Fixing a Dining Faux Pas
If your fumble was subtle and did not harm another person, his clothing, or his possessions―something fell out of your mouth and back onto your plate, for instance―move on as if nothing has happened, says Post. If you spill a drink or break something in a restaurant, discreetly signal a server for help. The aim is to avoid distracting others from their meals or drawing attention to yourself. But if you spill something on a fellow diner, hand her a napkin, apologize profusely, and pay for the necessary dry cleaning, says Grimes. Also offer to pay for the cleaning if you’ve spilled red wine on your host’s tablecloth (that conversation should take place in private, after the meal). “If she refuses―and she should―it is nice to send a special gift,” Post says. Consider a new tablecloth or a bottle of wine, with a note of apology.