Top Ten Things Not to do At The Dining Room Table

Dining room table

The inspiration for this list came from the just completed Thanksgiving feast. I was very observant and did not see any of these things at our dining room table. I hope you enjoy the list.

10 At the dining room table, do not burp out loud. If you do at best, you can recover with an “excuse me.” At worst, all the relatives will now have verified evidence that you are an animal. (They long suspected it was true and you just gave them confirmation, Ferd)

9 At the dining room table, do not help yourself to food from someone else’s plate. If you do, at best you’ll be told to stop. At worst, your cousin Tiny, the WWF champ, will demonstrate a new hold. (Quit whining. That hand will be okay once you get a cast, Bunky)

8 At the dining room table, do not chew your food with your mouth open. If you do, at best you will gross out your family. At worst, grandma will take the opportunity to lecture everyone on proper manners. (Nothing like a two-hour tutorial on chewing with your mouth closed to put everyone on edge)

7 At the dining room table, do not assume your hostess meant for you to eat the fruit and nasturtiums out of the centerpiece. If you do, at best you will be thought of as odd. At worst, your hostess will calmly advise everyone that the centerpiece is to be donated to the local old folks home and she would appreciate it if there was something left to give. (Your face and the red table runner are the same color, huh Wheezer)

6 At the dining room table, do not talk about sex, politics, or religion. If you do, at best no one will follow suit. At worst, you will be the root cause of a donnybrook that does not have a good ending. (Those police officers are here to escort you to the station, Bud. It seems your brother-in-law didn’t take kindly to the wine bottle bonk.)

5 At the dining room table, do not insist on rolling in the TV to watch football. If you do, at best this will be your last invitation to dinner. At worst, your table mates will shout to each other above the noise of the game, and it won’t be worth the hassle. (Did you ever think you should be on a deserted island, Buster?)

4 At the dining room table, do not text or otherwise use your phone. If you do, at best your family’s looks should make you stop. At worst, someone will finally pluck the phone from your hand. (If you’re lucky they won’t dump it in the gravy bowl)

3 At the dining room table, do not make any Earth-shattering announcements. If you do, at best the long silence will be a killer. At worst, everyone will be thrown into disarray and will surely be sorry for whatever they said in reaction later. (Surely you could have waited to announce you were running away to join the circus, Chum)

2 At the dining room table, do not do your best imitation of a strong silent type. If you do, at best the conversation will be on everything but your interests. At worst, your table mates will believe something is bothering you and won’t let it rest until you come clean. (They were sure surprised to learn that  what they see is what they get )

1 At the dining room table, do not think you need to race everyone to the finish. If you do, at best you’ll be waiting a long time for others to finish. At worst, the general impression will be that you haven’t had a good meal for a while. (That sure flies in te face of all that success bragging you were doing before dinner, huh Bruce?)


  1. Hilarious, John. Anyone stupid enough to take food from Tiny’s plate deserves a broken hand. I thought perhaps you would say the fruit in the centerpiece was wax and someone got a mouth full of it. 😀 — Suzanne

    1. Thant would be a good one. I remember staying at a hotel and I arrived in the wee hours of the morning. There was a bowl of apples in the lobby. I grabbed one since I hadn’t had any dinner only to find it was wax. I didn’t bite it but came close. Thanks, Suzanne. 🙂

  2. Gwen Plano · ·

    Maybe not seen, but who can’t relate to these Top Ten don’ts. Well done, John, humorous as always.

    1. Thank you , Gwen. Happy you liked it. 🙂

  3. This was hilarious, John! Definitely one of my top favorites. Number seven…LOL!

    1. Thanks, Gwen. Glad you liked it. 🙂

    2. Thank you, Jill. I think I may have answered Gwen on yours. I do apologize. Too early. Glad you liked it. 😀

  4. Kudos to using the word ‘donnybrook’. #3 could be used to stop #6. Ends the conversation or at least diverts it. Not sure about #1 though. For big, holiday meals, I can see this. Everyday family stuff was a race to get back to my room some days. 🙂

    1. Ha ha ha. I can see the gobble factor when there is writing to do. Thanks, Charles.

      1. This was back in high school. More that I didn’t want to get grilled about my day and a video game was paused upstairs.

      2. Good reason to flee. 🙂

      3. Yup. Mario won’t toss himself into that bottomless pit.

      4. I have the classic Nintendo player with Mario

      5. We have that somewhere around here, but no way to set it up. For some reason, my wife has Super Mario Bros 3, but not the original.

  5. Marvelous Monday list, John. I love the dining room photo, it’s gorgeous.
    I think “donnybrook” will be my word of the day. Maybe that will spur me to write. If not I guess i could just start a donnybrook. (I’m just kidding, security investigators!) With the latest change they made at work (not at all in line with policy or practice) it would certainly be easy to do! Mega hugs

    1. Thanks, Teagan. Donnybrook is the way to go sometimes. In conjunction with coconut cream pies for throwing it is very relaxing. You remember Donnybrook Farm right? 😀

      1. No… I probably remember it but just don’t recognize the name.
        They had a “pie the CIO” day last year. Pay $10 (maybe it was $20) to throw a creamy pie at him. They could have made so much more money if they had a rotten vegetable option… I can’t imagine why they didn’t think of it.

      2. Ha ha ha. You kill me. Hugs. 😀

  6. At least show some respect: “excuse me Tiny, are you planning to finish that?” The worst I ever witnessed was a fight over a drumstick that ended with the winner taking a few small bites and announcing “oh, I’m full” – We needed Tiny that day.

    Another great list, John

    1. We have had some wishbone disputes but that’s about all. Thanks, Dan. 😀

  7. Great list, John! I wonder how many families have to deal with #4? When I was a kid, the worst was trying not to burp 😉

    1. We have a law about cell phones. You are not allowed to look at your Apple watch either. (You get razzed). I remember the burping challenge. Thanks, Marie. BTW I put you on my newsletter list.

      1. Awesome about the newsletter! I wish parents could be and would be more strict about their children’s cell phone use. My mom said the other day that she didn’t really know her great-grandchildren because they are always on their cell phones. How sad! The thing is, my mom is still pretty sharp for 93. What a loss for those kids that they (and their parents) are not taking the opportunity to enjoy her while she’s still with us.

      2. Amen to that, Marie. My own grandkids are like to some degree.

  8. Yeah, like thanks for posting this AFTER Thanksgiving. You could have saved me some embarrassment…and the bill for removing the fork from my forearm.

    1. Post it on the refrigerator for next year. (also, no handguns at the table)

  9. Great list, John. So much “meat” to bite into here! Nothing like #6, especially if you’re at the in-laws’ house and you don’t know them very well. And using cell phones at meals is a particular aggravation in my book. Hope your turkey dinner managed to avoid most of these types!

    1. Yes we were all well behaved. Thanks, Debbie.

  10. Oh yuck! Just learned what a slob I am. Despite my mother’s attempt to teach me some manners. I think I’m guilty of all of those at some point or another, except the T.V./football thing. (JK, I’m not really that bad anymore.) My children actually thanked me for teaching them table manners after they went off to college and saw how their friends ate and behaved at the table.

    1. I’m sure they appreciated your help. Thanks, Susan.

  11. Haha. Good to know your friends and relations are well behaved and played nice around the Thanksgiving table. 🙂

    1. Yes they did. I’ll say the pistol in plain sight didn’t hurt in the decorum department.

  12. Hi, I’m Craig, and I suffer from #2.

    1. Hi Craig. Tell us how long it’s been since your last silent spell.

      1. Come on. We are all friends here.

      2. Okay, I’m back drinking the last pumpkin beer and relaxing.

  13. Great list, John. #6 was high on the list this year, given all of the latest contention regarding one of those. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    1. Yes those are three meaty subjects for sure. Had a great T day. Hope you did as well.

  14. I just witnessed too many of these to count.

    1. I know right? Ha ha ha.:-D

  15. Nothing about being careful not to tuck the table cloth into the top of your trousers, thinking it’s the napkin, and then getting up and walking off taking everything with you? 😀 No, it’s never happened to me, John, but I’ve witnessed it happening.

    1. Love it Hugh. Many glasses of wine needed for that to happen. 😀

      1. Indeed, John. It was quite funny, but not for the host. 😇

      2. Ha ha ha. I can imagine. Let’s see, Irish Linen table cloth covered in Claret and dark brown gravy.

      3. With cranberry sauce and blueberry juice from one of the non-drinkers.

      4. Not to mention the chocolate pudding.

  16. Sorry, I’m late! Another hilarious list! I enjoyed this one immensely!

    1. I think you may be overworked right now. No need to apologize. Thanks, John. 🙂

      1. Thank you… I may just sleep through the weekend! LOL!

  17. #4 happens whether it’s a holiday or not. We have a phone basket now. Two teenagers in the house will require such decisions.

    1. So true. Phone basket is a great idea. 🙂

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