Eating Meals with Others

By | June 10, 2022

[June 10, 2022]  Long before I was introduced to the “business luncheon,” I’d found it professionally productive to eat meals with others.  Yet, I took ‘eating meals with others’ for granted and overlooked the many not-so-obvious benefits.  Some nihilists would say I do this to enhance my career; they would be wrong.

In an earlier article titled Eating with the Privates, I wrote:

“Privates give you blunt, honest assessments of what they see.  You ask a question, and they give you the answer.  There is no shading the truth, trying to make things look better than they are, misleading, or distortions.”1

People want the truth.  Whether they are a Husband (or Wife), a high-ranking Officer, a company CEO, or just Joe the Plumber, we all want accurate insight into what is happening around us.  Psychologists claim that wanting to know the truth is a survival instinct, an inborn trait inherited from those who lived in the brutish, nasty past.  I say eating meals with others feels like the right thing to do and makes you likable.

Yeah, we all know the benefits of a business luncheon.  You get to know your coworkers, you get an edge on your competitors, people are happier and more open when relaxed, and folks are more likely to work with you in the future.  True enough.  And those benefits are worthwhile.  But there is much more to eating with others than we might not think about.

Eating meals with others is a primordial behavior of our ancestors.  At meals, they discussed far-ranging topics.  Sitting around the campfire in small groups kept everyone’s attention and as a form of camaraderie.  Singing songs (which is fun) and telling stories (like the stories of heroes) was more than a form of entertainment but a way to ensure everyone knew they were an essential part of something bigger than themselves.

Here are a few reasons to eat your meals with others.

  1. It allows everyone to see and understand proper behavior (by discussing social norms) and the ramifications of failing to act correctly.
  2. Learning about who cannot be trusted has value. Or where there is a loss of confidence in other people who are not pulling their own weight.  Or making those who have betrayed the group.  Greater collaboration can also come from such a discussion.
  3. People are happier and will share more information with you. They will discover that you are a real person and, hopefully, not a narcissist or nuts.  They learn that you have a family too and that you have real problems just like they do (and perhaps can help).
  4. Honesty prevails when folks sit down to eat, look each other in the eye, and talk. Talk matters more than we know.  Talking frames our reality.  It sets us straight because others help us.  It encourages action and foresight when laziness would typically prevail.

The benefits are many to eating with others.  Sit down and eat your meal with friends, family, and coworkers.  You’ll find you gain more than you can envision.

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  1. https://www.theleadermaker.com/eating-with-the-privates/

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Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

23 thoughts on “Eating Meals with Others

  1. Valkerie

    Yes!!! Gotta be blunt, nice article. Pay attention here folks because General Satterfield sure knows how to give some great advice. His recent series of showing us what human character is about should be in a book.

    Reply
    1. Bernie

      I think that Gen. S. is considering a new book. In fact, I do believe he has hinted at it.

      Reply
  2. Cow Blue

    Thanks Gen. Satterfield. Another excellent article that gives us some great advice.

    Reply
  3. Nick Lighthouse

    Another spot-on article by the great Gen. Satterfield. A bit of morning humor to go along with the Babylon Bee in his Daily Favorites. 😊

    Reply
    1. Dead Pool Guy

      Right, if you don’t eat with others, you’re missing out on life.

      Reply
      1. American Girl

        Of course, most of us would think this common sense but the idiots who run Washington DC are seriously lacking in this intelligence department.

        Reply
  4. Rides Alone

    Wow, I had a long day yesterday working outside with my friends to help fix a home damaged by a fire. Hot and humid here in south Florida. But after all the sweat and money, we felt a hell of a lot better about doing a good deed for someone who needed our help. That’s what life is about. And, at the end, we sat down outside with 5 picnic tables placed end to end and ate fried chicken from Col Saunders place.

    Reply
    1. mainer

      Thanks for what you did to help others. That is what Gen. Satterfield talks about when he says to adopt a noble goal.

      Reply
      1. Don Snow

        Have a noble goal in your life (or two) and focus all your energy toward them. Some say it’s the journey that matters, and that is true. Ancient philosophers and the Bible we see have those same stories. Obviously, there is something about it.

        Reply
    2. Ernest

      Thank you Rides Alone for doing what we should all be doing.

      Reply
  5. Autistic Servent

    Very good article Gen. Satterfield. And timely. I’m headed to my parents house in Oregon and hope to sit down every day to talk with them and try to better understand their thinking about when I was growing up. Your article surely hit home.

    Reply
  6. osmodsann

    It’s Friday so why not a reminder (and off topic, as Gen. Satterfield says) to go out and buy his newest book. No, I’m not getting a commission, I just love the book. Want to read about what really happened behind the scenes in Iraq War? Want to know more about the difficulties of our troops? This is the book. Our Longest Year in Iraq is the title. Get it now.
    https://www.amazon.com/Our-Longest-Year-Iraq-Construction/dp/1737915510/

    Reply
    1. Oakie from OK

      Thanks osmo for the recommendation. Got my copy a month ago. Read it twice. Loved the book.

      Reply
      1. Bryan Z. Lee

        We all enjoy this kind of book. It tells a true story of struggle, heroes, and victory.

        Reply
    1. Liz at Home

      Good one Unwoke Dude, Ammo Grrrll is very much UNWOKE. ✔

      Reply
    2. Nancy

      Right guys, you can find her every Friday on PowerLineBlog.com. She also has a book out.

      Reply
        1. Wesley Brown

          Humor is great. Tyrants hate humor. They can’t get their message across when there is humor.

          Reply
  7. MrJohn22

    Just loving the LeaderMaker .com. Folks, bookmark this leadership website and read it daily. Don’t forget the DAILY FAVORITES. It will make you pay closer attention to what is going on in the world.

    Reply
  8. Billy Kenningston

    — and as it should be. Eat meals with others affords many opportunities (most you will not recognize). 😊

    Reply
    1. Dennis Mathes

      Got it right, Billy. I never eat alone, sort of a personal philosophy of mine.

      Reply

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