Special Report

Dining-Out Etiquette Rules That Should Come Back

Source: lechatnoir / Getty Images

11. Save the romance for later

People go to restaurants on dates — first dates, make-up dates, birthday or anniversary dates — and it’s always nice to see (and hear) them getting along. (You really don’t want to be sitting near a couple on a break-up date.) That said, there’s a reason that somebody invented the expression “Get a room!” Public displays of affection — anything more than a hug or a quick kiss — make everybody in the room (sometimes even one of the participants) uncomfortable. A discreet hand on a thigh under the tablecloth? Foot contact? Fine. But no making out (or more) at the table!

Source: DGLimages / Getty Images

12. Don’t talk about politics or religion

This is one of the oldest proscriptions on the books, and one that is probably increasingly hard to live by today. People feel passionately about the political situation in America today, one way or the other, and many also have strong feelings about religion. These matters can and should be discussed and debated, but the dinner table isn’t the place to do it. People come together to have lunch or dinner in order to relax and eat well and enjoy the company of their friends or family. Subjects that get the blood boiling — as these two certainly can — should be left outside the restaurant door.

Source: diatrezor / Getty Images

13. Know how to position your silverware on the plate

The positioning of your knife and fork on the plate is a signal to the waiter. If you’re just taking a pause, place the knife across the top of the plate and the fork across the middle. If you’re finished and ready to have the plate cleared, place the knife and fork diagonally across the plate, the fork below the knife. If you’re using chopsticks, replacing them on the ceramic or wooden rest that’s usually provided also gives the signal that you’re finished.

Source: gece33 / Getty Images

14. Don’t stack or push away your dishes

You’ll almost certainly be invading somebody else’s table space if you do, and, anyway, this isn’t a boarding house. Let the waitstaff do its job.

Source: dinna79 / Getty Images

15. Don’t use a toothpick or dental floss at the table

This one should be pretty obvious, too. Nobody wants to see you digging food particles out of your teeth while they’re dining. (If it’s a painful emergency, some consider it acceptable to use a toothpick with a napkin draped over your hand for camouflage — but it’s better to simply floss in the restroom.)

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.