Parents need to teach their children the proper table manners really early in their lives, if they want their kids to grow up displaying those manners and having great etiquette. Not having table manners or not being familiar with dining etiquette can be embarrassing for someone who is suddenly in a situation where the best etiquette is needed. However, if you've never learned proper table etiquette in a formal dining situation, it's never too late to learn.
If you know how utterly annoying it is to be seated next to an extremely rude person who is constantly spilling his soup on the table, splashing it in your face or on your clothes and making all kind of funny noises while chewing, maybe even burping or talking so loud everyone can hear him, you have been acquainted with a great lack of table manners and etiquette. Hopefully, the person just described is not you. If you can relate to this person, even partially, it's a swell idea to make sure you'll never be the person discussed after the meal, because you've gotten on everyone's nerves.
First things first, let's start with not being late, especially if you are the host, because this is absolutely unacceptable. You need to arrive earlier to make sure everything's in order and be able to greet your guests. As a guest, you should also be on time, but you are allowed to arrive late with the specification that you let your host know.
You don't have to buy any presents to the host of the dinner. A bottle of wine is quite pointless in a restaurant. Once you arrive as a guest, let yourself be completely guided by your host; let him or her tell you where to sit down and make sure you do only when the time is right, after the host sits down. Once you sit down, keep a straight posture without leaning back or forth. Meticulously place your napkin on your lap and use the outermost cutlery first, or according to your host.
Table manners and etiquettes ask for a lot of tact and delicacy when eating, cutting your food into pieces or sipping your soup. Don't make any noise, don't chew with your mouth open, don't speak with your mouth full (yes, mom had every right to nag you about it!) and don't place the used knives and forks on the table. Don't place your elbows on the table and don't eat too fast.
Business dining etiquette requires you don't use your cell phone to send text messages or emails while at the table. Excuse yourself politely and go take care of your urgent business matters in the hallway, for instance. One of the final guidelines on the list covering table manners and etiquette is to help your spouse out of her chair, say goodbye to your host and all the other guests and leave. As a host, thank the restaurant personnel and only then you can call it a night.
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