How do I tell someone they need to improve their table manners?

posted 3 years ago in Career
Post # 61
Member
864 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

AB Bride :  Don’t you feel like it’s a basic life skill though?  Not eating like an animal?  What if were another issue mentioned above like not showering – would you send him to a showering training?

Post # 62
Member
1505 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

fredthebasil :  You said it more abrasively than I would have, but I agree with you.

DEFINITELY also rolled my eyes at the concern of “emasculating” him.  Lol really?  Should he also feel emasculated that he’s a MAN reporting to *gasp* a WOMAN?  And she dares tell him what to do?  Oh my word…OK sarcasm off but seriously he’s not being emasculated, he’s a direct-report being MANAGED by his MANAGER.   

cbgg :  OP I would so not try to beat around the bush with this. Rip off the bandaid.  Straight and to the point: “Yesterday when we were at lunch you were [doing X].  It would look more professional if you [do Y].”  Five seconds.  Done. 

The suggestions to do an office-wide thing or to go roundabout with insincere compliments to make a “sandwich” or to look for video and article to send to him are sooooo passive-aggressive and very likely to be ineffective.  Newsflash, in an office-wide memo, the person you’re actually talking about NEVER thinks you’re talking about them.  Whereas others will be made self-conscious or embarrassed for no reason.  

I come from a different culture and even after more than 2 decades in the U.S., I’m still prone to little faux-pas and etiquette foibles now and then.  I remember when I first came here though, I had a heck of a time figuring out which foods you would eat with knife/fork and which foods are finger foods.  Like, I would get made fun of for not cutting up broccoli, and then made of fun of when I try to cut up a pizza with broccoli as a topping.  

I would appreciate it if someone pointed out to me simply and directly, as if it’s not a big deal (which it’s not! But still information I would WANT to have).

Post # 63
Member
10651 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

fredthebasil :  When it’s a skill and there are training options they should be utilized if someone doesn’t have that skill.

When showering was mentioned, it wasn’t that the person didn’t know how, it was that they just weren’t doing it.  Handwashing is also a basic life skill – it’s something that is still taught in certain industries.

It doesn’t helpful to criticize someone about something if they are unable to fix it.

Post # 64
Member
1191 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2021 - City, State

cbgg :  no I don’t, it’s not an all important skill, he manages to eat and isn’t stabbing folk or throwing food. 

 

Post # 65
Member
893 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

Are you his parent?

If not, it isn’t your place.

Post # 66
Member
864 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

AB Bride :  I don’t know that there is actually a training for “cut up your food instead of shoving it in your mouth whole.”  And I don’t know that we know he literally doesn’t know HOW to cut his food – maybe he’s just choosing not to out of laziness or something?

I don’t think your handwashing example is a good corollary – surgeons/scientists/etc. are taught a certain way of handwashing because it’s very different from the normal “life skill” handwashing that you learn at home and that gets reinforced in kindergarten.  The life skill is to use soap and warm water and rub your hands together for 30 seconds or so.  The “I’m a surgeon” skill goes way beyond that because normal people aren’t cutting other people open with their hands.

There is no reason he shouldn’t be able to fix this.  It’s not like “I noticed you weren’t crocheting at your desk and I find that unacceptable.  Please being crocheting immediately.”  Well, I wouldn’t be able to fix that immediately or maybe ever.  But this is not a skill that needs teaching if you’re an adult.  Just stop being gross while you’re eating is an easy rule to comply with.

Post # 67
Member
864 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

kipper88 :  She’s his boss, and it’s a work event on company time, so it actually IS her place.  When he’s at home he can do whatever his mom lets him get away with.

Post # 69
Member
10651 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

fredthebasil :  With handwashing I am referring to the basic good handwashing that takes 30 seconds.  Not scrubbing in.  It’s taught.  I’m been through about 10 different training sessions as an adult.

Post # 70
Member
893 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

fredthebasil :  Sorry but no.  Your bosses don’t get to tell you how to eat.

Post # 71
Member
2146 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

I havent read the responses but I want to say this is very ignorant on your part, I have a disability and CANT use a knife (probably the same as your college) along with many other fine motor skills its something I dispise being jumped on by privalaged people who have no clue what its like to have an invisable disability… you never have any right to judge someone else for stuff you dont understand and to personally question them or their lifestyle/coping abilities.

honestly if you attacked me on a personal level like that during a proffesional meeting I would report you to the equality officer and the higher ups and theres a good chance it would damage YOUR career so you might want to think twice

sexual harrasment, racism, sexism and disablism have no place in the work force so bare in mind not every one is a lucky in life as you

Post # 72
Member
1104 posts
Bumble bee

kipper88 :  I’m just curious, why do you feel that way? Professionalism is important, and if part of your job is having lunches or attending dinners with clients…why would you not be held to a high level of professionalism? 

Post # 74
Member
364 posts
Helper bee

I worked in an office with nearly the same number of ppl and all of these types of things (how to dress, social client interactions, etiquette) had presentations at orientation and happened almost yearly for continuing staff. Sometimes teams would have presentations tailored to specific clients or issues (like etiquette of interacting w clients from other cultures, special protocol and talking point for very money-sensitive clients, etc.), so I didn’t think that the suggestion of an office-wide training or PowerPoint or memo were that big of a deal. If these sessions were happening semi-regularly already, maybe this wouldn’t have come up.

Post # 75
Member
1104 posts
Bumble bee

btob17 :  I think this is a bit harsh to OP and other posters. 

I also have a physical disability that’s not immediately obvious, and there have been multiple occasions where I’ve been questioned on things outside of my control. I get that it’s uncomfortable and it sucks to have to go through your medical history with someone, but it seems unfair to judge people because they don’t know your entire life story. Everyone has privilege in some ways, including people with disabilities, and everyone also has blind spots.

I once had a boss pull me aside and comment that I wasn’t being a team player during a group exercise, I explained that I sat out on a few things because of my disability. It wasn’t a fun conversation, I hate having to explain myself, but after that it was a nonissue. My boss understood, and I understand how it looked, IMO it’s unreasonable to think everyone will be innately understanding and aware of every possible disability. I would go to HR if it was straight up harrassment or discrimination (I did have to do that once), but not for an honest mistake. As I was explaining my situation to my boss he was turning beet red, I could tell he felt awful. 

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