Etiquette never goes out of style

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Food is a central part of life. It gives people an opportunity to be social and mingle with friends, it can be part of much needed “me” time, or it can be part of a more formal setting where you are with business partners. Regardless of whom you choose to eat your meal with, you should make sure that you do it properly. Common etiquette skills are essential; they can be the difference between a pleasant meal and a wish to be eating somewhere else.

We’ve gotten into the habit of not giving much mind to our meal and just chowing down. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with not having to worry while you eat, but keep in mind it makes an impression. That’s not to say that you have to keep the glass on the correct side of the plate — it’s the right side — and use the proper fork; after all, the dining hall isn’t the proper setting for that type of dining. But, it’s still a place where everyone can see you eating. We see what’s on your plate; we don’t need to see it in your mouth. It turns the meal from decent to stomach-churning. While some do it unconsciously, another no-go for an enjoyable meal is moaning while you chew your food. Say it’s good — there’s no need to add the noise for extra emphasis.

We’re college kids now, but soon enough we will be applying for jobs in the real world. This means that potential employers will be offering to take you to dinner or lunch as part of the interview process. Know how to impress them — they will take note of skills, or lack thereof. This is when you need to get down to the nitty-gritty of it. Learn the proper way to use utensils (start outside and move in), the way to spoon your soup (away from you), and when it’s okay to start eating your food (once the host does). There’s a lot to know, and in the end it makes the meal more meaningful.

It’s time we get back to the basics and learn to eat using our manners. You don’t stop saying please and thank you once you get out of the house, and you shouldn’t stop using your table manners either. Knowing the dinner etiquette can only help to set you apart from those who are lacking and bump you into the crowd of elite diners. Learn what to do and how to do it and it will add to your skill set. Everyone here is accomplished in some way; don’t hesitate to learn the table manners and add that to your list of accomplishments. It’s well worth it in the end, and everyone you are eating with will thank you for not being the person chewing with an open mouth.

Contact Annie Sadler at [email protected]