Skip to main content

7 Table Manners Do's & Don'ts

Learn seven table manners do's and don'ts from etiquette expert Faye de Muyshondt in this Howcast video.


Hi, I'm Faye de Muyshondt from Socialskilz here to share with you the do's and don'ts of table manners. Let's start from the beginning. If you happen to have a host or a hostess who is having a dinner or having you for a meal, you want to follow their lead. So, don't sit down until they sit down. Also, don't put your napkin in your lap until they put their napkin in their lap.

Now, if we're just dining out at a restaurant, first thing you want to think about is getting yourself seated and putting your napkin in your lap. That's pretty much the first thing you want to do at any table setting. As you're interacting at the table, make sure that you don't put your elbows on the table. This is kind of a dining taboo. Basically if you have your elbows on the table that means that you're probably leaning over the table which you don't want to do. However you can rest your wrists on the table. So, if you're seated here you can rest you wrists like this.

In terms of salt and pepper, if someone asks you to pass the salt, you should actually pass both the salt and the pepper together. They always move around the table as a pair. Have you ever sat down at a table and had a number of utensils in front of you and you're really nervous about which one you should use for which course? It's actually really simple. You start from the outside utensils and you move inward. So, the first thing that comes to you should be used with the outermost utensil. Let's say this was a salad. We're obviously going to be using this fork rather than this spoon. If this was a soup, we'd be using the spoon first.

While you're at the table you might want to take a break from eating. So what you're going to want to do with your utensils is put them in what we call the resting position. So, you would take your utensils and put them like this. If the plate were a clock, this would actually be approximately on the eight. This knife would be approximately at the four. When you're finished with your meal, your utensils go in the finished position. This is where both utensils are approximately on a four if this were a clock. You want to be sure that the handles of your utensils are actually hanging off the back of your plate. This is just so that a server actually doesn't have to pick your utensils up off of a dirty plate.

If you need to leave the table during the meal, you put your napkin on the chair. In a formal restaurant they're probably going to come by, re-fold your napkin, and put it back to the left of your plate. And when you're finished with your meal, you're going to want to put your napkin back to the left hand side of your plate. It doesn't belong on your plate. You don't want to get a cloth napkin dirty with food. It belongs right back where it started. Those are just a few of the do's and don'ts of table manners.

Popular Categories