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The 8 Personalities You Meet at a Group Dinner

Filed in: Take a Break

If you want to see someone’s true colors, go to dinner with them. Whether you blame it on alcohol, a loud restaurant, or just generally feeling hangry, there’s no denying that there are distinct personalities that reveal themselves when dining en masse. The next time you’re out with friends or eating with clients, see if you can spot one or more of the classic types below.

1. The Dictator. Sit back and quietly sip your water while she proceeds to order appetizers and an expensive bottle of wine “for the table.” (“Oh, sorry, you don’t like red? Well, more for the rest of us!”)

2. The “Diplomat.” She claims to be open-minded (“I’ll go wherever!”) but consistently rejects every suggestion. When finally asked where she’d like to go she claims, “I’m up for anything!”…and the cycle begins anew. Sigh.

3. The Sharer. Don’t scarf your meal down too quickly, because she will inevitably ask for a taste. (One of her virtues, though, is that she’ll offer up a taste of her dish, as well.) “Bite for bite” is her motto, and tapas-style restaurants are her natural habitat.

4. The Hoarder. Ask to try her entree and she’ll shoot you a glare that suggests you might as well have asked for her firstborn. This is her dinner. Hers. If you really wanted to try it, why didn’t you just order it yourself?

5. Antonia Bourdain. She may or may not self-identify as a “foodie,” but she’s not shy about broadcasting her thorough knowledge of the restaurant world. “The beef tartare is supposed to be out of this world. Pete Wells is obsessed.” Sure, she could just say she thinks you should order the beef tartare, but who doesn’t love an expert’s validation?

6. The Ambusher. Beware this unassuming threat who lurks quietly and pounces when you least expect it. She’ll be quick to declare “I’m not that hungry” before ordering only an appetizer — then, forkful by forkful, she’ll gradually annihilate everything on the table.

7. The Editor. This friend views the menu as a suggestion. Her end goal: to construct a dish that’s entirely her own creation. She’ll flag down the waiter with inquiries such as, “Can you put the sauce on the side?” and “What do you mean, you can’t substitute avocado for mayo?”

8. The Ruminator. This poor soul agonizes over her order as if it’s her last meal on earth. If the waiter approaches her first, she frantically instructs him to start at the other end of the table. And when she takes the first bite of whichever dish she ultimately decided on, she gets that glazed, forlorn look of someone who is realizing, “I fucked up.” Better luck next time.


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Alexandra Johnson is an editorial associate at MM.LaFleur, where she started out as a summer intern. Her happy place is the room housing Monet's Water Lilies at MoMA. Read more of Alexandra's posts.


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