I wonder if it’s possible for the person to use earplugs to block out the sound or replace it with music. Younger people love mess. Around a fifth of people thought that none of what we said was worth hearing, so there may very well be better solutions to this predicament. ), (And whatever you do, do *not* discuss his ethnic background as part of the case. They are wrong. I ask people to chew their gum more quietly all the time. Nope. Gum popping and loud chewing obviously distracts from those. To stop talking to yourself, try chewing gum or pressing your lips together when you feel the urge. Bob, you sound like my Dad, could you chew with your mouth closed please? People get embarrassed to think someone has been noticing something for months but not said anything. If not, then she can establish a point person to talk to her, but only one person, since the gum chewer is not thick-skinned. Partisans Don’t Just Disagree, They Hate One Another. For people who suffer from it, mouth sounds are common triggers. A large amount of office problems can be attributed to the lovely people you see and share space with every day: your colleagues. Hell is a symphony composed of the sounds of chewing. if you're chewing with your mouth closed chances are that you're ok. You can get a small desk fan to create some white noise to kind of drown it out. Walt: Still, this seems like the kind of thing that human resources was explicitly created to address. frumiousb and Charity G have the right idea. All rights reserved. adding to ibo's comment- yes we can sometimes hear these things. This person should start a foundation, no, a political movement working to take down the Open Office Floor Plan Industrial Complex. Many of the employees in this area are just past entry level, working on specific contracts, and the gum chewer is a manager, jovial but a bit thin-skinned. One easy and non-confrontational way to deal with a loud coworker is by blocking out the noise. But if he chews loudly or wears pungent cologne every day, that’s a … People are alternately on the phone or a computer, and it can be loud sometimes, but not deafening. Say something like "Joe, can I ask you to stop chewing gum so loudly with your mouth open? It's so ridiculous, and I can't believe I'm even asking this but, can you actually chew your gum more quietly when I'm around, please?" But there is one. It could also be something like the sound of someone clicking a pen or tapping a pencil. For example, "Jane, remember that conversation we had at … @MorganJerkins. Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer. Focus on only self-talking when you’re alone … "Hey, you probably don't realize it, but I can actually hear you chewing your gum all day, and it's distracting. Just say something nicely and in private. Good luck; as someone with misophonia, I feel your pain. Talk to her colleagues to see if anyone has ever talked to the gum chewer about her habit. if they aren't, stop worrying. Way more effective than earplugs (and more normal looking in an office). Then I say "I hear that is some good gum because you're chewing it awfully loud!" She wasn’t being necessarily loud with her chewing—in fact, it’s likely that no one else noticed it except for me. I would recommend the letter writer talk to her colleagues to see if anyone has ever talked to the gum chewer about her habit. Also, today we learned that about 15 percent of respondents are nonconfrontational to a fault and would just purchase headphones and hope for the best. Ask MetaFilter is a question and answer site that covers nearly any question on earth, where members help each other solve problems. If not, establish a point person to talk to her. Walt: Oh yeah, this is wonderful. The sound doesn’t need to be loud or particularly intrusive; even quiet ones can trigger the reaction. Send us your quandary! Talk to her colleagues to see if anyone has ever talked to the gum chewer about her habit. Do You Buy That ... President Joe Biden Can Unite The Country? Join 6,470 readers in helping fund MetaFilter. @WaltHickey, Morgan Jerkins is a writer living in New York City. "Can you please close your mouth when you chew, its a little loud and disturbing." There is one sound that dwarfs all of them in its sheer malevolence to my ears. You May Have Misophonia The hatred of noisy eating is an actual neurological disorder called misophonia, and it can impact the ability to learn I think it's fine to politely ask, but as an alternative, could you try wearing noise-canceling headphones (with or without music, depending on the level of the noise)? Adjust to your desired level of self-effacement, particularly upon reminders. And since we can gather that there’s a power imbalance between the letter writer and the gum chewer, going to HR could be the only way she has to get a neutral third party to flag the problem. Something like: "Begging your pardon, and I don't mean to be rude, but when you chew your gum it's a bit loud and kind of distracts me from my work." If not, establish a point person to talk to her. Need our advice? Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Well, as most etiquette experts will tell you, the only thing more rude than violating the laws of etiquette (i.e. “Instead, it’s a disorder of the sensor… The fact that you are asking him to be quiet is enough. She would forget once in a while and I'd just give her the "look", she'd take the gum and put it on her nose like the teachers in school used to do years ago. He didn't smell after that. Morgan: This is not what I expected at all. I have a Bose version that are tiny earbuds rather than full headphones. People think that the ambient background tapestry of hell is made of screaming and the ripping of flesh. Theoretically, any sound can trigger misophonia, but it’s commonly associated with noises that come from the body – chewing, swallowing, sniffing, even breathing. — Misophoniac. Walt: Right. All posts copyright their original authors. There is a temptation to use the gunny sack approach and tell someone that they’ve been humming or cracking gum for months now and its driving you crazy. Morgan: LOL. It’s human nature, you know? These could include someone next to you smacking gum or chewing food loudly. Ha ha, remember my whole weird thing about it." Its reputation as a diet aid can backfire. Besides, have we forgotten our manners of not talking … 6. Some of the less-than-lovely things they might be doing with their time include: 1. But, I urge you to have the support of someone higher if possible, just in case. Purchase headphones and listen to music, but loud, so as to provoke an office-wide conversation about noise. I like jacquilynne's answer in theory, and normally I think mentioning something bothersome nicely works out, but in this case I'd suck it up. Morgan: Not surprising at all! Sorry, just thought of one possible approach-- my current boss is similarly sensitive to chewing noise. Walt: And if this establishment is too small to have an HR department, I think your way is the best way. They also don't like the sound of throat clearing. I would not tell him it's annoying or anything. I'm sure some of my coworkers just stew in silence, annoyed with my irritating volume control problems, and that thought hurts me far worse than a quick, respectful "Check yourself.". I think because the gum chewer has a higher position in the company and she does not have thick skin, this is the best possible choice. These are uncomfortable conversations, but my boss had to tell one of my co-workers to wear deodorant/shower more. He handles it by making big jokes about his own phobia and telling stories about how his kids can make him crazy with gum. It’s driving me mad! “However, it isn’t an issue of overly sensitive hearing – a misophonia sufferer’s hearing is exactly the same as everyone else’s,” says Gupta. No one has probably confronted the gum chewer because of her high position. How Do I Handle An Annoying Gum-Chewing Co-Worker? When this happened to me (after it got so bad I went to see my line manager, my GP and a psychologist about it, because I didn't know how to handle the stress it caused), I asked the gum chewer if we could have a chat, popped into a meeting room and simply asked that he stop smacking his gum as it was affecting my ability to concentrate. Morgan: Yeah, it can’t be the noise-cancelling ones. Even though they're designed for more constant noises, like an airplane engine, I've been amazed by how much else mine can block out. I work in a large open “bullpen” with three desks in each of a dozen or so rows. Clipping their nails 2. I know it's silly, but for some reason it distracts me so much that I … So the next time you are chewing gum, take a second and listen to how you chew. Please, please chew with your mouth closed. Obviously, that could lead to … Also, depending on your location and kind of organisation, it could be used to bolster a perception of unfair bias in case of dispute about performance or pay. Question: “I work in a small office with a woman who loudly cracks and snaps her chewing gum. That's the whole point of being the boss. Chewing gum 6. Perhaps that puts too much aggressive in “passive-aggressive,” though. Walt: Still, it sounds like this is a thing that other folks have caught on to. Presenting another option is a nice way to get her to stop chewing gum. Wearing clothing that’s too casual 8. Open-mouth chewing makes us feel insane. But perhaps I just have less faith in humans than I would like to admit, because evidently, we have some very nice and considerate people who voted. If your deskmate has a slurpy soup for lunch one day, it’s best to plug in earphones and disengage. Purchase headphones and listen to … Be it gum, cereal, bananas (okay, we have to stop because we're grossing ourselves out), we are glad you are enjoying it, but we would all prefer to neither hear it, nor see it. I loathe the chewing of gum and all the sounds that come with it. Walt Hickey: I think the letter writer should quit her job. Misophonia, a disorder which means sufferers have a hatred of sounds such as eating, chewing, loud breathing or even repeated pen-clicking, was first named as a condition in 2001. but it would be neurotic to care. This lady is pushing 40 years old, so her behavior seems very unprofessional. While it seems like a small thing, this is influencing the quality of the work environment for dozens of company employees. Wearing strong perfume or cologne 4. In that case, you can't use any of these suggestions because of the power differential. This is your direct report so this is very simple, direct them to stop smacking their gum, no explanations needed (and do leave the culture stuff out of it). You would think that those folks who smack their gum would actually hear it and realize the terrible sound they are making. And shout out to the 26 respondents who are me and would just escalate it. Loud chewing is the #1 pet peeve. Making personal call… Not if he's your direct report. This is a pretty difficult combination. And as frumiousb says, add in additional anecdotes about your hatred of gum noise. Tell him. Morgan: Yes. Gum. You can tell Parker that it would … Very diplomatic ones. "Chewing is almost universal. I am 100 percent behind that. Then I … Does Noisy Eating and Loud Gum Chewing Drive You Crazy? Use a casual reminder should the loud chewing persist. Morgan: Oh, that’s even better, actually. Try implicating yourself more than the loud chewer, though: "Argh, I have this stupid thing where I cannot handle any gum noise. FiveThirtyEight commissioned a SurveyMonkey Audience poll that ran on Oct. 25, 2016, and received 1,048 responses. Eating pungent food 3. We don’t want anyone getting fired over something like this. I think one of the better features of this advice column, for what it’s worth, is the panel’s ability to flatly reject our advice. We all find it annoying. Whistling, humming, or singing 5. What should I do? I ask people to chew their gum more quietly all the time. Thanks!". She needs to have some allies in this. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Want to know how to stop it? Say it like it is! Earbuds are a genius idea. I didn't mention the stress, or the psychologist. Trump Leaves The White House Today, More Unpopular Than Ever. if you were somehow chewing obnoxiously loud, chances are people would be shooting you dirty looks. Best wishes with this challenging situation. My co-worker incessantly pops and sucks gum, even pulling it in and out of her mouth with her fingers. Should she reach out? But of course I want to be told when I'm disturbing someone's ability to work. This is something that I think he'd feel humiliated to hear no matter how you put it. My coworker chews gum really loudly and it annoys me. People love drama. (And probably start listening to something like soothing music or white noise with my headphones or quietly seeking a more distant spot in the office to which you can relocate.) If yes, then buy those earplugs ASAP. Earplugs are inexpensive and drown out unwanted sounds in the office, whether it is your babbling coworker's voice, his chewing of gum or his blasting of heavy metal music.
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