As a young adult, one should have some preliminary basic information as to with whom they will be dining. This information will help in deciding how to dress properly. Some dinners may require a predetermined dress code. Being in the appropriate attire will go a long way in expressing respect for the host and help create a perfect impression to those in attendance.
Once at the dining table, the first thing to do soon after sitting is unfold the napkin and place it properly to cover the lap. At a private dinner, wait for the host to do so and follow suit. This will help protect men's trousers and ladies' dresses from spills. It is also used to wipe off food from the corners of the mouth. When one wishes to be excused from the table to visit the restroom, take an important phone call or after finished eating, the napkin should be placed neatly to the left side of the plate.
Always wait for the others to be served before you start. Good posture during the entire meal should be maintained. One should not bend their face to the food but instead take the food to the face. For each course served, one should start with the utensil that is farthest from the plate and move inwards with every serving. Elbows should not be placed on the table. Instead, the idle hand should be placed on the lap. Control the pace of your eating so you don't finish before others.
When one wishes to indicate that they are finished, utensils should use the 4:20 position to communicate with the waiter or host. This involves putting the fork on the side close to you and the knife on the outer side with its edge facing the fork tongs.
Things to Avoid
Chewing should be done with the mouth closed and never talk with a mouthful of food. If something is not within personal reach, one should not try to reach it, instead ask the person clsest to pass it. When asked to pass food, it should be done from left to right.
One should not use the phone during dinner. When it is necessary to make a call, one should asked to be excused. If a lady excuses herself, the men seated with her should stand when she stands and stand again when she returns.
Table manners and etiquette for young adults is not hard to master, it simply takes training and practice.
Marcy Breault, "Etiquette Training Guru"