parents taught you but are actually far more important as an adult. First of all, your table manners speak volumes about your refinement and it’s often interpreted as a sign of character. It’s not at all about being snobby or showing off but much rather show respect, your host and your dining partners will greatly appreciate your manners.

It’s very important to keep in mind, proper table manners aways help you and never hurt you. The good thing is they can be learned and its never too late to do so.

So what are table manners?

I suggest you turn your cell phone ringer off when you enter someone else’s home and put your phone in your pocket when you’re with the guests. Don’t leave your phone on the table because you are much more likely to pick it up and look at it which is impolite In the presence of other people.

If the table is all set, you don’t just walk in and sit down. Wait to be seated or wait for the queue of the host, or if they sit, you can sit as well.

Ideally, want to sit up straight but comfortably, don’t slouch, or cross your arms, or sit as you would on your couch while watching a football game.

Don’t expect to sit next to your partner and follow the lead of the hosts. Traditionally, couples were always mixed up to sit with different people.

If there’s a napkin on the plate or next to a plate, put it on your lap right away. If the host or hostess wants to say grace, accept the gesture for what it is and move along.

Two, let’s take a look at the place setting. In the Western world, an informal place will always have at least a plate, a knife, and a fork. If dessert will be served, you’ll find either a little fork or a spoon on the top side of the plate. If soup is served or anything else that requires a spoon, you will also have a spoon. On the top right of the plate, you’ll likely find a water glass which is always filled and a wine glass which is empty, to begin with. Sometimes you also find beer glasses; if you prefer that, if that’s what’s served with a meal. If you see little plate with an extra knife on a top left to your plate, that’s for bread and butter. When you’re done with the course, you place the fork and a knife at a four to five o’clock angle that means you’re done.

Three, now it’s time to serve the food. Most informal dinners are family-style meaning there are bowls or platters where food is served from. For formal dinners, courses are usually plated but we talk about the intricacies of that in our formal dining etiquette video here.

With bowls and anything at the table, the cardinal rule is, don’t reach over anybody else and don’t touch them. To start, pass the bowl around the table from the left to the right when you get the bowl you hold it and you serve yourself then you pass it on to your neighbor on the right. Always use the serving utensils and never your silverware that’s on your place setting. Of course, if the host or hostess has a different idea, go with what they do.

Four, finally it’s time to eat. You should only start eating when everyone else has been served and a host or hostess starts to take their fork and take the lead. It is very impolite and sometimes even rude to just dig into your plate of food while the others are still empty-handed.

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Gentleman’s Gazette



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  1. Proper manners, etiquette and character are as important as teaching a child to swim, to read and to understand math & science. All of the education in the world is wasted if you alienate your hosts or peers with coarse conduct.

    Had a waterfront Brickell date and the young woman placed her gum on the saucer at the table. Gross.

    Had a dinner date at her home and the young barbarian woman smashed her food with the side of her fork. Disturbing. I said nothing, but she asked if it bothered me. I told her it was her home and that she should be comfortable in her own kitchen.

    Had a Central Park South lunch date and the young savage gal took a cell phone call during lunch, picked the lobster from her molars with her index finger. It looked like she was trying to intubate herself with her finger.

  2. Interesting. I knew all of what you mentioned about good table manners because I was taught it by my mother when I was a little girl. It’s second nature to me and I’m surprised so many people don’t get taught manners. My parents were from Northern Ireland and we were taught the same as what you call the Continental way (eating with knife and fork) but you should not, as you suggested, hold your knife like a pencil. You hold your right hand around it the top with first finger on top. I remember my mother telling us not to “shovel” our food. We were taught to break the bread, never cut it and butter it as you go, the same way you described as being Continental. I think the American way of eating is unique to them.

  3. You shouldn’t turn your fork upside down in your left hand! (Prongs pointing up being upside down). This looks so uncouth and leads to people sticking their elbows out.

  4. Being civilized has got nothing to do with making your meal time complicated. Meal times should be enjoyed as seen fit by individuals and society. This video is for people who have fantasies of being a 19th century gentleman.?

  5. I have always used the American way and am seen as strange for it because I cut and eat with my domnate hand while most people only eat with their dominant hand , I have never been taught proper table manners besides sit up straight and keep your elbows off the the table

  6. I sat in on a little "class" that was being held in a female friend's dormitory many years ago. They needed another guy. I really liked it and learned a lot. I do have a question. I'm left handed and naturally have a Continental style of eating. It makes more sense for me. Do other left handed people usually do this? Is this common?

  7. I love this! Reminds me of life growing up versa the sloppy-slobs you see today who just don't care that they're making you 'sick' to your stomach by having to watch or listen to their bad manners at the table next to you!! You are funny though – showing off you bad manners!! Lol

  8. Thank you for the video. I was hoping to see what to do when you get a piece of food in your mouth that is not edible, such as a pice of meat that has grisel that is especially difficult to chew. Obviously you should use your napkin to discard the food from your mouth but after that? Does it go on the plate? Leave it in the napkin? Discreetly toss it on the floor under the table? What?

  9. My mother is American, but mostly favoured the continental style. I was taught to butter my bread in pieces.
    My father was Canadian. He was more accepting of the American version. (They would have mild arguments about my table manners.)
    Despite their efforts, my style was (is?) a fusion of barbarian and hobo.
    Really good video, I am subscribing.

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