How would you like it if you are enjoying a nice cup of tea in your bungalow on top of a hill, accompanied by gushes of bracing breeze when suddenly your guest pours the tea on the saucer, and takes a long high-pitched slurp?
Table manners are crucial in your everyday life because it speaks volumes about you. You will need it when you will host a get-together at your residence, or applying for a job, or even while meeting your soon-to-be in-laws for the first time!
A table is usually set up in accordance to the formality of the event. The manner, in which the table spread looks, should vary depending on the ambiance that you want to create. However, since you will mostly be attending and hosting informal events, it is best if you familiarise yourself with the table set up for this particular occasion.
You will find a plate with a napkin on top. To your right hand side you should find a dinner knife along with a teaspoon and a tablespoon arranged in this particular order.
You will find a water glass stood in front of these. To your left you will find a dinner fork. If you prefer eating with your hands, or if the hosts did not provide you with utensils to eat, expect to find the glass to your left hand side. This way you will conveniently be able to reach for your glass with your left hand without running the risk of brushing against the gravy piled on top of your rice by mistake.
If you find yourself frozen in your seat, thinking which utensil to use first, simply work your way from the outside. Start with the outward most utensils which are placed on both sides of the plate.
When you are at the dining table, it is polite to wait for the queue of the guest before you take your seat.
There are two reasons behind this: the first is that by doing so you are showing respect to the host. Secondly, many households have some designated seats for their family members, such as a seat for the head of the family. By doing this you are proving that you value their sentiments and are aware of it.
HANDS OFF YOUR PHONE
Avoid keeping your phone on the table; also put it on silent. This way you will not be looking at your phone frequently and will be enjoying the scrumptious meal and the wonderful conversation with the host and the other guests.
Abiding by the rules
If you find a napkin on or next to your plate, place it on your lap instead of burying it behind the collar band of your shirt, so that if you spill food while eating, it does not ruin your clothes.
If the host has provided you with cutlery to eat with, use them if you have had prior experience, if not, you are more than welcome to eat with your hands.
However, if you do use the cutlery always remember to hold the spoon with your right hand and the fork with your left. If you have been provided with a fork and a knife hold the knife with your right hand and the fork with your left as you did earlier.
You might find yourself salivating at the sight of that tender and sizzling steak placed right in the middle of the table. You can already taste the burst of spices in your mouth and cannot hold yourself back further as you want to dive with fork and knife into that chunk of meat garnished to perfection for you.
You must stop yourself right there.
In order to get your hands on that meaty steak, you will have to remain patient. Pass each dish from left to right so that everybody can try them and nobody has to bend over the table to reach out for the dishes.
Now that you are chewing on that delicious steak you were eyeing from the very beginning, do not eat with your mouth open. Your neighbours are not sitting with helmets on to take on the bits of meat you are catapulting at them as they slip out of your mouth because you are eating with your mouth open. Avoid burping or flossing your teeth at the table. It is unpleasant and plainly obnoxious!
If you are using cutlery to eat, try not to struggle with it and attract the attention and ire of others. The constant click-clank can be a nuisance and give others a headache. A good tip in this case would be to practice eating with cutlery at home. That way, you will be more equipped in using them at all times.
Once you have completed your meal, place the utensils you have used in the correct manner. The rules are simple and nothing intricate. If you are following the American convention, place them both parallel to each other at a 4 or 5 o'clock angle.
If you are following the English convention, then simply place them at a 6 o'clock angle, side by side each other.
Do not forget to thank the host and take their leave before leaving the table. On your way out, make sure that you push back the chair in its right place without dragging it.
Table manners and etiquette are fundamental in shaping us to be more mannered. If you want to dig deeper, there are more elaborate rules however, with these basic rules you will be able to build a good foundation and will be able to go by with ease. By knowing these, you will be more respectable to your neighbours and will be more aware of your environment.