Whether dining with a four-star general, toasting at your friend's wedding, or sitting with family on Christmas Eve, an understanding of dining protocol makes time spent around the table more enjoyable. When you know the rules, there is no awkwardness or uncertainty about how things should be done.
Having good table manners begins long before you get to the table. Be sure to RSVP within three days of receiving an invitation. Dress to the level you feel appropriate. Try and look sharp! It shows respect to your host, and chances are you'll be making important first impressions.
If you are visiting a person's home, consider bringing a small gift such as flowers, a bottle of wine, or dessert. Arrive on time, but no more than five minutes early, as last-minute preparations are always under way on the host's end.
Pay attention to your hosts. Being observant and picking up on cues will enable you to avoid 95 percent of the embarrassing situations you could find yourself in. Chew with your mouth closed and do not talk with food in your mouth. Bring your food to your face, not your face to your food. It's a table, not a trough. Never drink from your soup bowl. Say "thank you," "please," and "excuse me." These small words work magic and should be used liberally.
Examples of informal dining are picnics, barbecues, or buffets. And although table manners in these settings are relaxed, there are still a few rules of dining etiquette you should pay attention to. Take an average size serving. It is rude to hog all of one dish only to cause a fellow guest to miss out on the dish entirely. Do not double dip. If you really like the dip and need every part of your chip covered in it, use a spoon and make your own dipping station on your plate.
In a more formal dining situation, whether that be a friend's dinner party or a fancy banquet, you want to be on your best behavior.
Let's take a look at the dining setup. The general guidelines are this: Everything revolves around the plate—forks to the left, spoons and knives to the right. When it comes to silverware, you start on the outside and work inward. You'll have a napkin, salad fork, dinner fork, dessert fork, dinner plate, dinner knife, teaspoon, soup spoon, butter knife, bread plate, water goblet, red wine glass, and white wine glass. Place your napkin in your lap within one minute of sitting at the table to dine. Do not tuck it into the front of your shirt collar like a bib, or into your pants. Although the napkin can serve to protect your pants from a spill, its main purpose is to enable you to seamlessly remove food from the sides of your mouth. When finished, or excusing yourself from the table, place it neatly to the left of your plate.
When should you start eating? The simple and safe answer is when others do. If hot food is being served and at least two people are seated, you may begin. If the meal is orderly and everyone is seated, then once three to four people have been served, you may begin.
Reaching, on the other hand, is never allowed. If anything is beyond your normal reach, always ask the person closest to pass the item you need. Always try to take just a little of each dish offered. Even if you only take a couple bites, at least the host will not be offended. Enjoy yourself and have a drink or two! However, do not ruin your host's night by being the guy who after several drinks starts making off-color jokes and then argues loudly with his girlfriend.
To signal that you are finished with your meal, place your knife and fork in the 4:20 position. This will tell your server that you are finished. Now that you've dined successfully with civilized human beings, remember to say thank you to your hosts, and you'll be invited to plenty more dinner parties for years to come.
要表示你用餐完畢，將你的刀叉擺在時鐘 4:20 的位置。這會告訴上菜的人你已經吃完了。現在既然你已經成功地和文明人用完餐，記得向主人們道謝，未來幾年你會受邀參加更多宴會。
For more in-depth dining tips, be sure to click the link to our original article. Happy dining, boys!