A Table For Six
3 min read
Etiquette During Group Dinners
April 20, 2023
Meeting new people isn’t always easy. Not everyone is on the same wavelength. Each individual comes from a unique background that may not always match the values that you have grown up with. It is important to display neutral and polite manners when interacting with new people, even more so when you are meeting with a group of new people.
When attending group dinners where you are meeting a group of new people, it is expected that you introduce yourself. The way you initially present yourself makes a huge impact on how others perceive you for the rest of the event.
Make sure you are facing everyone so that each attendee is able to see your face. Do not look down or focus on just one person when speaking. Speak loudly and clearly so that everyone hears you clearly. Be mindful of your posture as well. Your body language says a lot about how you feel about the event you are attending.
Make everyone feel comfortable
Restaurant dining presents an interesting human dynamic. You are in a public space with new people who will have your company for the duration of the event. Therefore, you have to behave in a way so that others around you are comfortable and so are you.
As you settle into your seat make sure the table area in front of you is clear. Do not put your phone, keys or purse on the table. If you unintentionally did leave your belongings at the table while waiting for others to join in, politely remove them with a gentle “pardon me”.
Avoid bringing up uncomfortable topics that force people to ignore you. Anything that includes politics or religion is not a good idea when speaking with a new group. People sitting next to you will be there for the duration of the dinner and you do not want to make them feel like they are “stuck” next to you.
Address the table
Attending group dinners is similar to attending a music festival. You wouldn’t go in just to see one act and ignore the rest. Similarly, it is important to interact with everyone present at the dinner so that they get to know you better. If you do find someone particularly interesting you may engage them in a conversation. However, ignoring the rest of the table may be considered rude. Remember, if you find someone interesting at the event, you will have opportunities to speak with them privately in the future. It’s important to give people their space just as much as give them attention.