How Not To Be A Jerk At A Restaurant

Photographed by Eva K Salvi.
Whether you're brunching or, uh, dinnering, etiquette is of the utmost importance when dining out. And no, we don't mean keeping your elbows off the table, or chewing with your mouth closed (although, please do those things). In layman's terms, it's really important not to be an asshole when you go to a restaurant, okay? And if we're being totally honest, sometimes we are jerks without even noticing it.

To help clarify what's kosher and what's verboten, we've assembled a how-to guide that tells it like it is. Take a peek and let us know your top tips in the comments.
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Don't Be A Reservation Dictator
First things first: Choose a spot and stick with it! Be open to other people's suggestions, consult Instagram and your apps, and get excited. Okay, so it's empty. Could be a late crowd. The host was gruff? Could be a rough night. (That said, having a Plan B never hurt anybody.)
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Don't Send Food Back Multiple Times
Take it from a tried-and-true jerk who likes his steak medium (not medium rare), sending your food back once is a bold move that won't make you any friends. Doing it more than once kills an entire pod of dolphins.
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Don't Order A Ton Extra & Pretend You Didn't
If you've ordered notably more than the rest of the table — especially when it comes to drinks — be a grown-up and say you'll chip in additional cash for it. Not everyone can or wants to be a high roller, and it's impolite to make others ask you to get your shit together.
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Don't Be A Grinch
Practically everywhere is shared plates now, anyway.
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Don't Play With Your Food
This one is pretty obvious and applies to Snapchat and Instagram as much as #IRL fiddling. At any rate, rearranging half a restaurant to get your 'gram is so 2014.
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Don't Point Out How Long Someone Spends In The Bathroom
Not everybody has a stomach of steel. If your dining buddy had to "step away" from the table for an entire course, she was probably just looking for her contact, okay?
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Don't Knock Dessert Until You Try It
Dessert is a legit food group, you demon.
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Don't Ask The Waiter To Split The Check 1,000 Ways
Two is fine, right down the middle. Great. Three is pushing it and four is borderline absurd. You guys know about Venmo, right?
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Don't Forget To Tip Well (In Currency)
Leaving a smiley face on your receipt doesn't do the service industry any favors. Tipping 20% is standard, and a little extra (especially if you've just split the bill four ways) couldn't hurt.
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Don't Overstay Your Welcome
I have a tendency to take my sweet time when dining out, obviously because I've cultivated a European flair. Other people don't necessarily see it that way. They think I'm an asshole whose two-hour meal turned into a three-hour meal thanks to one damn glass of water. Don't be me.
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