03/04/2014 10:51 am ET Updated May 04, 2014

The Worst People To Sit Near In A Restaurant

We all have a vision in our heads of the perfect restaurant experience: We float in, are greeted with a warm smile, seated promptly, and served expertly prepared food by a wait staff that caters to our every whim. But in an effort to fit as many people as possible into an oftentimes small space, restaurants oftentimes seat parties so close to each other that there's high potential for that one inconsiderate banquette-mate to spoil a meal for everyone. We've rounded up the 10 worst people to sit near at a restaurant, and if you look around and don't see one of them, it might just be you.

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Everyone's threshold for being annoyed is different. Some manage to maintain an otherworldly sense of serenity even when confronted by annoyances that would drive others to madness. Others get annoyed even by the sight of a child at a restaurant, even if he or she is on their best behavior. But there are certain nuisances; especially when you're trying to enjoy a peaceful meal, that just get your goat.

  • The Obnoxious Kid
    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. Photo Credit: Shutterstock Click Here to see More of the Worst People to Sit Near in a Restaurant
  • The Sprawler
    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 put 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. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
  • The Glad-Hander
    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. Photo Credit: Shutterstock Click Here to see More of the Worst People to Sit Near in a Restaurant
  • The Drunk
    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. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
  • The Jerk
    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. Click Here to see More of the Worst People to Sit Near in a RestaurantPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

When you're sitting near someone who's annoying the heck out of you at a restaurant, there are a couple of options you can take. You can always turn and ask the offending party to stop being so annoying, but do this at your own peril: Supremely annoying people also seem to enjoy defending their right to be supremely annoying, and will most likely turn it around and say that you're the annoying one, which is not only confusing, it's also more annoying. Another option is to simply move, but if they sit down when you're halfway through your meal getting up and moving to another table will not only call a lot of attention to yourself, it's also annoying to do and will annoy the wait staff as well

The option that most people take when faced with intolerable fellow diners is to quietly deal with it during the meal, only to gripe all the way home about how much that person ruined your meal. It's a sad fact of life that sometimes we have to do our best to tune out the things that annoy us and try to focus on the positive. If all else fails, at least you can give them the evil eye.

-Dan Myers, The Daily Meal

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