Believe it or not, mannerism is everything. It is what defines your personality. Therefore you are the product of your mannerism. It is a most priceless possession you can’t afford to abuse. A lot of self-discipline is required in order to achieve the best mannerism in your conversations, working environment as well as in your mealtimes.
Mealtimes require the best ethical practices. These are what have come to be known as ‘table Manners.’ Table manners are the rules of etiquettes that are used while eating. It also entails the appropriate use of the utensils or cutleries.
Many people feel out of place when dinning simply because they do not know how to follow table manners.
There is a common parlance which posits: ‘Charity begins at home’. This is a fundamental foot print that has been trodden down. Whether you are eating at home with family and friends, in a cafeteria or a fancy restaurant, good table manners make for a most pleasant mealtime.
Here are some tips on how to make the best of your mealtime:
Your sitting position
Avoid slouching. Do not place your elbows on the table while eating, though it is okay to prop your elbows on the table while conversing between meals. Do not tip your chair. Do not lean on the table.
“No talking while eating.”
Your parent(s) would say this to you when you were still a kid. This childhood lesson must not depart from you completely, now that you are grown up. Make your mealtime a ‘more eating, less talking’ affair. Do not hum or sing at the table.
Do not talk with food in your mouth
It is not uncommon to see a lot of people do this. This is an unpleasant sight to the onlooker. So, if you must talk amid meals, it is important to chew up and swallow up everything in your mouth before opening your mouth to say something.
Do not use the toothpick with the mouth wide open                                                                                              Although it is not advisable to use the toothpick at the table, if you must use it, you should not do so with the mouth wide open. It is best to do so with the lips slightly closed.
Do not gobble your food
Avoid eating your food hurriedly or noisily. However delicious the meal, do not eat with or lick your fingers. Wait until you are done chewing to sip or swallow a drink. The exception is if you are choking.
Handle the cutleries appropriately
Cutleries include table spoons, forks, knives, etc. Avoid using them like a shovel or as if you just stabbed the food you are about to eat. Never use them as tools for scratching or as cotton buds for cleaning your ears.
Do not make a noise with the cutleries
Avoid attracting unnecessary attention to yourself while eating. It may interest you to know that a number of persons are actually allergic to the unpleasant sound that results from what would seem like a ‘fight between the dish (plate) and the cutleries.’
Never make gesticulations with cutleries in your hands                                                                                      When conversations become more heightened, it is a common practice to use gesticulations. But, you should endeavor to drop the cutleries if you must do so. Also make your gesticulations minimal so as to avoid knocking things off the dining table, brushing or scratching the faces or any other body (parts) of those around you with your elbow or finger nails.
Do not stuff your mouth with large quantity of food
Learn to eat patiently, no matter how hungry you might be. It is an act of courtesy to chew and swallow every spoonful before taking another into your mouth. It would be very embarrassing to have your swollen cheeks bulging out and wobbling like the belly of a heavily pregnant nanny goat.
Do not chew aloud
Do not attract unnecessary attention to yourself while munching foods. You must not wait until you are embarrassed or nicknamed before turning away from this habit. Ensure that you chew gently, noiselessly and slowly too. It applies especially to crunchy foods such as chips, chin-chin, fruits and even vegetable salads.
Don’t be selfish!                                                                                                                                               Make the happiness of others around you a priority. Never make mealtime unpleasant for others who are dining with you. Bringing up awkward conversations at the dining tale would make people lose their appetite. Avoid all sorts of topics that paint a gross, irritating or nauseating picture. Now, rather than making announcements, you could actually excuse yourself from the table and then return without anyone sensing that you are actually back from the Lady’s/Gent’s (females or males rest room or toilet). Avoid slurping, smacking or blowing your nose. Excuse yourself from the table and do it in a secluded place such as the restroom where no one gets to hear the sound from.
Avoid displaying ugliness                                                                                                                                         note that food particles removed from your teeth with the toothpick are not ‘a sight for all.’ Do not allow food to spill out of both sides of your lips. Do not wipe your mouth with your hands, remember to use the napkin or serviette and close same in order to conceal the ugly stain on it. Never use your finger(s) to clean out food particles from your mouth during and after eating. Never place your chewed gum on the plate.
Farting during mealtime is a total ‘No, No!’                                                                                                        Have you ever found yourself in a gridlock with a heart rending stench emanating from someone’s fart at your mealtime? How appalling! How mischievous!! …you will agree with me. The most disheartening thing about this act of gross mischief is that most people have made it a norm to exhibit the questionable character anywhere, anytime due to familiarity. What’s worse? Their flimsy excuse(s)!!! “Mess no get toilet.”  “…just removing toxins from my body.” Good and very good!!!!. Now that you know its toxic, then, why give it off to someone ‘familiar with you’ or at mealtime of all times?
Belching or burping
Belching becomes inevitable in the course of consuming foods or drinks which contain and accumulate gas in the stomach. Be mindful of it and quickly turn your mouth away from your food as well as from the people around you. Remember to place the napkin or serviette over your mouth. There is no harm in letting it out noiselessly, followed politely by “I am sorry.” or “excuse me.” Note that ‘please’ is optional.
Never put your hand across someone else’s food
In the course of serving or eating, you discovered that you need to add some salt, pepper, salad, or whatever it may be, to your meal, and it is beyond your reach, do not make any attempt to stretch your hand across someone’s food to get it over. By so doing, you will definitely offend people. This is however very simple and avoidable! Say politely, “please, pass the salad over”
Impolite comments
Avoid making negative verbal or facial comment(s) about the food you are given, even if it tastes awful.
Show some courtesies
Saying “thank you” to your host remains a great show of courtesy. Avoid asking for a second when others have not had their firsts. Always say “Excuse me” whenever you leave the table. Never push your plates away when you are done eating. You may voluntarily offer to clear the dishes off the table and wipe it clean, if you are a visitor, rather than a guest at a party.
You may have to practice these steps even when you are dinning alone    so as to get the right table manners inculcated into you.
Bon appetite (Have a nice meal)!

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