14 Bad Table Manners You Might Have

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As our world gets more and more casual at the dinner table, it’s easy to forget that our behavior can sometimes really annoy or offend others who are sitting with us. Don’t be one of “those” people when you go out to eat. Check this list to be sure your manners are considerate.

1. Hats Left On At The Dinner Table

A man wearing a hat at the dinner table.
Photo Credit: Cast Of Thousands/Shutterstock.

While this one may be more old-school, if you are eating with people from an older generation, just be aware that this could be considered quite offensive.

1. Laughing Or Talking Unnecessarily Loud, Especially In A Public Place

A boy laughing loudly.
Photo Credit: Sergey Furtaev/Shutterstock.

It’s one thing to make yourself heard in a noisy space. It’s quite another to be so obnoxiously loud that you disturb others around you. Laughing or talking unnecessarily loudly is just plain rude to others.

2. Interrupting Others While They Are Speaking Or Not Actively Listening

A man with flowers, shoving them in another man's face while he talks to the woman at the table.
Photo Credit: Cristina Conti/Shutterstock.

A meal is about giving others your attention. It’s sharing your day and listening to the day others have had. The moment you visibly lose interest, you are insulting the person you are with by quietly telling them you really don’t care about what they are saying. And if you interrupt, it’s the same message, only you are also adding that you think what you have to say is far more important.

3. Flossing Or Picking Your Teeth At The Table

A man picking his teeth with a toothpick.
Photo Credit: Pearl PhotoPix/Shutterstock.

Stop flossing or picking your teeth at the table after a meal. Nobody wants to see that or be near you while you do it. Wait until you leave the restaurant to perform oral hygiene.

4. Constantly Checking Or Using Your Phone During The Meal

A man ignoring his date by looking at his phone.
Photo Credit: Alan Poulson Photography/Shutterstock.

I get it. We’re all addicted to our phones. Short of having them surgically attached, we just can’t seem to put them down. But that’s exactly what you should do when breaking bread with others. Show respect by giving people your full attention. These days, it’s a trait that will set you apart in the best way possible.

5. Reaching Across Someone’s Plate Or Grabbing Food Without Asking

A woman taking food from a man's plate. He looks upset.
Photo Credit: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/Shutterstock.

This is not a Friend’s episode. You are not Joey. Never eat food off of other people’s plates unless you have specific permission to do so. Helping yourself to another person’s dinner without asking denotes a complete lack of respect for the person you are with.

6. Chewing With Your Mouth Open Or Making Loud Eating Noises

A woman loudly eating popcorn in a movie theater.
Photo Credit Lolostock/Shutterstock.

We are not cows chewing our cud. Please, for the love of all that is holy, when you are in public, chew with your mouth closed. Nobody wants to see your masticated food or hear all the sounds of you chewing. And also, as the old saying goes, don’t speak with your mouthful. Nobody wants to see that either, especially if you are spitting food everywhere while you are talking.

7. Making Negative Facial Expressions Or Showing Signs Of Disgust Towards The Food

A man making a sour face because of the food he's eating.
Photo Credit: CREATISTA/Shutterstock.

This one pertains more to being invited to somebody’s house. If they have gone to the trouble of cooking you a meal, please contain yourself. You can politely eat a smaller portion and inform the person you are full, but making faces is simply rude.

8. Starting To Eat Before Everyone Is Served Or Before The Host Begins

A frustrated woman at a dinner table.
Photo Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

This one should be common sense. If you are eating with others, nobody wants to watch you dig in while they are still waiting for their food to arrive or be served. And if there is a host, eating before the host is simply a sign of bad manners. They went to the trouble to prepare the meal, so please be sure they have food to eat as well before you dive in.

9. Criticizing Or Commenting Negatively On Someone’s Eating Habits Or Portion Sizes

A woman trying to feed a young girl vegetables.
Photo Credit: Lena Ogurtsova/Shutterstock.

This is a tough one for certain types of people, but just know that making comments makes you look bad. Not the person you are making comments about. It’s you and your need to judge that speaks volumes about who you are as a person. And please, never ask somebody, “Can you eat that on your diet?”. I assure you, they know what they are doing. Leave them alone.

10. Bringing Up Controversial Or Sensitive Topics That Could Lead To Uncomfortable Discussions

And woman and man having a disagreement.
Photo Credit: Altrendo Images/Shutterstock.

Whether you are a small family gathering at the dinner table or getting together with a larger group, everyone is there to enjoy their meal and share stories in some capacity. If you are bringing up issues or topics that could ruin dinner for everyone at the table, you are being extremely inconsiderate. Air your grievances in a more appropriate setting.

11. Blowing Your Nose At The Table

A woman blowing her nose at a restaurant table.
Photo Credit: Ivan Dudka/Shutterstock.

This really should go without saying, but please don’t blow your nose at the dinner table. People are eating. Nobody wants to hear that while they are eating. Simply excuse yourself, and go blow your nose in the bathroom. Simple as that.

12. Leaving The Table Abruptly Or Without Expressing Gratitude To The Host Or Cook

A man walking down a tree-lined drive.
Photo Credit: FotoDuets/Shutterstock.

If you are in somebody’s home, you should always… yes, always… say thank you to the host and/or cook. They went to the trouble of cooking your meal, a simple thank you is never asking too much. A little kindness goes a long way and speaks volumes of your character.

13. Touching Serving Utensils On Your Used Plate

A woman serving herself at a buffet.
Photo Credit: Contagion Media/Shutterstock.

Serving utensils are community-use utensils. If you’ve been eating off your plate and then go for seconds, you are cross-contaminating and sharing all your germs with others who will also help themselves to that dish. Either don’t touch your plate with the serving utensils, or take a clean plate each time. It’s common courtesy.

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I'm Tiffany, a writer for MSN and the AP Newswire, a cookbook author, digital publisher, food lover, and mom. I create healthy, clean eating recipes for everyday living.

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