Weve all had them, those annoying co-workers who talk over your phone conversations, interrupt when youre talking to your boss, talk about their Friday night antics when youre trying to concentrate, or bring smelly tuna and egg salads to eat at their desk. These things can often be approached (carefully) and things may be able to change.
What if thats not all they do, theyve now started eating loudly too! This becomes a bit of a tough one; its like picking out someones body odour problem, this issue is a bit more personal.
Well dont fret, before you feel the need to rip off your arm and throw it at your colleague, read these four foolproof ways to deal with that loud eating co-worker:
#1 – Escape! The simple way to deal with something that annoys you is to escape it. Head out for lunch, or pop to the staff canteen; anywhere that means you get away from that dreaded co-worker! Even if you dont head out every day, a couple of days a week may help you to deal better with the irritation.
#2 – Talk to them… This may seem simple, or it could seem like a mountain you dont even want to attempt to climb, but talking to someone in a confidential way can help to solve the issue. Your co-worker may not realize they have a problem, but when you mention it to them they will become aware and try to fix it. Remember to be kind to them when you present the issue – we all have annoying habits!
It may be worth chatting to your manager about what youre planning to do first though, theres always a chance your co-worker could take it badly and be upset by your comments.
#3 – Noise cancelling headphones? This may seem a bit extreme, but if you really cant face talking to your co-worker, and you have nowhere else to go to escape them, this tip could really work! Even regular headphones or ear-plugs could do the trick.
#4 – Is it you? Does your co-worker really eat loudly? If you can hear them, its very likely they do eat loudly because youre either sitting far too close (Im hoping your workplace is a little more considerate than putting you on top on your co-workers) or they are just inherently loud eaters!
But, have you considered that perhaps they dont eat loudly? Perhaps youre blowing it out of proportion? It may well be that your stress levels are particularly high, in which case all sounds seem louder and it becomes harder and harder for you to shut them out. If this is the case, maybe you need to ask yourself why youre so stressed and what you can do lower your stress levels. Perhaps you have more on your plate than you realise, or than you can handle.
Sometimes problems can feel like theyre out of control, but theres always a way to solve an issue. Think carefully about the ways that work best for you and remember everyone has annoying habits – even you.