Help with table manners of a friend

by Splattered

Dear Ms. P Manners,

I desperately need your advice. I met a guy a few weeks ago who I really like. But a suddenly have a problem. This past week was the first time we went to dinner, and I felt like I got caught in the middle of a meteor shower. How do I gently tell him about this problem and get him to change his behaviour (speaking while eating)? I really like him and he has a lot going for him, BUT I don't think I can handle this.


Splattered in Spokane

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I feel your pain ...
by: Miss P Manners

Dear Splattered in Spokane~

I feel your pain. This is not an uncommon problem but it is one without a simple solution.

Being straight forward and honest with a request for cease and desist is quick but not advisable. Talking while chewing is a sign that your friend lacks awareness of the feelings of others. If he cannot see his part, any request will be viewed an unwarranted criticism. While this is revealing of his character, it may not be the answer. Perhaps making a joke of it would be your best avenue, using his response as a measure of your budding relationship. Ducking when the food flies while announcing "incoming!" may get his attention. Wiping his spray off the table or your clothes while thanking him for sharing his food with you is another suggestion.

Whatever you do, use his response as writing on the wall. If this is disgusting to you now at the start of your relationship, imagine what it will be like down the road. And remember, we cannot change anyone else. We only have control over our own behavior. I always say, observe how a person behaves and believe what you see, not what you hear. Watch and learn.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

Miss Practical Manners

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