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How to Deal With Annoying Co-Worker

Ask Savvy: How to Deal With an Annoying Co-Worker

This reader posted in our Ask Savvy group — she wants to know how to handle a co-worker that's getting on her nerves.

I sit next to a co worker all day on a switchboard, it's been me and her for the past two years, and we actually get along great. We are close friends and she was a bridesmaid in my wedding.

The thing that's driving me insane is that she is really loud while we're working next to each other, and I don't know how to address it without offending her, because she doesn't even notice it herself or mean to cause a disruption.

She breathes SO LOUD when she's eating at the desk, and it drives me insane, I've come so close to just telling her to blow her nose, because it sounds like the reason she's breathing loud is cause she needs to clear her nose. This is every day.

She's also always banging so loud on the key board when she types, slams phones down, slams cupboard doors, and is constantly chewing at her finger nails making noise

She also chews her food really loud.

It wouldn't normally bother me but it's been every day for the last 2 years, outside of work it's never a problem, just so annoying throughout the work day. What should I say without offending her to tell her that her heavy breathing and banging around is highly irritating.

Or should I just suck it up and realize people have their quirks.

Ask anything budget-, etiquette-, or planning-related — well, almost anything — by posting your questions in the Ask Savvy group, and I'll find the right expert to help you out.

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itsallabouttheg itsallabouttheg 5 years
(wo)man-up and address the phone/cabinet door slamming which is a legitimate distraction. however, given that her breathing/chewing bothers you, it sounds like there is something else entirely at play (like not being happy with your job overall).
mnp mnp 5 years
She has a lot of quirks! I would pick one or two problems and politely tell her that it is distracting to your work. i.e. "When I make phones calls, the person on the other line can hear you slam the cabinets and/or slam the phone. It makes the company appear unprofessional." Or you can talk to HR about this...maybe they can just send out a company-wide memo about office etiquette as a refresher?
HeatherMcCrae HeatherMcCrae 5 years
This is a very good problem to be aware of. I am going to suggest something that you may not want to hear. The problem is you , and not your friend. There is something WAY bigger bothering you, and she is a safe target to focus your anger on. I would encourage you to look within and get really honest. I have had this experience many times and have coached others about it too. 100% of the time, there is something bothering us. She, your co-worker, is NEVER going to change-she is who she is. her job is to be her. Ask yourself what is REALLY pissing you off or upsetting you, then you can have a good laugh or good cry, forgive yourself, and then be at peace. Look deeper, SuperPerson!
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