Meeting and Greeting
- The handshake is the common form of greeting.
- Avoid prolonged eye contact as it makes people feel uncomfortable.
Gift Giving Etiquette
- The British exchange gifts between family members and close friends for birthdays and Christmas.
- The gift needs not be expensive, but it should usually demonstrate an attempt to find something that related to the recipient’s interests.
- If invited to someone’s home, it is normal to take along a box of good chocolates, a good bottle of wine or flowers.
- Gifts are opened when received.
- Unlike other Europeans, the British enjoy entertaining people at their homes.
- Although the British value punctuality, you may arrive 10-15 minutes later than invited to dinner. However, if it is at a restaurant, be on time !
- Table manners are continental, i.e. the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
- The fork is held tines down so food is scooped on to the back of the fork. This is a skill that takes time to master.
- Remain standing until invited to sit down. You may be shown to a particular seat.
- Do not rest your elbows on the table.
- If you have not finished eating, cross your knife and fork on your plate with the fork over the knife.
- Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel across the right side of your plate.
- Toasts are given at formal meals.
- When in a pub, it is common practice to pay for a round of drinks for everyone in your group.
- If invited to a meal at a restaurant, the person extending the invitation usually pays. Do not argue about the check; simply reciprocate at a later time.