Guest Etiquette - Whether you are invited to dine in a friend`s home or a restaurant bringing your best table manners along is a good idea. Practicing at home makes this an easier and enjoyable experience.
Gifts - When you are invited to someone`s home, bring along a token of your appreciation. It can be as simple as a jar of homemade jam or as elaborate as a fine bottle of wine. The host/hostess will be grateful that you care about them.
Clothing - When you receive an invitation, ask about the style of dress. Of course, if it is an outdoor barbecue, this is not necessary. Consider the purpose or type of party and the time of day when choosing the appropriate outfit. Never wear a hat at the table or a casual sleeveless shirt.
Napkin - Always place the napkin in your lap when you first sit down. Fold it so that a quarter is folded over at the top. This provides you with double protection from spills.
Posture - Relax and enjoy time with others. Do not rock back in the dining chair and do not prop yourself up with your elbows on the table. Placing the forearm on the table edge is okay. When cutting the food, keep your elbows close to your body. They should rest comfortably near your side.
Noises - Turn off your beeper and cell phone until the dinner is over. Do not slurp soup or blow on hot foods and beverages. Do not speak with food in your mouth. If you must blow your nose, excuse yourself from the table.
Leaving - After the dinner or party, keep the host/hostess in mind, and leave at an appropriate time. Do not ask for a take-home bag of food.
Follow-up - Always send a "thank you" note the next day. If you just cannot find the time for this, call the next day and express your appreciation.
Restaurants - 15% of the bill total is the usual tip, however, for excellent service 20% or more is the norm.