Everyone loves to go out to eat. Trying new restaurants is fun, and if you decide to go to one of those fancy restaurants, you can dress up and feel like a real person for a night. Some people have a tough time figuring out how to be a real person when they’re out to eat, though.

Here are a few suggestions (or polite demands) from a server. 

Don’t throw a fit when you’re asked for an ID.

On a college campus, 21 is more like a suggestion than a regulation. However, restaurants are a whole lot more strict when it comes to being of age. Most servers have to take a horribly tedious online classabout handling alcohol and spotting fake IDs. (Like really, doesn’t the home page just make you want to throw your computer?) So sorry, I’d rather ask to see your ID and have you scoff at me than get fired for not checking.

Besides, if you’re 21, why wouldn’t you want to show that flashy, legal ID off anyways?

Slow down on the water.

If you’re not of age, odds are you’re getting a water. Because really, who would want to spend $3 on a Coke that isn’t mixed with some shitty whiskey? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you don’t need to suck down three glasses before your meal even gets to you.

Remember when you would take too long at the water fountain in elementary school and the kids behind you in line would tell you to “Save some for the fish?” Yeah, well, save some for the fish.

Wait for the hostess.

Unless there is a sign that says, “Please Seat Yourself,” you’re not supposed to seat yourself. A hostess’s job is to make sure that servers know when they have been sat and that everyone is getting their fair share of tables. If you go and sit anywhere you want, neither of those things can happen and it’s possible that no one will notice that you are even there.

Also, if you’re sat somewhere, stay there. Don’t switch tables. Please. Don’t do it.

Stop asking about every price. 

“How much does this cost?” It’s on the menu. “Is this an upcharge?” Look at the menu. “If I –” Menu.

Put your cell phone down.

Nothing is worse than when a server is trying to take your order and you’re not paying attention because you’re too busy looking at your phone, especially if the restaurant is busy. Your server could have six or seven other tables and, trust me, every second is precious. There are at least five other people needing ranch, refills, and change. So please, pull your eyes away from the screen for two minutes and communicate like a human.

Ask for everything you want when you're ordering.

Once again, servers are busy. It’s so much easier when you ask for everything you want right away when you’re ordering your food. If you want ranch, honey mustard, barbecue or any other type of dipping sauce that you may desire, say it before your food gets to the table. That way, you’ll have it when you start eating and your server won’t have to make 23 trips from the kitchen to you.

And if you do want something that you had not thought of before, don’t whistle at or yell for your server. They’re not dogs.

Tipping isn't optional.

As a student myself, I get it. I’m broke, you’re broke, we’re all broke. But as a server, I’m depending on you, my lovely patrons, to tip me well enough so that I can survive. What many of you may not know is that servers have a minimum wage of less than $4 in some states, and that’s before we’re taxed for the amount in tips we’re “supposed” to be getting.

When all is said and done, it’s not unusual to end up with a paycheck of less than $50 after working two 40-hour weeks. By the way, here’s a quick tutorial on how to figure out a 20% tip with limited brain activity.

So next time you go out to eat, please remember these few things to make your server’s life just a little bit easier – thereby making your dining experience a whole lot better.