Times may have changed, but courtesy never goes out of style. In today's world sometimes it's complicated to figure out how to do the right thing. Local etiquette expert Karen Hickman answers your questions or helps solve your dilemmas on Fridays in The News-Sentinel and at news-sentinel.com.
Q. Karen, when I am invited out to eat by others and they are paying, I am always a little unsure as to what I should order. What do you recommend when someone else is picking up the tab?
A. As a general rule, I recommend that you choose something that is in the middle pricewise. Ordering the most expensive item on the menu can be perceived as taking advantage of your host. However, if you are being asked out for an evening meal, ordering just a small salad, when your host plans to treat you to a full meal, may seem ungracious, too.
The host at any meal orders after their guests, regardless of gender. So it can be helpful if the host offers some suggestions as to what might be good on the menu or lets guests know what he or she plans to order. This can help the guest know how many courses to choose and what price range to stay within. And if a guest does order multiple courses, a host should follow suit ordering a similar number of courses so the guest does not feel awkward. Also, this helps with the timing of a meal, allowing everyone to start and finish together. And that is ideal.