An easy way to show how much you appreciate being invited is by bringing your hostess a little gift. Something as simple as a bottle of wine or box of chocolates will do.
As hungry as you may be, don't start eating until everyone has their food in front of them and your hostess is seated.
It's OK to rest your forearms or hands on the table, but don't place your elbows there while food is on the table.
When it comes to chewing, make sure to keep your mouth closed so no one has to see what you're munching on. Also, try to finish chewing completely and swallow before speaking.
Nothing ruins the flow of conversation like a ringing cell phone followed by someone leaving the table to take a call. Avoid distracting sounds or the temptation to leave your other guests by turning off your phone as soon as you enter your hostess's home.
If you do have to step away from the dinner table for some reason, make sure to explain your departure. Sneaking off will leave everyone feeling awkward and confused, so simply offer a few words of explanation before getting up.
If you are placed in front of a confusing array of cutlery, start with the outermost piece and work your way in. That means the first course's knife and fork will be on the outside, while the last course's will be closest to the plate. A fork or spoon placed above the plate is to be used for dessert. Following these rules will ensure you don't use the incorrect utensils and wind up with the wrong ones when it really counts.
The wide array of cutlery is there for a reason, so don't use your fingers to eat. It may take more time to get that pesky pea onto your fork with a knife, but it's better to do so than to use your fingers. And if anything does happen to get on your fingers, wipe them off with a napkin rather than lick them.
An easy way to indicate whether you're done or are ready for seconds is through your cutlery. Placing your knife and fork next to each other on your plate means you're finished eating, while separating them says you aren't quite satiated.
Talking only about yourself or showing no interest in what others are saying is probably the worst etiquette crime you can commit. Show your host and other guests how much you appreciate being invited by making conversation and getting along with everyone.
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