Manners Matter: Don’t Blow Your Nose at the Dinner Table!

Dear Mary Pat,

Is it acceptable to blow your nose while sitting at the dinner table? We were having a family dinner and my uncle kept blowing his nose throughout the meal. It was very unappetizing (especially since he is so loud and makes a honking sound) and I wanted to say something. But then again, why should I have to? Shouldn’t a man in his mid-50s know better?


Annoyed Niece

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.


Dear Annoyed Niece,

Yes, he should. That is a disgusting habit. People (uncles, aunts, dads, moms, friends, anyone older than the age of 5) should excuse themselves if they need to blow their nose during a meal. Not only is it not appetizing, it’s not the most sanitary habit around food. The next time someone pulls a tissue out or a handkerchief, you can politely ask them to remove themselves from the table first.

This is also a good time to remind people that they should use their cough cover while around other people. If you need to cough or sneeze, do so in the crook of your elbow to keep your hands free of germs. Also, be sure to wash your hands frequently this time of year which will also help stop the spread of germs.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

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