Courteous Company: Waiting for others to finish eating

by Daniel Post Senning on June 5, 2013

Q: Is it polite to wait until everyone has finished eating before leaving the table? (e.g., is it impolite to leave someone alone eating at the table?)

A: Sometimes a person needs to leave the table briefly for a visit to the restroom, etc. In those cases, it is appropriate to say “Excuse me” and leave the table, and then return. If a person finishes eating, it’s thoughtful to remain seated at the table and keep the conversation going until everyone has completed the meal.

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Jody June 5, 2013 at 9:43 am

I think it depends on the meal setting. For a family meal, a banquet-type meal, or a group at a restaurant, I agree with the EPI advice. If it’s something like a potluck, where large tables are set out for people to share, I think it’s perfectly fine to leave the table when you’re finished even if others aren’t (if you’re with somebody, though, you should wait until that person is finished).

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