Etiquette Tuesday: Butt Out

[ 0 ] June 28, 2011 |

Buck's Wood-Grilled Rack of Lamb

As much as I spend time socializing, you would think the community table would be my top choice in a restaurant.  It is actually my least favorite spot in the restaurant and I will tell you why in this week’s Etiquette Tuesday: the unsolicited restaurant guest.  A few weeks ago I visited Buck’s Fishing and Camping for a late dinner with a friend.  After realizing 9 pm was entirely too late to feed my body and the fact that the staff, though extremely nice, was understaffed for the evening, my mood changed from social butterfly to the near decrepit butterfly.  Once seated, I was only in the mood for a glass of something red, to order the heaviest thing on the menu to prep me for a good nights sleep and to chat it up with my solicited guest of the evening.  Unlucky for me, the restaurant seated us at the community table right beside the Man That Wanted to Talk (Too Much).

The man seated beside me and my guest decided he would join in on our entire conversation by first introducing himself and continuing this long rant before coming up for air.  I tried, my guest tried and we both tried again to break off the conversation every chance we got without being totally rude and saying what we really felt:  “Would you leave us alone?!?”.  Needless to say, we had almost finished our meals before he left with the conversation that devoured our entire dinner.  I had never felt so glad to see someone leave a restaurant in my life.

Buck's Pan-Cooked Softshell Crab

The moral of the story here is: know when to stay out or butt in.  Some people look for this type of company at restaurants, community tables and the like.  On the other hand, there are those of us (*me) that really want to enjoy the company of the person I came with/met up with at the restaurant or if I am alone, I really want to be alone.  Know your boundaries and an easy way to feel this out is to make the first gesture and see how responsive the other party is to your invitation to be social.  If they do not reciprocate with another conversation starter or a continuation of the one that you have started, then let this be a big clue to: Butt Out!

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Category: Etiquette Tuesday

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Washington, DC and North Carolina. All three places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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