It’s something many worry about in social gatherings: “What do you say after hello?” Here are a few tips.
● Introduce yourself to the person seated to your left and to your right and to the ones across the table from you.
● Talk about the ambience (the atmosphere of the place where the meal is being held). Complement the attire or accessory of the lady seated opposite you.
● Talk about non-controversial topics. Talk about the weather or about the headlines of newspapers. Avoid talking about religion and politics, which tend to be divisive and could elicit heated discussions.
● Men enjoy talking about the business situation or about the stock market, and women about fashion.
● Talk about people who have done heroic deeds which has been published in the papers.
● Keep your mouth closed while chewing food. Don’t talk. Put your knife and fork on your plate while chewing your food.
● Do not overfill your mouth; moderate your intake. Eat at a relaxed pace and think about the food you are eating unless you are listening to someone talk.
● Avoid asking a question of someone who is chewing his food. Allow him to swallow his food first.
● Among Filipinos, accepting any offer of food or drink is always appreciated. Turning it down could make the host feel insulted. Among Americans, one can refuse specific food or drinks without offending the host.
● Always compliment the cook—no matter what you feel about the food. It is simply good manners to do so.
● It is important to remain for the period of social conversation at the end of a meal.