Dating Advice

Do’s and Don’ts when Dining with a Date

I’ve written several articles on dining dilemmas for and they seem to be the most popular so I’m doing one more on some of the basic do’s and don’ts that I haven’t yet covered, so get ready to eat! This is a no frills information article when dating and dining. Just remember to keep your elbows off the table!

  1. Do watch your manners!

    Remember this is the time to impress! Watch yourself and eat with your mouth closed and don’t be picky.

  2. Do scoop soup away from you.

    Scoop your soup from the front to the back. This does several things, first it gives the soup an extra second or two to cool as you scoop it from the front to the back and bring it slowly back over your bowl to your mouth. Second, it allows any tiny drops of soup to fall back into the bowl on the way back instead of slipping off and landing on clothing or lap. Third, it helps you remember to sit up straight and bring the soup up to your mouth and not lean over and shovel it in like you haven’t eaten in awhile. By the way, all things eaten in a bowl should be scooped away from you for the same reasons and also so you never slop things onto yourself. There are reasons behind these rules!

  3. Don’t blow it by blowing on it!

    Anything that comes to you that is hot should sit for as long as it takes to cool before you begin to eat it. Nothing can ruin a lovely time more than watching someone blow on their food, swallow something hot and have them turn red, gulp down all the water on the table or flail their arms around and wave at their tongue. If something comes to you steaming hot, either as coffee, soup or a sizzling steak, let it sit. On this same note, don’t stick a finger in anything to test the temperature, shows a lack of grace.

  4. Don’t dunk.

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    Like your food wet and soppy? That could be the way your relationship goes if you dunk your food. Generally you don’t dunk things. That means absolutely everything except when it is served au jus. Au jus is what they mean for a French Dip sandwich or a Prime Rib steak. If there isn’t a little cup of something to dip your order in don’t dip it in anything else. You won’t impress anyone when you leave crumbs in butter dishes, donut puffs in your coffee or soggy rolls in your soup. If you are even a little worried about whether or not to even sop up some of that gravy on your plate, don’t. When dining with a date think more about them and less about the meal.

  5. Do keep linen clean.

    Those big starched diner napkins are provided to protect your lap from any spills though since you are eating so well you need not worry. They are not provided to blot lipstick, hold gum or anything else you accidentally came in with. If you need to wipe your mouth or nose or get rid of something in your mouth it’s best to excuse yourself and go to the restroom. You’ll be more embarrassed if you leave a hideous stain or something icky on the napkin than you will be excusing yourself from the table. Plus, then if you leave the table your date gets to check out the way you look from the back! Hope you’ve ironed your clothes!

  6. Do pay attention to waiters.

    The wait staff at most good restaurants, (and I’m sure you wouldn’t dream of taking your date anywhere that wasn’t nice!) are well versed in which side to serve things and so should you be. Generally they serve to the left and pick up from the right. That’s why if you’re going to leave the table you should leave the table on the left so you can see if someone is coming and not run into them accidentally. It’s always the tiny things that make the biggest difference. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have a crash when dining with your date?

  7. Don’t push your plate away when you are finished.

    It seems natural that after you are finished with your plate that you would take it and set it away from you, doesn’t it? But then why stop there? Why not scrap off any uneaten food, stack the utensils and do the job of the bus person too? The point I’m making is that you are at the restaurant to eat and socialize and not to clean up. Don’t touch your plate when you’re finished, let the waiter take it away, it’s their job and it will show your manners if you leave it alone. I’m always amazed when someone picks up their plate and places it somewhere else. What are they thinking? I want to look at the left over food? Leave it alone!

  8. Forget the finger licking foods.

    You can order the barbecue ribs when you’re with your friends. Or have the corn on the cob during the company picnic and the pizza when you have a movie ready in the VCR. On an honest to goodness date in a restaurant refrain from any foods that you must eat with your fingers, that drip excessively or those things that require wearing a bib. Unless your date has picked the place and it’s all you can eat fried chicken I’d leave the finger licking foods alone! Do you really want to risk letting your date slip through your greasy fingers?

Okay, I hope that the above eight items have been good choices to add to your dating etiquette menu! The most important thing to remember is that you want to relax, make the other person feel comfortable and not offend by your eating habits or by being discourteous to anyone. You’ll do fine if you take your time and watch and listen. Many waiters and waitresses are worth their weight in gold in how much they can instruct and help you as you move through the dining process. Get ready to have a wonderful time and shine when dining with your incredible date. If it goes really well you won’t remember what you ate anyway!

If you’re looking for a great restaurant to take your date in Saint John, check out Saint John!

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Shawna Schuh

Conquer Apathy and Erase Rudeness as you follow proven, fun and beneficial information by Shawna Schuh, CSP. Specializing in communication, professionalism, service & business finesse. Shawna helps you bring your best self to the work you do for maximum results. To book Shawna to speak visit

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