Whether you’re trying to impress an interviewer at a restaurant, buttering up your significant other’s family over dinner, or just trying to be #classy, these are some important table manners that everyone should know.

table etiquette

Gif courtesy of giphy.com

1. Napkins

table etiquette

Photo courtesy of Maegan Tintari on flickr.com

When you stand up to go to the bathroom, put your napkin in your chair, not on the table. When you stand up to leave the table for good, then you put the napkin on the table.

2. Elbows

table etiquette

Photo courtesy of Jenny Downing on flickr.com

Don’t put your elbows on the table. You can rest your forearms on the table if you really feel the urge, but make sure to keep your posture nice and straight.

3. Silverware

table etiquette

Photo courtesy of Bradley Gordon on flickr.com

When you’re finished eating, place your knife and fork parallel to each other on the plate. This helps your host or server know who at the table is finished so they can start cleaning up (it’s generally rude to start clearing the table before everyone is finished with their meal).

4. Old People

table etiquette

Photo courtesy of Forrest O. on flickr.com

Don’t eat until the oldest woman at the table lifts her fork and takes a bite. If there isn’t a woman at the table, then wait for the oldest man.  If you’re just with your friends, then wait until everyone has their meal in front of them before you dig in.

5. Bread and Drink 

table etiquette

Photo courtesy of Emoji Keyboard

If you’re confused as to which bread plate and water glass are yours, simply make an “OK” symbol with each hand. Your left hand will make a “b” for bread, while your right hand will make a “d” for drink.  You’ll never have to worry about drinking your neighbor’s water again.

6. Setting a Table

table etiquette

Photo courtesy of Didriks on flickr.com

If you have to set a table for a dinner, here’s how to do it: Moving from left to right, you should see the smaller salad fork, then the larger dinner fork, the plate, then the knife, and finally, the spoon. The bread plate (if you have one) should go to the left above the main plate and the water glass, wine glass, etc… should go to the right above the main plate. Martha Stewart can help you out if you’re going to a more fancy dinner.

7. Salt and Pepper 

table etiquette

Photo courtesy of Caleb Roenigk on flickr.com

Pass the salt and pepper together (separating them is not only rude but also bad luck) and put them both down between each person. It’s also polite to pass everything to the right, but if the person to your left needs the salt, I’m sure you can make an exception.

8. Cutting Your Food

table etiquette

Photo courtesy of Andrea Nguyen on flickr.com

Only cut one bite of food at a time – so don’t chop your chicken into pieces all at once – unless you’re under the age of 13.

Things you probably already do, but that you should always keep in mind:

– Always say “please pass the…” instead of reaching.

– Chew with your mouth closed.

– Put your phone away for the entire meal.

– Thank your host

table etiquette

Gif courtesy of giphy.com