We all have a vision in our heads of the perfect restaurant experience: we float in, are greeted with a warm smile, seated promptly, and served expertly prepared food by a wait staff that caters to our every whim. But in an effort to fit as many people as possible into an oftentimes small space, restaurants oftentimes seat parties so close to each other that there’s high potential for that one inconsiderate banquette-mate to spoil a meal for everyone. We’ve rounded up the ten worst people to sit near at a restaurant, and if you look around and don’t see one of them, it might just be you.
Everyone’s threshold for being annoyed is different. Some manage to maintain an otherworldly sense of serenity even when confronted by annoyances that would drive others to madness. Others get annoyed even by the sight of a child at a restaurant, even if he or she is on their best behavior. But there are certain nuisances; especially when you’re trying to enjoy a peaceful meal, that just get your goat.
When you’re sitting near someone who’s annoying the heck out of you at a restaurant, there are a couple options you can take. You can always turn and ask the offending party to stop being so annoying, but do this at your own peril: supremely annoying people also seem to enjoy defending their right to be supremely annoying, and will most likely turn it around and say that you’re the annoying one, which is not only confusing, it’s also more annoying. Another option is to simply move, but if they sit down when you’re halfway through your meal getting up and moving to another table will not only call a lot of attention to yourself, it’s also annoying to do and will annoy the wait staff as well.
The option that most people take when faced with intolerable fellow diners is to quietly deal with it during the meal, only to gripe all the way home about how much that person ruined your meal. It’s a sad fact of life that sometimes we have to do our best to tune out the things that annoy us and try to focus on the positive. If all else fails, at least you can give them the evil eye.
1. The Loud Talker
When you sit down at a restaurant, it’s usually fairly easily to figure out that magic decibel level that allows those in your party to hear you perfectly while those three tables away can’t. For The Loud Talker, that’s a skill they haven’t yet acquired. Unfortunately, Loud Talkers tend to congregate in groups and feed off each other’s loudness, so one table of six can dominate an entire dining room.
2. The Complainer
For The Complainer, nothing is ever to their liking. The butter is too cold to spread! There’s not enough ice in the water glass! This table is slightly off-balance! They’ll be constantly voicing their concerns to their long-suffering dining companion (or even worse, to the wait staff), and you’ll have to deal with hearing every little gripe.
3. The PDA Couple
Not only does The PDA Couple insist on squeezing both of their fannies onto one side of their table (leaving even less room for you next to them on the banquette), they want to make sure that the whole world knows they’re in love. Get a room, guys.
4. The Absentee Parents
On the outside, The Absentee Parents look like any other couple enjoying a quiet meal… until you spy the child they’re willfully neglecting that is running around the restaurant, getting in the way of the people just trying to do their job, and generally ruining everyone’s meal. Get a babysitter, or stay home.
5. The Guy Who Talks with His Mouth Full
The Guy Who Talks with His Mouth Full usually does a great job of grossing out everyone at his table, but to sit within view of him, even from across the room, is enough to put a damper on your meal. People tend to sound gross when they’re trying to talk and chew at the same time, so pray that he’s not also a Loud Talker.
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