The Major Food Sharing Faux Pas You May Be Committing

Sharing is caring — it's a phrase you might hear from fellow diners in favor of splitting dishes. And as with all clichés we still care to use, there's truth in it. Aside from the intimacy it can bring to a date or gathering of friends, it also allows you to sample more dishes without emptying your wallet. However, communal dining can also be complicated — requiring a certain level of compromise and consideration on the part of those partaking. However, there's one rule of etiquette that you should never forget when sharing a dish.

When dividing food into two or more portions, the first things to consider are dietary restrictions and preferences. Once that's out of the way and everyone agrees on what to order, you might assume it's smooth sailing from here on out, but you'd be wrong. Even though you and your friends all voted in favor of a dish, whether that might be an order of fried calamari or a split portion of steak frites, that doesn't mean everyone wants to enjoy the food the same way. 

Often a dish will come with sauces, spices, or even citrus wedges served on the side. Remember that these additions are served separately for a reason. Unless you've consulted with your dining companions, under no circumstances should you take the liberty of dressing a dish with these toppings. Why? Not everyone is equally as interested in slathering on the seasonings.

Only season or dress your portion

Adding a drizzle of aioli or a sprinkle of salt to a meal might be second nature for you, but that doesn't mean your tablemates are just as keen. Rather than ruin a dish for others, it's always best to ask before adding, or at the very least, only season a fraction of the item. Important as it may be, that's not the only thing to keep in mind when aiming to make communal dining more enjoyable.

Seeing as sharing is all about negotiation, being considerate of your companions also means not monopolizing the dish, but taking your appropriate portion and passing it along — you are dividing the meal, after all. Likewise, taking a modest portion can also be an especially thoughtful gesture when it comes to splitting something you're not entirely sure you'll like, as leaving a generous helping on your plate untouched lacks decorum, especially if it could be enjoyed by others.

Of course, as plates are passed around, the other major etiquette rule to abide by is to maintain a good sense of hygiene. Though sharing a meal implies an up-close-and-personal experience, that doesn't mean that it's okay to start double-dipping mozzarella sticks in the communal marinara sauce or laying a finger on every saucy chicken wing available. Your endeavors to share food politely will certainly not go unnoticed and may mean more Friday night tapas and Korean barbecue in your future.