Using your phone at dinner parties is frowned upon. Photo: Rendy Novantino

What not to do at a dinner party

Many moons ago, I read a book on etiquette – quite an interesting read that included table manners.

My parents taught me most of it already such as: don’t talk while you have food in your mouth, don’t place your elbows on the table and don’t eat noisily.

With both parents being smokers, the cigarettes were always on the table – something I still don’t like to this day.

The book also explained how to walk down the stairs at an event, how to stir your tea (you shouldn’t hear the spoon but swirl the tea gently) and who opens the door. I think all life situations were covered by this book.

At one stage I even taught office etiquette at one of the companies I was working at (a rather traditional one where etiquette was key).

So, I was of course interested when I saw a press release in my inbox that covered today’s table manners based on research in Britain. The research focused on dinner parties rather than the daily family dinner (if that still exists).

According to the results, one of the top avoidance at the dinner table is politics – don’t talk politics at the table (I remember this being a rule in pubs as well). That might be a problem when politicians come together for a meal though!

With 64% of people asked, vaping was the number one of things not to do at the table– and I assume smoking falls in the same category. I have to admit that I find vaping just as annoying as smoking and with the lack of long-term studies on the effect on people’s health, I think we should be careful.

And surprisingly, 53% of the people who were asked thought that looking at your phone during dinner is rather rude. That might be a problem for people who check their phone every five minutes – I have to admit, I have my phone out as well but mostly to take photos of the food and people.

I am not sure what type of dinner parties British people attend but 43% said that taking your socks off at the table is a big no no – I have to agree with that but have never had the experience that someone actually took their socks off at the table.

Apparently the topic of a conversation is also important (yes, it is indeed) and boasting about money or a top position at work is considered rude as well.

Speaking with your mouth full of food is still considered rude and even speaking loud should be avoided.

That research got me thinking about what I dislike when I have guests over and here are my top five: Telling me you are on a diet and trying to figure out the calories of each spoonful (I cook with butter and cream); guests not leaving (and yes, I had people staying on the sofa overnight because they thought we had such a ‘great’ time).

One sided conversations – you might have six people at the table but only one talks (yep, had that more than once) and also talking and eating at the same time, but the number one annoyance for me is when someone has an allergy and ‘forgets’ to tell me about it.

Thankfully, my friends are all lovely and know how to be civil at the table.