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Top Six Most Irritating Things People Do in Restaurants

Audrey's desire to help others respect and understand human behavior led her to study psychology at UCLA.


Must You Do This When I'm Eating?

It had been a long, busy day without time to eat, so I decided to treat myself to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. Hungry doesn't even describe my eagerness to sink my teeth into a mouthwatering meal. As I enter the foyer, a sweet voice rings out, "Table for one?" "Yes, I reply," almost drooling on myself.

The familiar red, shiny booth is a welcome sight, and it only takes a minute for me to settle in and grab a menu. Appetizing aromas make their way from the kitchen, pouncing on my tiny taste buds salivating in unison. I make my selection quickly."I'll have the Salmon Special with endless fries, and a side salad." The amiable server, Bob, responds, "You got it." I settled back in the generously cushioned booth and felt relieved. This has been easy. This is good. Very good. Or is it?

Time passed quickly, and in no time my happy server appeared with my order. Hallelujah! But, just as I'm about to dig in and take my first bite of food...

1. Blowing Your Nose in Public

Just as I was about to enjoy my meal, Mr. Nasty, sitting in the connected booth, decides to blow his nose repeatedly, getting louder each time. I try to ignore the disgusting sounds, but I am about to lose my appetite. My dinner has been ruined, and so has the entire evening. I drive home and make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

This may not seem so bad to you, but frankly, this experience turns my stomach. And I guess I'm not alone because blowing your nose in public is among the top six most irritating annoyances. Good grief, Mr. Nasty, next time take yourself and your runny nose outside or to the restroom. And remember to wash your hands.

Now that this irritating habit has been addressed, here are five more top-rated annoyances that may be on your list.

2. Speaking Too Loudly

Is speaking loudly in public a nuisance or is it an individual's right? The majority of people agree that it's impolite and a disturbance. However, it is one's right. Most of the time, folks get carried away and excited not realizing they are causing a disturbance. Come to think of it, I would have to plead guilty on an occasion or two.

Many a dinner has been ruined by some loudmouth. Not everyone is interested in your political views or what your aunt Betty did last week. It's courteous to keep your conversation to a moderate or quiet tone.

Surveys have been done to find out what people think about loud talking in public. The results show that a whopping 82% think it's a public nuisance, whereas only 18% say it's an individual's right.

What are your thoughts about this?

3. Picking Your Nose

Picking your nose can really turn a person off. It's not only a dirty habit, but no one wants to be exposed to what comes out of those nostrils. It's just as easy to step into a private place like the restroom and grab a tissue.

It is not okay to pick your nose in public. Most adults that have this behavior were not taught early in childhood that this is a no-no. This habit is unhygienic because your finger has lots of bacteria and other foreign matter that should stay in the nose. And remember that you are spreading your own bacteria and germs to everything you touch.


Keep your food to yourself, please!

Keep your food to yourself, please!

4. Eating With Your Mouth Open

This is just plain gross. Eating with your mouth full of food, exposed to all, is disgusting to most people. There is no reason to eat with your mouth open unless you take huge bites of food. And this shouldn't be done in the first case.

A person who chews with their mouth open, or even partially open, is not allowing much of the air from within the mouth to be pushed up into the nasal area and are weakening the smell created to build taste. And here's another thought that may be new to you:

Fair View Foody states: People who eat with their mouth closed and chew slowly are giving themselves the treat of more flavor from their food. Food becomes more satisfying! Slow, closed-mouth chewing may also help a person eat less as one reason people eat is for flavor enjoyment. If your food is satisfying (full of flavor), you may eat less as you are not searching for flavor. No matter what the reason, try chewing slowly and with your mouth completely closed.

So, there you have it. Straight from the horse's mouth.

5. Being Glued to Your Phone

Your cell phone has become an essential accessory but the diner isn't the place for your phone. If you're having dinner with another person and you're using your phone, the message you're sending is the other person is more important. This is rude. And this goes for texting too.

Please, put your cell phone away during dining. This should be a pleasant, relaxing experience. Don't spend the entire meal on the phone. Those texts and emails can wait until you get home.

Be present with the people you are with.

Be considerate of others. If you're not feeling well, stay home where you belong.

Be considerate of others. If you're not feeling well, stay home where you belong.

6. Dining Out When You're Sick

This should be obvious. Please keep your germs to yourself. WebMD reminds us that the mixing of hands and sharing of items create a hotbed for all germs, including the coronavirus. Two people reaching for the same nacho at the same time makes it too easy to touch hands, and communal bowls of salsa can wind up with surface contamination.

The best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus or any germs is to properly and regularly wash your hands. When you’re done with your meal, and when you get home, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

And remember to wipe down your cell phone often. Make this a practice, especially when you're sick.

"Good manners sometimes means putting up with other people's bad manners."

— H. Jackson Brown

Good Manners Gives You an Advantage in Life

I grew up in a time where good manners were a requirement—not a choice. I thank my parents for teaching me the basics. "Please, thank you, may I, yes ma'am, no sir," were combined with no talking back to adults and respecting your elders. We kids ate what was served, or we went without.

Courteous behavior is not rocket science. Google provides endless help for anyone in distress when it comes to behaving appropriately in public. And don't forget that good manners indicate a person's character. Good manners show the best that you have to offer.


A Bit of Humor

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Audrey Hunt


Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 10, 2021:


Yes, I learned good manners at a young age. I'm grateful to have been taught to be considerate of others. Thank you.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2021:

Good manners are welcomed whether in restaurants, other public places, or at home. Most of them are taught at home if one has good parents.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 08, 2021:

Dear Brenda,

You are an exception and I thank you for bringing this up. Perhaps I should mention allergies, like this. I don't want to offend anyone. Thanks for sharing this useful information.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 08, 2021:

Liz, thank you for reading my article. I appreciate your feedback. Take care.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 08, 2021:

Hi Linda

Thanks for sharing your annoyances. Glad I have company with people I admire, like you. I rarely eat out. I enjoy eating at home, especially when I make something from one of your delicious recipes.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 08, 2021:


I admire you for having the courage to direct your one-time boyfriend, John to use good manners. Do some people just not think about how they come across to others? I don't get it.

I agree with you on the food smacking. Drives me up the wall!

And thank you for joining me in my venting! I feel better too.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on May 04, 2021:


It is so true that people need to have good manners.

But if we ever meet, please don't dine with me.

Not that I wouldn't want too...it would be amazing, until I sneezed.

You see, I cannot eat without sneezing & or blowing my nose.

I used to be told it was an allergic reaction to other people ..such as perfume & colgne, etc.

But it also happens when I am home. So much for their Theory.

It does me no good to go to the restroom, because I will do it again in a few moments.

I don't want to spend all day in there while my meal gets cold.

But if I'm sick...i won't be in there.

Sorry...but this is one thing I cannot help. Maybe there are others out there too.

Trust me when I say...I am very polite and have manners, but this I cannot control.

Loved the article though.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 04, 2021:


You're excused. I hope you and Bev are having a marvelous vacation and the dogs are being spoiled rotten.

Thanks again, for your invaluable instruction, as I stumbled my way through my book.



Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 04, 2021:


I'm with you. My parents taught me to respect others beginning with good table manners. They have been part of who I am. Thanks, my friend.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 04, 2021:


Irritating habits like these are worldwide. I have come to appreciate good manners, especially when in public. I'm happy to see you here and to read your helpful comments. Thank you.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 04, 2021:


Good manners begin in the home. Believe me, there are people out there that are unaware of their behavior. It's almost embarrassing. Thank you.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 04, 2021:


Thanks for liking this article and the tips outlined. Take care.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 04, 2021:


Yes, it's impossible to correct someone's behavior in public, or otherwise. This makes it all the more frustrating. Thank goodness, I eat mostly at home. Thank you.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 04, 2021:

Hi John

I agree with loud talking when I'm trying to enjoy a meal. And using the cell phone - rude! Thanks for your comments.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 04, 2021:

Hi Charlene

Good manners are hard to come by. Even people who may not know any better still put me over the edge. I'm grateful to have been taught good manners as a child. Thanks.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 04, 2021:


The frustation is in not being able to say anything to those displaying rudeness. Especially in these times we must be extra cautious. Thank you.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 04, 2021:

You have come up with a comprehensive list of restaurant irritations in this well-compiled article.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 04, 2021:

Audrey, I left a rather lengthy comment here this afternoon, but I don't see it. Bummer. :0(

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 04, 2021:

Ohmygoodness, you nailed it with this one. The loud talking and people using their cell phones go hand-in-hand, don't you think? Loud chewing, gulping, and slurping are pretty high on my list too.

However, the last time I ate out was January 25, 2020; I would think that many of us have been eating "in" for quite some time--I hope we haven't picked up too many bad habits.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 04, 2021:

Audrey, you're a woman after my own heart! I, too, was raised with proper table manners and I thank my parents for that. I wish all kids were raised by The Amy Vanderbilt way!

With regard to blowing your nose at the table, I have a story to share. Many years ago, on a first or second date, my boyfriend at the time took me out for breakfast. While we were waiting for our meal, he whips out a handkerchief and blew his nose! At the table! I was absolutely appalled. Then we we at a dinner party (by this time I knew him a bit better) and he did the same damn thing with about eight of us sitting at the table! At this point, I couldn't help myself. I said, "John please excuse yourself to the bathroom if you need to blow your nose. Blowing it at the table is not only rude, it's disgusting!" Several others chimed in with their expressions of distaste as well.

I won't even go into the nose picking. There's no way that can be justified.

Chewing with your mouth open. Who the hell want to see your chewed up food!" Another thing that annoys the hell out of me is smacking. Please, keep your lips firmly planted until your food has been properly chewed and swallowed!

One more thing that annoys me is people who slouch their forearms all over the table while they're eating. No elbows on the table, let alone an entire forearm! The hand that's not being used should be placed in your lap. Period.

Thanks for this rant, Audrey. I feel so much better now!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 04, 2021:

I'm leaving on vacation, so I'm not going to read this right now. Have a fabulous week, my friend, and thank you for your friendship.



Lorna Lamon on May 04, 2021:

There are some bad habits that we can overlook, however, we are on the same page with this list. I remember my parents being quite strict about table manners and in particular if we went out for a meal. I think this is why I notice the lack of manners these days. Thank you for sharing Audrey.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 04, 2021:

Hi Audrey!

Very well explained article, about the most irritating habits of people in restaurants. Even otherwise, such bad habits should be avoided, wherever they are. Not good manners, not good for health too.

I am glad that you mentioned about the use of mobile phones and texting.

Thank you for sharing this important information.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 04, 2021:

Dear Audry, I could not agree with you more. This is a very good article, and I think most of us would agree with your sentiments about proper behavior in a restaurant. I was raised like you were. Good manners were expected.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on May 04, 2021:

Good tips. Well presented.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 04, 2021:

Thank you for addressing these bad habits. We are not always mindful of our behavior, though we should be, since we can ruin other people's meal, good time, or even more important experience. And it's difficult to correct offenders while they are engaging in these behaviors. Thank you.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 04, 2021:

Sorry, your dining experienced was spoiled, Audrey. I really dislike loud raucous talking in a place like a restaurant, and nothing is ruder than being glued to a phone while sharing a meal with someone. Nice write.

Charlene Gallant from Cape Town, South Africa on May 04, 2021:

O My Gosh! I agree with these 100%...Hate eating out and having to deal with any of these however I have been guilty of talking a bit loud on occasion. Thankfully, I'm usually with people who tell me to speak softer LOL. Great article Audrey:)

Kalpana Iyer from India on May 04, 2021:

Well articulated! We go to a restaurant, cinema to have a relaxing, pleasant experience. But some people just seem to be hell bent on ruining it.

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