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Having company for dinner?
Inviting your husbands boss and his wife for dinner?
Dining at a fancy 5-Star restaurant with husbands friends?
Going to a formal dinner organized by your boss?

In all these situations we tend to be slightly nervous, especially if we are new to them. We are disturbed by questions like, What if I do something wrong? Or, What if I make a mess? After all, we do not wish to come across as crass and unsophisticated, right? Who wants to be a Behenji, when one can be a Memsaab?

So it is very important to brush up on our table manners and formal dining decorum. Here are the common table manners that will see you through a business lunch as well as a multi-course dinner at a swanky 5-starred eatery.

The first, and very obvious one (our parents tried to teach this to us) is to never talk with your mouth full. Coughing and sneezing are also not OK. If you must, cover your mouth while you cough or sneeze.

After being seated, unfold the napkin and place it on your lap. It is not a baby bib and you are not a baby. So never tuck it into your collar.

Never try to stretch your arms (a la kanoon ke lambe hath) to pick something from across the table. You can politely ask someone to pass it on to you.

Finger food is meant to be eaten with fingers. Bite off small pieces. If it seems messy, it is OK to use a fork or spoon. Corn on cob, cookies, French fries, sandwiches, chips, small fruit and cubed cheese are all finger foods.

If you have to leave the table during the meal, place the napkin on the left of your plate.

If you accidentally drop your napkin or a piece of cutlery on the floor, never pick it up. Just signal to the waiter to get you another one.

The napkin is not a facial scrub. So dont use it like one. Lightly dab your mouth with it when necessary.

Do not rest your elbows on the table. A part of upper arms can be rested on the table, though.

If you have something in your mouth that needs to be spit out, place it on your fork and transfer to the plate without attracting much attention.

If you have finished your meal, place the fork and knife horizontally on the plate, parallel to each other.

After the meal is over, and the waiter has cleared away your plates, place the napkin on the table.

When someone invites you to dinner, arrive at the appointed hour, and leave at proper time. Do not force the host to drop hints like yawning or mentioning that the next day is a working day.

Tip: If not sure about something, just watch your neighbor or the host and follow suit!!!


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