Rude to not eat in front of people?

Do you consider it rude if you go out to eat, and someone isnt hungry and doesn’t eat anything? In the case of dining out, is it a faux pais in your culture if one of the guests doesn’t order food?

For simplicity, lets say they aren’t eating because they are full. So pickiness or passive agression isnt a factor. Rude?

Personally I dont consider it rude. If they are with me and not hungry, then they still enjoy my company and conversation. If they didnt want to see me eat they’d decline, also acceptible in my book.

I suppose I shouldn’t conflate the idea of rudeness with the ethical right of anyone else to give a damn, but to the extent that they differ, “rude” has no meaning beyond “some people pulled the idea out of their ass that others shouldn’t do this and deemed themselves superior to those who didn’t comply,” so I’ll stand by it.

Given that, no, of course it’s not rude. What business of anyone else’s is it whether or not I feel like eating? Perhaps they should save their judgment for something having the slightest semblance of an effect on them; I guarantee they’d be happier for it.

(Personally, as an ex-waiter, when I’m at a sit-down restaurant but don’t order anything, I’ll leave a tip as table rent…but this is Server Karma and I certainly wouldn’t expect it of anyone else.)

Not rude, but could be a little weird depending on the situation. If everyone agrees to go out to dinner, but then at the place, one person announces they are not hungry and won’t be ordering, that’s a little weird.

If, however, during the planning stage, one person said they weren’t hungry, but that they would like to hang out, it’s not weird. Like a lot of social situations, the better you know the other person, the less awkward it is.

Yeah. If you go to a concert with a group of friends, then after the concert make a last minute decision to go eat, it wouldn’t even ping my radar.

If however, the main event of the evening is to go out to eat at place “X”, then yeah, that’s beyond weird, but not rude.

Could be lots of reasons - not feeling well, keeping kosher, upset stomach, having to fast etc - so it’s not necessarily rude. It all depends upon how the person not eating presents themselves. “I’m sorry, guys, but I’ve got a dicky tummy so I’m going to have to enjoy the food vicariously.” is going to go down rather better than silence.

I do this a lot. I was obese, and one of the things that kept me from losing weight was that I hated to give up social events. Realizing I could just NOT EAT was a real revelation. My rules: always tell people in advance that you aren’t eating (in response to an invite “I’m not hungry, but I’d love to go along and enjoy your company” sort of thing), always order coffee or a soda so that you have something in front of you (this makes people more comfortable) and never, ever, ever comment on other people’s meals beyond “That looks great”. The last rule is because people feel compelled to share if they think you are angling for a bite, and it’s just awkward.

I grew up in a family that was constantly scrutinizing what I ate, when I ate, how much I ate, and how I ate it. As a result I’m extremely self-conscious about food. Eating in front of someone else who isn’t eating really bothers me.

I think that if the person isn’t hungry, they can at least order a drink to fuss around with while everyone else is eating… preferably an appetizer. I don’t think I’m the only person in the world who feels the way I do, and the definition of “rude” is making other people feel uncomfortable… so… yes, I do find it rude. Not in the getting-outraged way, but in the makes-me-want-to-crawl-into-a-dark-hole way.

Is it rude if you do it the way I do, explaining in advance that you won’t be eating? Because in that case, my other alternative would often be to decline without explanation: "“I can’t afford to eat there” and “I can’t have the calories” (my two main reasons) are not really socially acceptable information, and persistently turning down social invitations also seems rude. I am not trying to be catty–just trying to figure out how to deal with the social quagmire without making anyone uncomfortable.

Nope, not rude. You should only eat when you want to.

I don’t like to eat a lot during the day. If I have a whole meal in my stomach, I seriously need to go lie down while it digests. When the girls in the office used to go out to lunch, they would tuck into enormous salads, sandwiches with fries, and go back to work refreshed and energized, and I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I cannot eat a lot during the day. My solution was to order a drink, iced tea or Coke, and a cup of soup and take a sip now and then, or a small side salad to toy with. I could handle a ‘little something’, and didn’t have to go through the wearying explanation of WHYYY I was sitting there not eating.

I hope it’s not rude, because I do this all the time. I’m always watching my weight and am careful about what I eat, and so much restaurant food contains tons of hidden calories. I always get a drink, though–often a glass of wine or two, which in the end costs at least as much as the food my friend is eating.

Eating out is a social activity, and generally I would find it better if you ordered a small salad or something to nibble on.

In the Chinese culture, it would be really rude to not eat. Of couse, with Chinese family style (shared dishes with food that everyone then serves to themselves), it’s easy to take miniscule portions and pace yourself.

No, not in general, but I can understand why it seems rude:

In certain situations at least, it is rude to eat in front of other people who aren’t eating, at least without offering to share, or getting their permission. So if you go out to eat with someone and then don’t eat, you’re putting them in the awkward position of eating in front of you, while you just sit and watch them eat.

I think it depends on the place and circumstance. Meet friends down the pub where some order food and some don’t? No problem. Drop into a casual pizza place after the cinema? Fine. Meet in a posh restaurant for my birthday where the meal is the main focus? Problem. Come round to my house for a dinner party? You’re going to eat every scrap whilst loudly proclaiming my ability to turn out Michelin starred fayre whilst effortlessly dripping with glamour.

In all seriousness, if the meal is the main event, it’s been long planned, the restaurant is full and fairly smart, then I would think it was rude, as much to the restaurant as to the other guests.

While saving up for an expensive trip, my partner and I were often in the position of having to decline dinner invitations for the “can’t afford it” reason. If the dinner itself was the main event, we would have to decline but with the caveat “… but we’d love to meet you for coffee afterwards!” We did our best to try to continue being social, so it was clear that we weren’t avoiding anyone’s company.

The point of etiquette is to make people feel comfortable and reduce awkwardness. I think Manda Jo’s method does a wonderful job of politely declining food without making anyone feel uncomfortable.

If I’m really not hungry I might just order something small (someone mentioned a salad upthread) and pick at it/go through the motions of eating. Like someone nursing a drink. Not really eating but fulfilling the social contract as it were.

Also, you get to do most of the talking!

No, not rude.

What IS rude, however, is declaring you’re not hungry, not ordering anything, and then grazing off the plates of people who did order. Drives me nuts. I ordered (and paid for) the damn fries for myself, thanks. If I want you to have any, you’ll have to wait until I’ve finished and see if there’s any left. If you want them anyway, then order your own.

The only time it’s rude is if the meal is the entire point of the event, and it’s been long planned. It seems to me that if you have a month’s notice, you should be able to save up extra $$ and extra calories so that you can order at least a small meal with the group.

If it’s casual and part of a larger group of events? No worries at all.