Post # 1
OK Bees so I started a new job a couple of months ago & I have a tricky situation I really don’t know how to deal with. I’m very sensitive to noise & if there’s too much background noise I just can’t concentrate. My colleague at the desk next to mine is a middle aged bachelor who I really think has lived alone for a little too long. Whilst a really nice guy who’s been very helpful showing me the ropes he is slowly driving me insane because he is never, ever silent;
1) He talks to himself. I think it’s unconscious but he seems to verbalise every single thought process so I’m sat next to a constant stream of ‘‘Ooooh, now that’s interesting. Hmmm, now what to do, what to do. Really? Well I don’t know’’.
2) He breaths loudly, OK that sounds a bit crazy but he really does, he will regularly take really deep breaths and then let out long, loud sighs. When you’re trying to concentrate its infuriating
3) He regularly makes loud mouth noises, it’s hard to explain but imagine someone eating really loudly, it’s like that except he’s not even eating!
I don’t want to hurt his feelings but it really is driving me nuts. I’ve tried pointing out the talking to himself in a casual, joking way to try to bring it to his attention & that’s had no effect.
When he’s sighing a lot I’ve made a point of asking if he’s OK in a concerned way that stops him for a few minutes then he starts again.
The problem is it’s all unconscious so I guess what I’m looking for are suggestions on how to block it out / deal with it. Has anyone else had to deal with anything like this??
Post # 2
Steph77: Can you wear ear buds and listen to music while you work? Or just turn music on softly?
I can’t stand “eating” noises…oh my gosh…they gross me out. That would drive me nuts too! At the last resort, is there anywhere else you could move your desk?
Post # 3
Steph77: You have what’s called misophonia. I have it too. Try googling it. There’s some advice for coping online. The only thing that has ever helped me has been to block it out with ear plugs our headphones. Breathing, sniffing, coughing drives me into a mad rage. Especially when I am trapped with someone who is familiar to me and repeatedly makes the same sounds. Torture!
Post # 4
Steph77: I used to work with two guys EXACTLY like this…it drove me crazy! The first guy was young, he would talk (and sing!) to himself all the time. Eventually, he left the job to go back to grad school, and his replacement was even worse. He was very overweight, and the breathing was out-of-control loud. He made so many weird noises, was always coming up to me to “chat” about nothing, etc. I ended up leaving the job to go back to grad school, but when I was deciding, his presence was a factor in why I decided to leave! So, yeah…I know what you’re going through and I feel your pain. Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice for you. Good luck!
Post # 5
Steph77: I have a VERY similar co-worker. I’ve never been good at tuning stuff out either. I just kind of got used to it. I have another co-worker who talks and laughs VERY loudly all day. Indoor voices, people.
Post # 6
- Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL
Steph77: Do we work with the same person!? I was literally contemplating making a similar post this morning after a coworker of mine loudly proclaimed “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO TODAY.” And will.not.stop.talking.to.me. Um, I have stuff to do today, STFU!
Post # 7
That sucks, I’m sorry. You seem to realize this, but obviously you can’t expect this guy to change the way he breathes.
I’d recommend investing in some noise-cancelling headphones. If there’s not a culture in your workplace of wearing headphones, let your boss know that in order to do your job well, you really need to be able to focus & you find wearing noise-cancelling headphones helps you do that.
Post # 8
- Wedding: February 2013 - Mansion House at the MD Zoo
I second the suggestion for headphones, if you can get away with it. This is going to sound kind of weird, but have you ever been screened for ADD/ADHD? I’m asking because I have ADD and I am very very easily distracted by little sounds like breathing and other people talking and stuff. Like, to the point where I don’t get my work done and it’s caused problems for me. I now take Adderall and it’s 10 million times better. I’ve also found that listening to **familiar** music very softly helps me, or classical music that doesn’t have lyrics that are distracting. You could also maybe try white noise, either from a white boise machine or there are YouTube videos that you can loop. Good luck! I used to share an office with a lovely woman who talked to herself and by the time she left I was ready to murder her.