When dining together, order the same number of courses as everyone else. This will help pace the dinner appropriately. If you’re just having the main course, and the fellow to your left orders a salad or appetizer in addition to the entrée, order a salad or appetizer, too.
- As a guest, when your host asks you to order first, ask her for recommendations. This can hint at a price range from which to pick.
- As a host, urge your guests to order first. Then, try to order as many courses for yourself as your guests to make sure everyone can begin and finish eating at about the same time.
- At the table, wait until everyone is served. Begin to eat only after the host or the most important guest does. Follow this guideline for each course of the meal. Pace yourself such that you finish at about the same time as everybody else at your table.
- If you are the most important guest or the host and others are served way before you are, urge the others to begin eating while the food is still hot.
- Order the same number of courses as everyone else. This will help pace the dinner appropriately. If you intend to order just the main course, and the person to your left orders a salad or appetizer in addition to the entrée, you should order a salad or appetizer, too.
- At buffet meals, after you get your food and sit down at an open table, wait until two or three others join you at the table before beginning to eat.
Depending on the formality and decorum appropriate to the occasion, try to stick to the above guidelines. More importantly, use common sense and make others around you comfortable.