Sharing food is a social activity that brings people together, but the way we eat can be an obstacle to making connections. Last night in group we discussed hidden food rules (also known as manners). We had a great discussion about how food is an important part of any social gathering (think meeting for coffee and all of the meals associated with holidays), but once we get together over a meal, the eating should be less distracting than the conversation. Here are a few of the hidden food rules we identified:
1. Chew with mouth closed; talk with an empty mouth (this involves carefully following the rhythm of the conversation to know when to take a bite of food and when to wait.)
2. Ask for things you need to be passed. This becomes a chance to make eye contact and contact with people in the conversation who you might not have connected with.
3. Use utensils as expected. Unexpected behaviors like eating with hands becomes distracting to conversation and be isolating.
4. Prioritize conversation. Remember why you are there, and prioritize talking over eating.