Dining Etiquette Rules That You Should Not Follow
Five Dining Etiquette Blunders
There are timeless dining etiquette tips that most people know by heart. For instance, it just seems right to wait until everyone is seated before you start eating, and it is only proper to ask for plates to be passed to you instead of just reaching across the table.
However, other long-standing dining etiquette tips no longer seem accurate in this day and age. In fact, insisting upon them may seem impolite, especially to other guests who are not aware of traditional etiquette.
Here are five dining etiquette blunders we encourage you to think twice about.
1. Everyone should order the same number of courses.
If you and your guests are eating a fixed-course meal, you will all end up with the same number of courses regardless. However, most restaurants these days serve plates ala carte. This means that you are free to order just the main dish without being obliged to consume anything else.
If you're out with your peers, it would be rude if you insisted that everyone order an entrée, a main dish, dessert, and cocktails. You may do so if you're paying for everything, but if you're splitting the bill, you should not oblige others to have the same number of courses as you. If they want to order a starter and water, they should be allowed to do so.
But, in formal settings, you may consider synchronizing your courses with theirs.
2. Leave as soon as you've finished.
If you're in a busy restaurant, it would be polite to leave as soon as you've finished so that the incoming customers can be seated. However, if the restaurant is not busy, you may consider staying for as long as you want. Just be mindful of the restaurant's closing time since you would not want the employees to work late for you.
3. Approach your seat from the right.
Classic dining etiquette dictates that you approach and leave your seat from the right to avoid bumping into the person next to you. However, this rule is now largely unknown, so people will sit and rise from whichever side they choose. Further, if you are in a booth or near a wall, exiting right may not even be possible. Hence, what is important is that you adjust according to the situation. For the most part, the polite thing to do is to wait until the person next to you has sat down or stood up.
4. Avoid stirring the tea clockwise.
Old British tradition says that tea should be lightly mixed with a spoon in front and back motions. Stirring in a circular motion was discouraged because the scoop could cause clinking sounds or spill the tea.
However, stirring clockwise is already a common way to do it, so whether or not you keep this rule is up to you.
5. Don't make friends with the staff.
There was a time when being aloof and distant when speaking with staff was seen as proper. Today, doing so would be widely considered rude. At the very least, smile warmly at the staff, greet them politely, and learn their names. Don't hold them if they are busy, but chat freely otherwise.
This does not mean that you should ignore all the tips mentioned, but we do advise that you consider their relevance to your context and situation before applying them.