Table manners: Avoid these bad habits on vacation

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Good table manners are different in different cultures and can vary greatly. However, here are some general things to avoid to avoid appearing rude, especially on vacation:

General things to avoid:

  1. Being late: Punctuality is valued in many cultures. Try to arrive on time for meals or invitations.
  2. Elbows on the table: In many cultures, resting your elbows on the table is considered impolite.
  1. Speaking with your mouth full: It is generally considered impolite to speak with your mouth full or to make noises while eating.
  2. Using cutlery incorrectly: Find out about the correct use of cutlery. In some cultures, it is customary to hold and use knives and forks in a certain way.
  3. Using the phone at the table: Using the phone during the meal is often considered rude.
  4. Being too loud: Loud talking or laughing can be perceived as disturbing.

Culture-specific things to avoid:

  1. Japan: Do not stick chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice (this is reminiscent of a funeral ceremony). You should also not point chopsticks at others or poke them through the food.
  2. China: Do not blow your nose or clear your throat loudly at the table. You should also be careful not to finish all the food, as this can be seen as a sign that you have not had enough to eat.
  3. France: Bread should be placed on the table, not the plate. Do not cut cheese with the tip facing forward but parallel to the side.
  4. Italy: Do not order a cappuccino after a meal. This is considered inappropriate.
  5. India and Middle East: Never use your left hand to eat or hand over objects, as it is considered unclean.
  6. Thailand: Never place the fork directly in the mouth. It is used to push the food onto the spoon.

Tips for adaptation:

  • Observe and adapt: Watch how locals behave and adapt.
  • Questioning: If unsure, ask politely about proper table manners.
  • Show respect: Respect local traditions and customs.
  • By following these general and culture-specific rules, you can avoid many embarrassing situations and show respect for the host culture.
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