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A close group of girl friends and I enjoy getting together for lunch and dinners a few times a month. There are four of us, and every time we sit down and the server introduces themself to ask for our drink requests, the same friend always places her order immediately. (The rest of always say we're not ready and still need to look a the menu.) She's been doing this for years, always says she's in a rush, ...every, single, meal. It's a bit weird, and the servers have always been polite, but usually thrown off a bit by her immediate rush to place her food order.

Just once, I'd appreciate it if she'd not rush the food order and follow the normal sequence. I honestly want to ask if she's ever learned the basics of restaurant etiquette, but don't want to insult her.

How can I politely ask her to wait until it's time to order our meals?

  • Have you already tried asking her to wait, or shown your disapproval of her behaviour in some way? If you did, can you include in your question what you did and what her reaction was? That way, answerers can avoid suggesting approaches that may have worked for them but clearly haven't worked for you so far :) – Tinkeringbell May 15 at 11:28
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    Hello, Thank you for all of your great feedback. Yes, she's been "in a hurry" for eight years now, at every single meal. She definitely orders her meal at the first sight of the server. So she orders her meal, while the rest of us open up our menu and order our drinks, iced-tea, etc. She's a very polite person, but this has just become really annoying, and seems rude to the server. I love the answer below and will certainly attempt that format! I'll provide feedback after my next luncheon. Thank you all! – Annie May 15 at 12:51
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    Does this friend actually leave the meal earlier than the rest of you, or does she only leave along with everyone else, after everyone has finished? – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica May 15 at 14:40
  • Sometimes, yes, she does leave the meal earlier. Other times she leaves when we do. She always pays her part of the bill. It's just always a rush for some reason or another. But she plans many of these outings, so it's very much her nature to put a time limit on every outing. (No kids or significant other to get home to etc. )Seriously like eight years, every single time. – Annie May 15 at 23:59
  • Have you asked her at any point why she does this ever time? – scohe001 May 16 at 13:28
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If she orders just something to drink before the meal, then it is OK. She needs something to do before everyone is ready.

If it is about food, then try the following:

  1. Tell her that you noticed this behavior of hers.

  2. Ask for the reason of the behavior.

  3. Tell her that you find her behavior unusual.

  4. Ask her to consider waiting, to place an order together with everyone else.

In this way, you do not give an order to her (no matter how hidden and how masked or polished), but you show interest in her person and her behavior.

Of course, the discussion has to be adapted according to her answers. If you just keep asking questions, the benefit will be lost, and it might even make her angry having to go through a script.


I was straightforward in the past, and I was not very successful getting people to accommodate my "needs". However, going through the attitude explained above, the chances to get things done increased substantially.

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    Hey, it seems like you have successfully used this technic in the past. Could tell us a little bit more in what context you did this, what exactly you said and how the other person reacted? – Ælis May 15 at 12:36
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    I would hesitate to go into the details of my private life. With enough posts, every person I know will be able to recognize me. Even more, there cannot be a guarantee that what works in one case can work in all cases. – virolino May 15 at 13:03
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    Hey virolino, I understand the desire for privacy and I wouldn't want to push you into giving out extremely private details. I could be missing something, but I don't entirely see how explaining a time when you've used the techniques in your answer would give away too many clues to your identity. Perhaps you could give a vague description which walks through your situation but replacing certain details with generic words. For instance, saying that you had a "need" to be accommodated. – Rainbacon May 15 at 13:16
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    Please see our subjective citation expectations: essentially answers like this should be backed up with experience of the form “and here's how that worked out in practice”. (Where a description of how it worked out is more valuable than “it worked well”.) We ask for that information so that we can better understand how effective a solution this will be. You do say that the chances to get things done increased substantially but 5% is a substantial increase from 1%. – doppelgreener May 15 at 13:39
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    Essentially, are you able to describe what results that produced? Did it result in people waiting for your meals fairly often (concretely, not just comparatively)? Was it received well and were people generally accepting? That doesn't require describing your private life, but mentioning that is helpful to us in backing up that this solution is effective. – doppelgreener May 15 at 13:40

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