Etiquette never goes out of style

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


  1. Isn’t advocating the “rules” of dining just supporting classism?

    I know that’s kind of a pretentious/obnoxious statement but I’m not sure how else to read the line,

    “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. ”

    Who exactly are “those who are lacking”? Are they just lazy, thoughtless rude people? That’s sort of what you imply. Why do we want to be set apart from them? People who we want to be “set apart from” are usually criminals or people with terrible infectious diseases. Or are they just people who aren’t from the class that decides that all these rules matter and raises their children to know them so that people in power will be able to recognize them.

    That brings us to the “bump you into the crowd of elite diners”. Now, I have no problem with you saying that people should learn dining etiquette if they want to be part of the upper class–social advancement and what-not. But that’s not really the argument you make. You say that dining etiquette equates to being a good PERSON.

    But I guess those things are pretty much synonymous anyway. We know rich people are good because they’re rich and know how to be good. On the other hand, poor people are wretched and awful and lazy and that’s why they deserve to be poor. If they were smart and knew how to act, they would know to be rich instead.

    In conclusion, there’s nothing wrong with not having to worry while you eat, but keep in mind, it makes an impression–and that impression will indicate your social status to people in power and give them the chance to assess your character and worth.

    Stop oppressing me, Santa Claus


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