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Pattaya Daily News

16 August 2010 :: 18:08:06 pm 35477

Etiquettes, Dining and Table Manners

Throughout time, society has routinely specified what is good or bad. Social Etiquette stand for all that is good in society and since humans are social animals, we are bound by rules and social conducts. Handshakes give the other person a fair idea of your personality traits. It is not merely a gesture of greeting and can give away a lot about the person, giving first impressions.
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If you are seated when someone comes to introduce his or herself, stand up before taking their hand. To remain seated is very impolite. Also, be sure to leave enough space between yourselves in order to shake hands properly while maintaining eye contact.  Handshakes should be brief, firm and to the point. It should give a feeling of strength, dignity and warmth. It should not be weak, limp and feeling like a wet fish. Wimpy handshakes are a big turn off.  A lingering handshake can be pardoned at social gatherings, but not at business meetings. Always keep handshakes brief.

If an interview candidate, one never puts their hand out for a handshake unless the interviewer puts their hand out first.  If at a social gathering, it is acceptable for the man to put his hand out to a woman who is off the same age or younger, but for an older female, the man must wait until the she extends her hand. Restaurant etiquette is differs from one culture to another. Table manners and etiquettes can make or break your impression on others and yourself.  During formal dinners one is expected to follow traditional table manners and etiquettes in order to avoid embarrassment to oneself and others.

Basic dinner etiquette is to arrive on time and in appropriate attire.  If you know you will be late, you must inform the host in advance. If you are on a business lunch, you must first wait for your host to sit before making yourself comfortable. You should not slouch, cross your legs or sit with your elbows on the table.

Once seated, take the napkin from the table, unfold it and place it on your lap. Never make a big show of shaking open your napkin. The napkin is not for cleaning your cutlery, wiping your face or blowing your nose. If you have to leave the table before the end of your meal, loosely fold the napkin and place it on your seat. Never put a used napkin back on the table unless you have finished your meal.   If you drop your napkin, retrieve it only if it is in reach, if not, ask your waiter for a replacement.

If there are no place cards, it is better to remain standing until you are shown to your seats by the host than to sit in the wrong place and have to be asked to move. Male escorts should help their ladies to settle before seating themselves and all guests should sit up and not slouch on the table. Elbows, cell phones and purses on the table are not good etiquette. Legs should not be outstretched under the table.

It is a good idea to know the proper table settings. Side dishes/plates to the left of you are yours, while glasses to the right are yours. You only start eating once the food has been served to everyone in a small party or in a large party, once the host begins or if the host tells you not to wait. Always start with the outer cutlery and work inwards. If in doubt, wait and observe others.

One important factor to remember in table etiquette is never put used silverware back on the table. It must always be kept on the plate or in the dish while unused cutlery must be left on the table. Always take small mouthfuls, never stuff your mouthful and do not talk whilst your mouth is full or while you are chewing.

Once the meal is over, place your cutlery on the plate, loosely fold the napkin and place on the table beside your plate. Do not refold it properly or scrunch it into a ball. Never stretch across the table for food, ask for it to be passed over. Always pass food from left to right and never intercept the condiment when it is en route to someone else, this is considered bad manners and if only one condiment is requested, is good etiquette to pass the both together.

It is considered bad manners to blow on hot food, wait until it is cool enough to eat. Dips, butter, etc must be taken from the serving plate to your own before eating. Personal silverware should never be used to serve food to yourself. Always make use of the serving utensils. It is acceptable to leave food on the plate if you are full. If your meal is something you are not keen on, always say ‘this is different and not uurrrgghh I don’t like this.’

If you do not want something that is being served, never wave the waiter away, a small no thank you will suffice. If during the meal, the host or anyone else is not following proper etiquettes, do not point it out. Keep your opinion to yourself and continue eating. Lastly, it is essential to keep pace with the rest of the guests while eating. Do not continue to eat long after the others have stopped and do not complete all the courses hurriedly

Now for the tipping aspect of etiquette, TIPS originately meant “to ensure prompt service”. It was a way of insuring quality service on your next visit. These days, people take quality service for granted and do not leave a tip if the service is not up to their expectation. Tipping is usually a percentage of the amount you pay for the service you want on your.

Sarah Goldman

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