Telling someone they have bad table manners is not always easy. You never know how people are going to take it. However, it also depends on your delivery. The kinder and more respectful you are, the more people will be willing to accept constructive criticism.
Either way, it can be a challenging conversation to have. You don’t want the person to feel disrespected, judged, or attacked. After all, that’s not what you’re going for. You just have to help them be better, you don’t want to insult them or make them defensive.
Additionally, bad table manners are bad habits, which can be very difficult to unlearn. A single conversation won’t do it, you also need to provide support and guidance as much as possible.
All this needs to come from a place of love, otherwise, it will be perceived badly. Once the person feels attacked, their defenses will go up and they won’t be open to hearing anything you have to say.
To help you get your message across more effectively, here are 5 kind ways to indirectly tell someone they have bad table manners. However, before we jump into that here’s a list of examples of bad table manners that could be irritating, annoying, and uncomfortable for everyone sitting at your table!
Bad table manners list:
1- Elbows on the table.
2- Chewing with your mouth open.
3- Making noise or sounds while eating.
4- Having food on your face, and not wiping it out with a napkin.
5- picking your teeth at the table.
6- Talking with food in your mouth.
7- Slurping or making other noises while eating soup or drinking beverages.
8- Eating from another person’s plate, or going for food directly placed in front of them when you have other options.
9- Taking more than two bites at a time from each piece of food on your plate.
10- Drinking your glass of water or other drink in one go.
Bad table manners are a clear reminder of how people are not always naturally the most elegant, gracious, or class they could be. So there’s no shame in researching these things and learning to do better and be better, in order to make everyone at your table comfortable, happy to share a meal with you, and at ease.
The bad table manners listed above are only a few examples of many. So, if someone consistently does something that irritates you a lot, at your table, but it’s not listed above then it can still be considered bad table manners. And, there’s no harm in following the steps below to let them know not to do that anymore.
5 Kind ways to indirectly tell someone they have bad table manners:
1- Make It About Yourself:
One of the best ways to indirectly tell someone they have bad table manners is to make it about yourself. When you’re eating together, bring up the topic of table manners by talking about how you used to have a bad one and you managed to overcome it.
For example, you could say that you used to be a super loud chewer and you never realized until someone brought it up. When that happened, your eyes opened and you decided to work on yourself.
Make it out like you’re now happy with your progress and you’ve managed to improve your table manners. This will imprint the idea in their minds and help them have an eye-opening moment as well.
2- Start an Honest Conversation:
An honest and open conversation is always the best way to discuss an issue. You can let someone you love know that they have a bad table manner with love and kindness, all you have to do is start a conversation. Begin by saying that you don’t mean any disrespect at all and that you just want to help.
Then, bring up the issue respectfully and say that you understand what it’s like to have bad table manners. Perhaps you’ve beaten one yourself.
Either way, offer your support and let them know you can help with the process. Bad habits are tough to shake after all. Don’t make it into a joke, as it will probably not be taken seriously enough for them to make an active effort and overcome it. As we said before, these habits can be very hard to shake off.
3- Make the Connection With a Personal Goal:
If the person you love is currently working on themselves, you can try to make a link between that and their table manners. For example, if they’re trying to be a little bit more disciplined, you could say that shaking a bad table manner can be a great way to exercise their discipline.
In other words, try to highlight the benefits of changing a bad table manner. It can be difficult, but it will allow them to practice discipline and show themselves they can accomplish anything. Additionally, it can help them be more confident and sophisticated.
4- Explain the Issue:
When you’re trying to inspire someone to shake a bad table manner, it’s important to help them see the issue. Bad table manners are annoying, yes, but that’s not the most compelling reason to kindly tell someone they can do better. Instead, explain how this behavior affects them in ways they haven’t noticed.
For example, having a meal is a great way to connect but bad table manners can get in the way of it. It’s unpleasant to have a chat if the person speaks with their mouth full or eats way too quickly.
Changing this bad habit will be beneficial to them because they’ll be able to bond a lot better during a meal with family and friends.
5- Talk About the Positives:
When you’re trying to tell someone they have bad table manners, perhaps you should start with the things they do right. For example, they may take their time when eating, but they tend to speak with their mouth full.
They are doing one thing right, which is great, and you love to listen to what they have to say, but they should swallow their food and empty their mouth first. This is one of the best ways to point out an issue and get someone on board without hurting their feelings.
Bad table manners can be off-putting, so if you want to help someone you love and respect, you should let them know.
Unfortunately, it’s a sensitive topic for many, so approach it with kindness and good intentions. Avoid judgment and provide all the support you can so they can ditch their bad table manners for good! Check out this article on whether intelligence is acquired or hereditary.