The UK’s Top Dinner Table Icks

Let’s face it, whether we want to admit it or not, we all have one or two bad habits when it comes to eating at the dinner table. Be it unintentionally talking with your mouth full or answering a phone call we know we shouldn’t, there are plenty of dinner table icks and turn-offs out there to be avoided.

And seen as Valentine’s Day and potential dinner dates are on the horizon, the team at Wren Kitchen’s thought it worth looking at just which dinner table icks in the UK are the biggest turn-offs.

To find out just what these are, we surveyed 1,000 Brits across the length and breadth of the country to see which icks, bad habits, and mannerisms are most distasteful. That way, you can make sure you’re not guilty of doing any of these the next time you’re sitting down for dinner.

The top dinner table icks to avoid

According to our survey data, it seems that well over two-thirds of Brits have some form of ick that irritates them when eating with others. In fact, 71% of those we surveyed said they regularly get annoyed with others at the dinner table. But just which icks are triggering people the most?

1. Chewing with your mouth open

Well, first and foremost, and perhaps to no one’s surprise, the number one ick we came across was loud chewing and people chewing with their mouths open. This was flagged by a full 60% of those we spoke to and it’s not hard to see why – simply put, no one wants to see or hear the contents of your mouth while you’re eating.

And this certainly seems to be backed up by other parts of our data, which suggests that loud chewing and chewing with your mouth open were the main sticking points for 66% of women and 54% of men, well over half for both genders!

2. Using phones at the table

However, bad chewing habits weren’t the only top turn-off to make the cut. Answering the phone while at the table was another unpopular habit, noted as an ick by 46% of those who responded, closely followed by texting at the table, which was highlighted by a further 44%.

While not nearly as disgusting as chewing with your mouth open, both of these turn-offs are certainly worth pointing out as they’re becoming more and more commonplace as people take their phones with them everywhere.

To put it bluntly, using your phone at the dinner table is just rude, and neither your family, your friends, or potential dates are going to be very impressed if you show more interest in your phone than those around you.

3. Pets and table manners

As for the rest of the top icks on our list, talking with your mouth full was another big no-no, pointed out by 47% of respondents, alongside blowing your nose (21%), and having pets at the table (18%).

Much like loud chewing, we certainly agree that you should avoid talking with your mouth full, when possible. A statement that seems to be shared by at least 50% of women we surveyed, and 40% of men.

However, it’s also interesting to note that, while women are more put off by things like eating with your mouth full, based on our survey results, men seem to be more bothered by niche habits, like people eating with their hands, being talked over in conversation, and stacking plates at the end of a meal.

Finally, we’d be missing a point if we didn’t also highlight that blowing your nose and having pets at the table are certainly opinionated icks rather than universal social rules. After all, if you need to blow your nose, you should blow it (politely), and who can really say no whenever their dog turns on the puppy dog eyes?

How often are icks brought up at the dinner table?

So, we know what the biggest icks Brits have at the dinner table are, but how often do we actually bring them up with friends and family? Are we honest enough to tell them when they’re eating habits annoy us?

Well, as it turns out, the old stereotype of Brits being too polite to confront someone over a bad habit is alive and well in the modern day.

As suggested by our survey, just 14% of those we spoke to said they’d bring such habits up in the hope that they might stop, while 20% said they wouldn’t because they’d feel rude doing so. Not only that, but a further 18% said they wouldn’t because it would probably make the meal feel too awkward afterwards – which may very well be true if done poorly.

And we get it, no one wants to feel like they’re being picked on during a meal for the way they eat. In many cases, these sorts of habits become engrained over a lifetime, and they’re not so easily broken. It’s also quite the social faux pas and will likely kill the mood of any dinner party you’re at.

Who is more likely to bring up an annoying habit?

Although most people seem unwilling to raise bad eating habits as a sticking point during meals, for those that do, it seems far more likely to be men than women.

At least 18% of women (compared to 17% of men) said they wouldn’t point out an eating ick because it might make things uncomfortable, while a further 24% of women (compared to 16% of men) said it would be rude to do so.

This is given further credence by the fact that our survey suggests around 11% of men would actually get up and leave if an ick annoyed them (compared to only 6% of women), and another 8% said they’d raise it in conversation because it was annoying them and others (compared to just 5% of women).

How to avoid icks at the dinner table

So, given that those points we’ve raised appear to be the biggest icks for Brits, how can you avoid making these same mistakes at the table? Or easing up to make them less of a sticking point for yourself?

Well, habits such as loud chewing, chewing with your mouth open, and talking with your mouth full, will require a bit of conscious effort on your part. Try to be more aware of how you eat and adjust to eating with your mouth closed or finishing food before you speak until it becomes habit. For example, this can be made much easier by taking smaller bites.

As for using your phone, if you’re having a family meal or you’re out on a date, either leave it in another room or turn it off entirely. That way, you won’t get distracted by incoming messages and alerts.

Finally, when it comes to the little icks, it’s often easier to let them slide than be annoyed by them. Things like people blowing their nose or wiping their mouth are arguably just as important table manners as proper eating etiquette. And can you honestly say you’d rather have someone sniffing at the table for an entire meal?

With those last few points out of the way, you now have a foolproof guide of what icks to avoid the next time you’re settling down for dinner. Of course, if you want to heighten your dinners even more, then you might want to consider investing in the Wren Kitchen’s range.

Whether you’re in need of a new oven or sparkling worktops, we’ve a huge selection of kitchen features to choose from. Book an appointment with our expert design team today to discuss bringing your dream kitchen to life.

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