Homes

10 things you should never do at a dinner party, according to etiquette experts

It's not as easy as just turning up with a bottle of wine.

Based on 26 years of experience, author and longtime butler Charles MacPherson dishes the dirt in his book The Pocket Butler: A Compact Guide to Modern Manners, Business Etiquette and Everyday Entertaining.

Here are his top 10 tips for what NOT to do at your next dinner party.

1.Don't overreact if you spill something
Yes, making an accidental mess is embarrassing, but try not to make a scene. Discreetly clean up the spill, apologise to the host and simply ask if there are any extra paper towels. If you've managed to spill your drink on someone else, don't attack them - offer them your napkin and let them wipe themselves off.

2.Don't use the table to rest your elbows
Dinner tables should be a no resting zone. "Keep [your elbows] tucked into your body, especially when lifting food into your mouth," MacPherson advises.

3.Don't wear your napkin as a bib
Just don't. Leave it in your lap.

4.Don't hover over your plate
Rather than leaning over your dinner and shoveling food into you mouth, sit up straight and take your fork to your mouth!

5.Don't talk with your hands while holding cutlery
If you like to gesture, put your knife and fork down before launching into your latest exciting story.

6.Don't turn your nose up at what's on your plate
If you don't like what you've been served, at least try a little, MacPherson says you don't have to finish it, and then fill up on water until dessert arrives.

7.Don't talk with your mouth full
Enough said, really.

8.Don't reach over the table for salt
A simple question of the person next to you is much less intrusive than an arm in the face.

9.Don't leave your napkin on the chair after dinner
The best place is on your plate.

10.Don't try and blow your nose at the table
It's never as discrete as you think it's going to be, so excuse yourself and find the nearest bathroom.