Table Etiquette 101: Table Manners Dos and Don’ts for Dating


Proper table etiquette is crucial when it comes to dating. Not only does it demonstrate your level of sophistication but it also highlights your level of intellect. It lets people know that YOU know how to carry yourself and that you’ve been around the block (not to mention, that your parents raised you right).

If you want to be successful in dating, you want to make sure you’re carrying yourself appropriately at the dinner table. Your date is ALWAYS paying attention.

Here are just some dos and don’ts you should always follow.

(Please print these out and commit them to memory if you must)


  • Don’t talk with your mouth full – watching food being chewed down into tiny particles (or rather, mush) is simply NOT attractive – it activates the gag reflex (for your date that is)
  • Don’t loosen your belt or undo the button on your pants because you’re full – wear looser pants or just skip the large piece of cake. No one wants to envision WHY your pants require loosening (turn off).
  • Don’t wipe your mouth with your hand (or worse, your sleeve) – children do this, not adults
  • Don’t lick the plate – although an obvious one, it still deserves mentioning.
  • Don’t use a spoon – when you should really be using a fork. Note: Liquidy and creamy foods require spoons, all else requires a fork. (And when in doubt, always go with a fork).
  • Don’t lick your fingers – it’s just plain nasty. Your date has seen where your hands have been all night and now they’re watching them go in your mouth? (Gross)
  • Don’t slurp your drinks or soup – the sound is not attractive. There’s nothing wrong with leaving some on the bottom. That last sip is NOT going to make or break your appetite. It screams CHEAP.
  • Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu – if you’re being treated to dinner. You don’t have to go with the cheapest thing either, but keep it REASONABLE. Check out the prices of all the dishes and stick to somewhere in the middle
  • Don’t use toothpicks or worse, suck the food out from between your teeth – excuse yourself, and do it in the bathroom
  • Don’t stare at other people’s food – it looks sad.
  • Don’t order the same boring thing all the time – it makes you seem uninteresting and unadventurous. Try something different. Live a little!
  • Don’t use your hands when you should be using utensils –  hint: if it easily slides off your fingers, you shouldn’t be eating it with your hands
  • Don’t put your elbows on the table – grandma taught you that
  • Don’t use your napkin as a bib – unless you’re eating lobster, it’s just not sexy (and it seems juvenile).
  • Don’t text at the table – it can wait until AFTER your date
  • Don’t flirt with the waiter or waitress – need I say more?


  • Do wipe your mouth after every bite  – your date can’t focus on what you’re saying if there’s a piece of spinach hanging off your lip
  • Do order an appetizer  – to avoid staring at other people’s food
  • Do use the napkin on your lap – you don’t want to walk around with stains all night
  • Do experiment with food – it seems more educated. Besides, this way YOU can educate your dates on food down the road and have THEM experiment (that’s attractive)
  • Do learn how to use a knife properly – it should look more like a cutting motion NOT a stabbing motion (Watch Youtube video)
  • Do order for your date (men) – of course, you want to ask her what she wants FIRST. P.S. If she has a problem with it then she’s NOT used to dating gentleman (keep it moving)
  • Do know which wines go with which meals – Red wine goes with red sauces and red meats. White wine goes with white Sauces and White meats
  • DO spend a little (men) – Dinner does cost money. There’s no way to get around this.
  • DO LEAVE A TIP – Don’t be cheap (yes, she’s watching).
Let’s date smarter!
Do you have any table etiquette dos and don’ts to add to this list? Leave them below…
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Alex Wise served over 5 years as relationship expert helping women from around the world figure out the men in their love lives from an honest, male perspective. Alex is one of the contributors and editors for dating website. He is passionate about thought leadership writing, and regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and online dating communities.