When most people think of table manners, they think of chewing with your mouth closed and keeping elbows off the table.
But there are other things that one must be aware of while dining out or at home.
When it comes to napkins, always take your queue from the host/hostess. Let the host/hostess touch his or her napkin first and fold it on his or her lap. Once this happens, follow suit.
Using a napkin properly
Napkin etiquette doesn’t stop with proper placement. How you use your napkin is equally important. Instead of wiping your face, use the napkin to dab at your lips/mouth. Ladies, blot your lipstick-covered lips prior to drinking to avoid lip prints on your glass.
Napkin ringsIf you are at a gathering where they are using napkin rings, make sure after sliding the ring off of napkin carefully that you place the ring at the top left of your table setting.
When you are finished with your meal, grasp the napkin in the center and pull it through the ring. The napkin and ring will form a triangle shape that you place on the table with the point facing the center of the table.
End of meal napkin placement
There are several additional ways to properly place your napkin after a meal. Many methods are place-setting specific. You may choose to loosely fold your napkin, hiding the soiled area. If your plate is in the center of the place setting, lay napkin to the left of the plate.
If the place setting is empty, you may lay the napkin in the middle. If coffee is being served, remember to leave your napkin on your lap!
In order to be a good conversationalist you should: “Think”- think before speaking (my 8 year old and I discuss the importance of this often) “Observe”- watch the guests around you and their expressions as you speak. “Listen”- we touched on this in the very first blog and I will remind you often how very important it is to be a good listener to enhance conversations.
Encourage children to discuss their hobbies and ask others about theirs or an upcoming school project. These are great ways to get the conversation rolling in the right direction and include others at the table.
Adults some positive and interesting topics for you could include travel, sports, best-selling books, new movie releases, fitness trends, famous people and hobbies.
Exiting the table
When leaving the table it is customary to ask, “May I please be excused” or simply state “Excuse me; I will be right back.”
Leave your napkin soiled side up on your chair. Upon returning, replace the napkin to your lap without a large flourish or snapping motion.
For more information about napkins and conversations, please visit one of my favorite resources: www.etiquettescholar.com.
Comment to win
How do you encourage good table manners in your home? Leave a comment with your creative solutions below by noon Friday for a chance to win two tickets Saturday Soiree: An evening of food, fun, art and music.
The event runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in New Freedom and will feature painting with Brush & Blush, gourmet treats from The Hired Help and jazz music by Lisa Evans.
One winner will be drawn at random from all the entries received, and announced on the Smart Facebook page. The winner will receive two Saturday Soiree tickets, a prize valued at $60.