Splitting dessert...all mine...just a little taste...germs are gross...sneaking a bite...
Whether you like to sample freely from the table or guard with fork and knife, here are some thoughts on food-sharing etiquette:
Eating is nearly always a social activity on some level. It's one of the ways we get to know each other, find common ground, and form relationships.
But it's also a way to test boundaries!
As we look back on our own sharing and guarding tactics, these were a few patterns we noticed:
1. Don't snag food from the plate of someone you don't know.
2. Ask before helping yourself.
3. It's ok to say 'no' when someone asks for a bite.
4. Respect other people's boundaries (and resist sneaking that french fry when they're not looking!)
5. If you're looking to sample someone else's plate, be willing to share your own.
As an offensive strategy, you can establish beforehand whether you're willing to share something or not. This avoids an awkward social moment later in the meal.
If you're willing to share but are concerned about germs, put a small portion on a side plate for folks who want a taste and let them use their own cutlery.
What are your rules for sharing food?
Related: Is Talking About Food at the Table Polite?
(Image: Flickr member gemsling licensed under Creative Commons)