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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Obnoxious Kid comes in several varieties: they could be running around like they own the place, or not yet mastered the art of volume control, possibly whining about every little thing, or maybe crying uncontrollably for no apparent reason. Kids are always a wild card at a restaurant; best to sit nowhere near them if given the option.
In a small, crowded restaurant, there’s always that one person who for some reason feels like they own the joint, and that there’s no reason to check their coat when they can just but it next to them on the banquette, along with their purse and assorted shopping bags from their big day on the town. They also like to spread out even if they don’t have bags, taking up as much room as possible. If you get seated next to The Sprawler, you’re within your rights to politely shove their stuff out of your zone.
The Glad-hander seems to know everyone in the joint. Friends seemingly appear out of nowhere, walking over and chatting them up while you sit mere inches from their rear end, trying your best to ignore the last thing you want to have in your face while trying to enjoy a meal. They shout at people on the other side of the restaurant, the owners are constantly coming over to pay them homage and make sure they’re happy, and all this time you’re the poor schmo who might as well be invisible, suffering silently through it all.
The Drunk takes on many forms, and can easily encompass several of the varieties of annoying people discussed above. Drunks can be talking inappropriately loudly (possibly with their mouth full), couples can be publicly displaying their affection, and in general drunks have little to no regard for anyone else around them, which is the first commandment of being a considerate diner. Thankfully, drunks also tend to call attention to themselves from all corners of the room, so if they’re being particularly sloppy, they might be politely shown the door before much damage is done.
Like The Drunk, The Jerk takes on many forms, but you know one when you see one. They’re the one alternately hitting on the waitress and demanding another round from the busboy even though it’s not his job, talking on his cell phone with no regard for his volume or his increasingly bored date, making demands the kitchen can’t accommodate like trying to order a burger when there isn’t one on the menu, and other things that get on everyone else’s nerves.