Dining out with friends? There are social rules to follow when you are going out with friends. Follow them and you will have a great time enjoying each other’s company. Ignore them and you might end up wishing that you should just have stayed at home and watched your favorite television show. So, here are 10 etiquette rules to follow when you are dining out with friends:
1. Discuss How you will Settle the Bill Before Ordering
Unless someone is treating the whole group, the right thing to do is to split the bill equally. Go Dutch is a term that indicates that each person present should share the expenses of the meal equally. To ensure that the bill is split fairly, make sure you reach an agreement first before placing your orders.
- Will you request for separate bills?
- How will you split the bill equally?
- What if someone decided to just order salad?
- Will you split the cost of the alcoholic drinks with a non-drinker?
These are just some of the questions that you should settle first before ordering.
2. Don’t Order What you Want if Somebody Else is Paying
If somebody is treating the whole group, don’t just order what you want. Let the person treating order for the group unless that person explicitly tells you that you can order what you want. And even if that person tells you to, be courteous when ordering. Don’t order the most expensive items on the menu just because you are not paying.
3. Put your Smartphones Away
Unless it is very important, you should stay away from you phone when you are hanging out with friends. Keep your phone on silent mode. Come on! You are in the company of fellow human beings. Communicate with them. Why do you need to connect with other humans that are far away when you can easily do so to the person that is right in front of you or beside you? Just relax. Spend the time to talk to others. Enjoy one another’s company rather than checking your social media accounts.
4. Wait for Everyone’s Order to Arrive Before Eating
It is rude to start eating while the others are still waiting for their food. Wait until everyone’s orders have arrived before you start eating.
5. Keep your Elbows Off the Table
Although different cultures have different views with regards to putting elbows on the dining table; it is generally considered rude to have your elbows on the table. So instead of figuring out whether it is rude or not, to play safe, just refrain from putting your elbows on the table.
6. Put Napkins in Your Lap
Whether the table napkin is made of paper or cloth, there is a proper way of using them. First and foremost, if someone is hosting the dinner, wait for that person to put the table napkin on his or her lap before you get yours. Yes, table napkins are supposed to be placed on your lap and not on the table nor used as a bib. Leave the table napkin on your lap for the duration of the meal. Remove it only when you are going to use it to gently dab your mouth. Never use the table napkin to blow your nose! If you are going to leave the table, gently place the table napkin on your chair.
7. Pace yourself and Eat Slowly.
Pace yourself when eating. You are not in a rush. Enjoy the food and enjoy each other’s company.
8. Don’t Talk When Your Mouth is Full
It is bad table manners to talk when your mouth is full. You won’t be able to enjoy the food fully if you are talking while eating. And besides, if you open your mouth, the food inside can be seen by others. That’s not pleasing to the eyes. And worst, you might accidentally spat chunks of food to your listener’s face. Now, that’s gross!
9. Keep your Cutleries Down
If you are talking to your friends but you are not yet finished eating, don’t hold the utensils in your hand. Keep them down. Put them on your plate on an upside down V shape with tips towards each other. Avoid gestures with your hands while holding the cutleries.
10. Don’t Complain About the Food if Someone Else is Paying
If you have a negative opinion about the food or the venue for that matter, just keep it to yourself. It is considered rude to voice out your complaints especially if you are not paying. Just thank the host for inviting you.
Have a pleasant dining experience with your friends by practicing the 10 etiquette rules to follow when dining out with friends.
First published in Pinoy Smart Living on 08.05.2019