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Golden Rules of Dinner Etiquette

Having a good sense of dinner etiquette is key to feeling confident about yourself in any social setting. As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Knowing the basics of proper dining etiquette will help ensure that you and those around you are comfortable during each meal experience; this is especially true if you spend time with important guests or clients.

Fortunately, there are ten golden rules of dinner etiquette that can easily be remembered and implemented at any gathering. Read further to learn more about ensuring your presence at the table leaves an excellent impression!

Arrive on time.

Arrive on time

The importance of appearing at the agreed time shouldn’t be understated, as it has far-reaching implications; it shows that you respect yourself, the giver of the event, and the other invitees.

Punctual people always make a positive impression, no matter where they’re going or who they’re meeting.

The old saying is true: if you want to make an excellent first impression, arrive on time!

Respect for each other is becoming increasingly important in modern-day life, and punctuality is essential to maintain mutually beneficial relationships.

Plus, when you arrive on time, you get much more out of the experience since it allows for the allotted amount of quality time with those around you. So be considerate and strive to be punctual!

No texting or checking email during dinner.

One of the most important rules is to avoid texting and checking email during dinner. Not only does it show respect for those around you, but it also allows for stronger connections and more meaningful conversations to take place. The conversations you have at the dinner table are opportunities to get to know those around you, so take advantage of them – no distractions allowed!

The best part about not using your smartphone at the dinner table? It gives everyone a bit of relief from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. So give yourself – and those around you – a break by leaving the phone in your pocket or purse while having dinner.

Keep elbows off the table.

Dinner Etiquette

Eating dinner with good manners is not just about being polite; it’s an integral part of establishing good etiquette for life.

It’s also easy to do; a few simple rules, like keeping elbows off the table, go a long way. Not only will elbows on the table turn others away from you during dinner, but it can also be considered rude. 

Not only can leaving one’s elbows on the surface cause an unsightly mess at the end of a meal but it can also be perceived as improper and disrespectful by other guests.

It’s also incredibly distracting and can make conversing with others difficult. Instead, keep your hands in your lap or gently rest on the table’s edge. This will help ensure everyone has space to enjoy a pleasant meal with good company.

Keep your napkin on your lap.

Napkins are a key part of dinner etiquette! They help us keep our hands and face clean while eating, but they also serve another important purpose: they show that you know the formalities involved in dining at an event or restaurant.

Be sure to place your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down, and keep it there until the end of the meal. Your napkin should remain unfolded; don’t use it to wipe your face or blow your nose! Instead, simply relax and enjoy the meal while keeping your napkin on your lap. Doing so will help ensure everyone around you stays comfortable and enjoys the experience.

Don’t start eating until everyone is served.

Eating together is an integral part of socializing, so it’s necessary to stick to the rules of dinner etiquette. An essential part of these rules is ensuring everyone at the table is served before anyone takes their first bite. Not only does this show respect for the cook, but it’s also an excellent way to ensure that everyone has the same dining experience at the same time.

Additionally, waiting to begin a meal together helps create conversation and a sense of togetherness around the table. You show that you value being included in the meal with everyone else. 

Plus, it makes life a lot easier because there won’t be any awkward pauses while people try to ensure they don’t start without someone else having food! So, when sitting down for your next meal with family or friends, remember to hold off on digging in until everyone is ready to enjoy their meal together.

 Use proper utensils—don’t eat with your hands!

Certain rules of dinner etiquette should be followed, and one of them is to ensure you’re using proper utensils when eating!

It keeps a sense of decorum around the dinner table and helps ensure that you eat your food the right way for digestion and greater enjoyment.

Using chopsticks, knives, forks, and spoons, all have their unique purpose when eating different dishes. Even if your food looks simple enough to be eaten with your hands, you should resist temptation and get the right utensil for the job. It may take more effort, but it will pay off with a satisfying meal enjoyed in polite company.

Plus, if you want to impress someone – like a family member or a date – proper dinner etiquette shows tact and class in any situation!

Don’t criticize the food or chef.

It’s never a good idea to criticize the food or chef when out for dinner. This is an essential rule of dinner etiquette – something we can all do our part in respecting. Instead of being critical, why not focus on the positive things and show appreciation for the effort that’s gone into the meal?

Showing respect towards the chef will contribute to a much more enjoyable evening experience. It’s also important to remember that everybody has different tastes, so what may be considered delicious to one person may not necessarily be appealing to another. Remember these basic rules, and everyone can enjoy their dinners – culinarily and socially!

Pay attention to your posture!

When sitting down for a meal, it is vital to sit up straight. This shows respect for yourself and those around you and will help ensure an enjoyable experience. Good posture also helps with digestion, as slouching can restrict the flow of food from your stomach to your interests. Additionally, it keeps your breathing clear and can make the meal more enjoyable for everyone.

Eye contact is also important. Making sure you look at people when they speak to you is a sign of respect and helps make the conversation much easier.

So, when sitting down for your next dining experience, remember to sit up straight and keep your head held high! Doing so will show respect for those around you and ensure a pleasant dining experience for all.

Serve others before serving yourself.

Serving others before yourself is one of the oldest rules in the book regarding dining etiquette. Over time, it’s become less enforced but still stands as a sign of strong character and good breeding.

This applies whether you’re at a casual gathering with friends or letting your parents take you out to a fancy restaurant. Showing respect to those around us is always important, even when having a meal.

While it may not seem like much, taking the time to show kindness to others can go a long way – and setting down your utensils until all others are served only takes moments. So the next time you sit down for dinner, be courteous and serve those around you before treating yourself!

End the meal on a positive note.

Once the meal has ended, it’s important to ensure that everyone has enjoyed the experience. There are a few ways to do this, but one of the most popular is to end the meal on a positive note.

This could be done by complimenting the chef or host, thanking them for their efforts, and expressing appreciation for a delicious meal. Even if you didn’t enjoy everything you ate, keeping a positive attitude and showing gratitude can go a long way in creating an enjoyable evening for everyone.


Knowing and understanding proper dinner etiquette is essential to any successful meal. From setting the table properly to showing appreciation for the chef and host, these small actions can significantly improve how everyone experiences the meal. Plus, they show respect and tact in any situation!

Remembering these rules may seem daunting initially, but with practice and patience, they will soon become second nature. Who knows? You may even find yourself enjoying the process of mastering dinner etiquette! So next time you’re out to eat, keep these tips in mind and show tact and class in any situation. Enjoy your meal!