I am always intrigued by etiquette, and changes that evolve generationally (cough*cell phones on the table* cough). While I am far from an aficionado, I wanted to share some tips/rules I’ve learned along the way…
1.What’s the bread plate? Which one is my glass?
- My trick for this is to look down at both of your hands and touch the tip of your pointer finger and thumb together on each hand like this image. Your left hand should make a “b” shape, and your right hand should make a “d” shape. B stands for bread and D stands for drink, therefore your bread plate is to the left of your dinner plate and your drink should be to the right of your dinner plate.
2. I’m at a family style dinner party and food is getting passed all over the place!
- Technically, food should be passed counterclockwise (to your right), so that your right hand is free for serving. As far as reaching for food that has failed to make it your way (or reaching across the table for any reason) – feel free to grab it if you don’t have to full extend your arm… otherwise ask away!
3. RSVPing is optional… right?
- I used to be the worst at RSVPing, until I started having parties. If someone is taking the time to request an RSVP, it is usually for a reason (need a headcount for food, seating, drinks, etc.). I used to wait until the last minute (let’s be honest, we are all waiting for the next best thing… right?), but now RSVP as soon as possible. If you need to cancel, it’s easier on a host than waiting for all of those last minute RSVPs (but don’t be that person that RSVPs to everything knowing you won’t show).
4. …but I’m fashionably late!
- For a dinner party, show up 10-15 minutes after the scheduled start time. Open houses are more flexible, but with a seated meal or party with warm food it’s best to be timely.
5. Can I just sneak out?
- I’m guilty of getting tired by 10pm, and I’m hanging out with cool people who gasp! can stay up past 11pm I often try the sneak out approach. Word on the street is if there are less than a dozen people you need to say goodbye to the host, otherwise feel free to slip away and follow up with a thankful text/email on your way home (but don’t text and drive!!!).
6. He was hogging the armrest the whole time!!!
- Just who gets the armrest? I was surprised to see that the person in the middle seat gets both because s/he doesn’t have a window or aisle armrest to lean on. The one perk of being in the middle seat!
What etiquette tricks/tips do you have?! Share away!