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20 Dining Etiquette Rules No One Follows Anymore

Sorry, Emily Post. These dining etiquette rules are officially outdated.

1 / 20
woman photographing food by smartphoneSyda Productions/Shutterstock

Turning off cell phones before a meal

To show respect to your host and fellow dining partners, it’s considered good manners to silence your cell phone and place it out of sight before sitting down. Nowadays, many people are leaving their phones on the table and even using them during dinner. Dining is a social experience, after all, so many friends use their devices to share photos, messages and other digital content. Did you know cooks are using their phones in the kitchen, too? Here’s how.

2 / 20
Closeup of unrecognizable people passing bread basket around at festive dinner tableSeventyFour/Shutterstock

Buttering bread one bite at a time


If you reach for a dinner roll, you’re supposed to tear off one piece at a time—and butter each bite individually. But today, convenience is King and diners often choose to butter the entire slice at once—if they’re even eating bread at all. With keto, gluten-free and low-carb diets on the rise, it’s no surprise this rule is outdated. Plus: Check out the top things people don’t know how to do around the house anymore.

3 / 20
Breakfast scene at a diner with salt and pepper shakers, silverware, and coffeeHeather A Phillips/Shutterstock

Passing the salt and pepper together


If someone asks for the salt, you’re supposed to pass the pepper, too. Today, it’s not necessary—especially since those shakers are one of the dirtiest items on a restaurant table. Ick!

4 / 20
Positive waitress taking table order and smiling at the tavernIakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

Serving women first


Many restaurants used to always serve ladies before gents. But in today’s day and age, gender doesn’t matter. Many servers place dishes based on the order they come out of the kitchen or each guest’s position at the table. And that’s not the only thing that’s changed over the past few decades. 

5 / 20
Aerial view of winter green garland on a wedding receptions head table with gold place setting and candelabraALICIA GARSIDE/Shutterstock

Setting a table with tons of utensils


As a kid, you might remember attending a formal dinner and being overwhelmed by the wide array of utensils surrounding the plate. Today, many diners only find the silverware they actually need. (Sorry, fish knife). Learn how to fit everyone at the table with these tips.

6 / 20
Couple having lunch at rustic gourmet restaurantTrendsetter Images/Shutterstock

Waiting to eat until everyone is served


In a formal dining situation (like a job interview lunch) you should probably still do this. But when out with friends or family, feel free to dig in—especially if you ordered something hot. 

7 / 20
Hands of cropped unrecognisable woman and man passing salad bowl at vegetarian restaurant.LStockStudio/Shutterstock

Passing dishes clockwise


Dishes should make their way around the table, clockwise. But family dinner’s have become a lot more relaxed.

8 / 20
Rustic table setting: pink napkin folded on a plate, next to a champagne glassgaikova/Shutterstock

Leaving your napkin on the chair


If you need to excuse yourself from the table, it’s proper etiquette to place your napkin on your chair. Nowadays, many diners just place them next to their plate. Learn the proper placement of your napkins, forks, wine glasses and more with our helpful table setting guide.

9 / 20
Happy loving couple enjoying breakfast in a cafe.Bobex-73/Shutterstock

Keeping elbows off the table


If your parents were strict about this rule as a kid, good luck ever breaking it. But for the rest of us, rest assured that it’s not a major faux pas anymore. Instead, read up on the dinner party mistakes that actually frustrate your host. 

10 / 20
date, people, payment and finances conceptSyda Productions/Shutterstock

Expecting the man to pay


In years past, the check went to the man at the table—no questions asked. But in the 21st century, many women are more than willing to pick up the bill or split the tab. So don’t assume that one party is (or isn’t) paying based solely on their gender. 

11 / 20
Empty dirty plates with spoon and forks on the table with a bright tableclothAnton Watman/Shutterstock

Waiting to remove empty plates


Servers used to wait until the entire table was finished eating before clearing plates. Nowadays, servers or bussers grab empty dishes whenever they can. (And you don’t have to sit in front of a crusty plate for 20 minutes). Have you been loading your dishwasher all wrong? This is the correct way.

12 / 20
Woman hands using black pepper and salt shaker on the slices of pizzasiam.pukkato/Shutterstock

Waiting to season food


To show respect for the cook, you should wait to season food with salt and pepper until after you’ve tried a few bites. And while this may still make sense in practice, it’s unlikely you’d offend anyone by adding a dash of pepper to your salad ASAP.

13 / 20
Plate with crumbs food9george/Shutterstock

Placing used utensils on your plate


The placement of utensils on your plate used to communicate to waitstaff whether you were finished with a course or still eating. Now, many servers just ask. 

14 / 20
Young waiter serving big family during dinner or breakfastPressmaster/Shutterstock

Serving on the left, clearing dishes on the right


In formal situations, waitstaff aims to serve dishes on the left and clear empty plates on the right. But c’mon, how many restaurants have space for that? Especially if you’re seated in a romantic nook or against the wall. Sorry, but you’ll be served on whatever side is accessible. Oh, and these “polite” restaurant habits are actually major mistakes. 

15 / 20
Smiling woman talking with friends sitting at dining tablet at homeJacob Lund/Shutterstock

Waiting for the hostess


When dining at someone’s home, you should follow the hostess’s cues for when to start eating, how quickly to eat, etc. Today’s dinner parties are a lot more relaxed and guests can set their own pace. You should, however, treat your hostess to one of these fun gifts. 

16 / 20
Two female friends drinking wine in restauranSmeilov Sergey/Shutterstock

Sipping your glass from the same spot


To avoid lip marks on your glass, try to hit the same spot every time you take a sip. While this rule might make sense if you’re wearing lipstick, it’s unlikely that anyone else is paying attention to your glass. 

17 / 20
A dirty plate and an empty cup of coffee franz12/Shutterstock

Leaving a bite on your plate


Traditionally, you should leave a bite on your plate to convey that you enjoyed the meal and were served enough to be satisfied. 

18 / 20
Group Of Friends Meeting For Lunch In Coffee ShopMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Wearing the proper attire


The days of restaurant dress codes are all but over. Only a handful of eateries still require men to don a jacket and tie before dining. Today, comfort is key. Dig old-school dining? 

19 / 20
Blonde woman eating green healthy tasty eco salad on city street terraceAnn Haritonenko/Shutterstock

Ordering the same number of courses


In days past, the number of courses you ordered was determined by the table, not each individual diner. Nowadays, order as many (or as few) courses as you like. Heck, you could even get an appetizer as your main meal! These apps are sure to satisfy.

20 / 20
Cute Playful Preschooler Child at Christmas Dinner;GiorgioMagini/Shutterstock

Asking to be excused


As a kid, when you finished your meal you had to ask to be excused from the table. But today, many kids are free to get up whenever they please. Plus, daily family dinners are becoming more rare, so many kids end up eating in the car or in front of the T.V. Next, check out 19 old home features that aren’t useful anymore.

Originally Published on Taste of Home