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Best Tips on Family Etiquette & Social Skills at the Dinner Table

Updated on November 1, 2017
tlcs profile image

Trudy otherwise known as tlcs loves to write about cooking when the mood is right. If I find a new way of cooking something I love to write

Sometimes we forget what we have been taught due to lack of time to think about what we are doing. I think this could apply to our table manners and etiquette at the dinner table. O.K. maybe we do remember our manners but here are some useful tips to make sure we remember to use them.


Some simple table manner suggestions that we may have forgotten!

There is nothing more upsetting than turning to the person next to you to see the contents of the food they are eating! Yuck, and talking with food in your mouth is also very bad manners! Read on for some other's I have thought of.

  • Putting your elbows on the table is a no no.
  • Never ever lick your plate.
  • Put your napkin on your lap - do not tuck it into your collar, and never ever blow your nose with the napkin! (Yes, I have seen this being done at a dinner table, absolutely unbelievable!)
  • Wait until everyone has been served before starting to eat. Yes we are all hungry and there maybe ten or more people at the table but always wait patiently for the last person to have been served and grace said!
  • Your knife is not a pen it is a knife so hold it like a knife and not a pen!
  • Never put your knife in your mouth! Why people insist on doing this I will never know!
  • The best way to eat peas is not to spoon them onto your fork, but to push them onto your fork, while it is facing down, with your knife, practice makes perfect with this bit of advice!
  • I would suggest not waving your arms around or reaching over people to grab the salt and pepper. Ask the person sitting next to you to pass you things you need.
  • When you have finished eating, leave your knife and fork together on your plate! This is something that really takes the biscuit for the person serving you as so many people leave their knives and forks in so many different styles, the correct style is together in the centre of the plate.
  • If you are invited to a formal dinner, you may be startled by the array of cutlery you are presented with. It is important to use the correct utensils for the correct courses. It is always worth remembering work from the outside set in, i.e. use the knife and fork furthest away from your plate for eating your starter.
  • Remember that table manners differ around the world. For example, in China it is perfectly acceptable to smoke and eat at the same time and burp at the table! And in Italy you should never touch your hair while you are eating! In Korea you should not leave the table before the oldest person eating has finished their meal.

Even though the last manner noted is not a custom in Britain I think out of respect I would not leave the dinner table before the oldest person anyway!

Cheers this Christmas!
Cheers this Christmas! | Source

Years gone by

When I was growing up at home with my parents and three other siblings one of the things my parent's taught us was table etiquette and manners at the table.

My husband and I in turn tried to teach our children the importance of manners at the table.

I wonder how much things have changed for all of us since the introduction of mobile phones and tablets and computers.

When I was growing up there were no mobile phones, tablets and computers to consider at family occasions.

I know the younger generation of today are constantly on their mobiles and of course Facebook and that said I like to go on Facebook too.

My main concern is how to control the use of the mobile phone and I think that this is part of etiquette to be considered at family occasions

Talking for myself as a Mother, Wife and Grandmother and without being to harsh I would like to be able to say to my family please leave your mobile phones at home on family occasions, lets have a day as a family without having to look at the computer, tablet or mobile phone.

This said I really don't think I will be able to as I know that there would be uproar if I did!

So maybe a suggestion would be that the mobile phone is to be switched off at the time of serving dinner until completion? What do you think? Is this too much to ask, am I being selfish asking my family to turn them off or do you think I am being reasonable.

I personally think that this comes into table etiquette and manners at the table.

Perhaps the new rule should be that the mobile phone is not to be used in doors on family occasions, if you wish to make a call then go outside and make your call, what do you think?

When is the best time for the guests to use their mobile phone without offending their hosts!?
When is the best time for the guests to use their mobile phone without offending their hosts!? | Source

Bah Humbug I hear you say!

Bah humbug does come to my mind as I am writing this! But truthfully now, how many other mums are feeling the same way as me. Not sure how to address this with their families without upsetting anyone.

My family occasions have always been successful, o.k. we may have the occasional disagreement about something but isn't that what happens to everyone, or would you not be willing to admit that this is the case!

Should the mobile be left at home on family occasions  whilst going to dinner with your hosts?
Should the mobile be left at home on family occasions whilst going to dinner with your hosts? | Source

To all you mums who are reading my hub I think it is time to make a stand and say that during the Dinner the mobile phone should be left off and switched back on when the eating and festivities of eating, raising glasses and pulling crackers have been done!

Perhaps, time could be set aside after the dreaded washing up and clearing the table has been done to start making comments on Facebook and phoning other loved ones and family members?

After all us mum's work extremely hard to ensure that everything is right for the special occasion.

Cheers all round!!
Cheers all round!! | Source

Etiquette: Table Manners

The very idea of table manners has been all but lost on many children and adults who rarely, if ever, sit down to a family meal around a table excepting special occasions.

But if someone has been kind enough to prepare a meal for you, the least you can do is make the experience of consuming it as pleasant as possible for your host and other guests such as grandparents and girlfriends and boyfriends.

The simple courtesy of keeping your elbows off the table means that all diners have plenty of room and can see and speak to one another with greater ease than if everyone is hunched over their plates. It is definitely worth learning good table manners even if you occasionally abandon them when eating takeaway curry on the sofa in front of television! Which I am sure most of us do after a long day at work!

Your View on Mobile Phones on Special Occasions with the family

Do you think it would be unreasonable to ask your family to:-

See results
Us Mum's love making their families happy at Christmas time!
Us Mum's love making their families happy at Christmas time! | Source

And finally please remember to say Thank you to your hosts!

Happy Dinner!!

Thank you so much.....

And a huge thank you to our hosts!!!xx
And a huge thank you to our hosts!!!xx | Source

© 2014 Trudy Cooper


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    • tlcs profile image

      Trudy Cooper 3 years ago from Hampshire, UK

      Glad you agree, Merry Christmas.

    • tlcs profile image

      Trudy Cooper 3 years ago from Hampshire, UK

      Im glad it isn't only me that feels this way! Merry Christmas to you too!

    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 3 years ago

      Hi Trudy quite interesting and timely hub. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas. Yes the usage of mobile and gadgets while eating has become a great distractor, your advice here will prove to be beneficial. The table manners too are quite relevant to the present days hurried mannerism of eating and drinking. Your lines remind me the drastic transition of culture from the past to present generation, oh what a huge difference, just think of the nature of advice, what mom used to offer and what is being offered now?

      Food is, undoubtedly, a blessing of our Merciful Creator, the etiquetts refreshes the very sense. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.