Codes of etiquette while dining out have evolved, including a common rule that most restaurant guests regularly ignore, to the displeasure of the waitstaff.
This commonly broken rule involves pushing away plates at the end of a meal. Many believe this makes the servers' job easier, cueing them that the table is ready for clearing.
Pushing plates away places them farther away from where restaurant staff can easily reach. Also, stacking plates ignores the fact that there is a technique for clearing a table.
In the U.S., to signal that you're finished, place the handles of utensils at about four o'clock using the clock face method, with the tines and blade towards the top of the plate.
There's no need to feel bad if you've unknowingly broken this etiquette rule for years. Now that you know proper table manners, you can dine with confidence.