The Worst Dinner Table Behaviours – How Many Are You Guilty Of?

Have you ever put an olive pit back into a bowl of olives, grated cheddar over spaghetti, or asked for ketchup when someone has cooked? Research reveals the worst dinner table faux pas a person can commit

Researchers surveyed the nation and revealed that laughing with your mouth open is officially the rudest thing you can do at the dinner table, according to 40 per cent of Brits.

Failing to say thanks to whoever cooked, wiping your plate clean with your finger and slurping soup are obviously also the height of bad manners, according to the poll.

While 31 per cent deem it rude when someone rolls a cigarette at the table or reaches over someone else to get food (26 per cent).

Salting your food without trying it, asking for ketchup when someone has cooked for you – and grating cheddar, instead of parmesan over your spaghetti are also uncouth behaviours when eating with others, according to the survey of 2,000 Brits.

The survey was commissioned as part of a new entertaining at-home etiquette guide produced by Debrett’s and Parmigiano Reggiano PDO.

It found, on average Brits go to friend’s houses for dinner three times a month with more than three-quarters (78 percent) stating that they enjoy eating with friends.

Despite this, over half (51 per cent) say there are certain dinner table behaviours that are unacceptable.

In fact, 58 per cent judge people for how they eat and what they do with their food. Women are more likely to judge others than men.

Three-quarters (73 per cent) believe that some people simply have bad manners when it comes to eating with others.

70 per cent of the 2,000 surveyed think table manners are important, while a third (33 per cent) have left someone’s house early because of a dinner table faux pas.

President of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, Nicola Bertinelli, commented: “It’s often the little things – or ‘le piccole cose’ as we say here in Italy – that make the biggest difference when entertaining. To us Italians it might be small touches like using a cheese knife to chunk Parmigiano the correct way, or pairing the right wine with your cheese, but we’ve got to agree that putting olive pits back with the olives, as cited by 21 per cent of Brits, is a big no-no”

A spokesperson for Debrett’s commented: “Good etiquette at dinner is not about outmoded manners and codes of conduct, it is all about being observant, being aware of other people’s comfort, and doing your utmost to ensure that everyone is having a wonderful time.”


  1. Laughing with your mouth full – 40%
  2. Not saying thanks to whoever cooked – 38%
  3. Slurping soup – 32%
  4. Putting your feet on the table – 31%
  5. Rolling a cigarette at the table – 31%
  6. Wiping your plate clean with your finger – 28%
  7. Reaching over someone to get food – 26%
  8. Pointing your knife at someone, in conversation – 23%
  9. Putting olive pits back in with the olives – 21%
  10. Taking more than your share of ‘sharing food’ – 19%
  11. Liberally salting food without trying it – 15%
  12. Eating with just a fork, like an American – 9%
  13. Grating cheddar all over your spaghetti – 8%
  14. Slathering hot or BBQ sauce all over your meal – 8%
  15. Asking for ketchup or hot sauce – 6%

To download a copy of the full Debrett’s guide to modern at-home entertaining in partnership with Parmigiano Reggiano PDO and enjoy a Taste of Europe, visit:

Rachel Bartee

Rachel Bartee is a blogger and freelance writer dreaming of a tour round the world to write a story of her greatest life adventure. For the time being, she feels inspired by her daily yoga sessions and studies Interpersonal Relationships.