Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: Mental Magpie on November 05, 2012, 06:58:24 PM

Title: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 05, 2012, 06:58:24 PM
My basic training academy is set up like a classroom at tables.  We are encouraged to sit next to a new person everyday, and most of us stick to that.  Today, someone to whom I have never set next sat down beside me.  Everything was fine all morning, but then we came back from lunch.  She sat there chewing her gum with her mouth open, making that awful smacking sound.  Not only did it make me antsy (yes, it bothers me that much), but it was severely distracting otherwise.  I wanted to ask her to stop, but I felt like she might take it as a personal attack.  What, if anything, can I say in the future if this happens even if it isn't necessarily her?
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: misha412 on November 05, 2012, 07:26:09 PM
I would wait for a quiet moment and then say something like, "I hate to ask this, but, here goes. The sound of gum chewing makes me antsy. Can you stop chewing gum?"

By making it about you, you are not making a personal attack against her.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: cicero on November 06, 2012, 03:58:39 AM
I would wait for a quiet moment and then say something like, "I hate to ask this, but, here goes. The sound of gum chewing makes me antsy. Can you stop chewing gum?"

By making it about you, you are not making a personal attack against her.
this.

and be thankful that this isn't your permanent roommate, like mine, who pops her gum (I did ask her to stop. she "forgets" that it's annoying...), chomps on crunchy vegetables all.day.long, yawns really really really loudly with theatrical effects all.day.long, and talks to her computer. well, i talk to my computer too, so can't complain too much about that. ;D but the other stuff is *really* annoying...

gum popping - besides being annoying - is IMHO very unprofessional.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Giggity on November 06, 2012, 06:17:15 AM
Gum-chewing at all is unprofessional, I think. I can't stand the stuff.

That said, if you can chew it so I don't notice you're chewing it, you're doing it right.

And a whole lot of people think they can chew it unobtrusively and they are incorrect.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: WillyNilly on November 06, 2012, 07:16:39 AM
There is nothing wrong with gum chewing and asking someone to stop is obnoxious, SS and way beyond the scope of even remotely OK. Gum chewing is certainly a much healthier a habit then not gum chewing and she might have a justified need to do so.

There is something wrong with chewing with one's mouth open, which is aside from visually gross, quite loud. Its perfectly reasonable to mention her chewing is quite loud and would she please be mindful of that and take steps to be more quiet such as closing her mouth and not chomping. The OP doesn't mention popping or snapping but it would be reasonable to ask someone to stop snapping their gum as well.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Shopaholic on November 06, 2012, 07:31:31 AM
I think it's highly likely that she doesn't even notice how loud her chewing is.
I know that I chew loudly, but I wouldn't have known that if someone hadn't pointed it out to me.
Unfortunately, that someone chose to tell me that I chew like a cow, rather than ask me politely to chew with less gusto.

I don't think it's too different than asking her to stop tapping her pen or cracking her knuckles, if she were so inclined. I like misha's suggestion.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 06, 2012, 07:44:19 AM
It's not the sound of chewing gum that bothers me, it's the sound of chewing anything with your mouth open, which she is doing with her gum.  Smack, smack, smack, smack, and I can't concentrate and get antsy in my seat.  It's really just the sound that's distracting; I didn't know she was even chewing it until she started to with her mouth open.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: O'Dell on November 06, 2012, 09:08:08 AM
"Wow. You're really enjoying that gum." ;)
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: mbbored on November 06, 2012, 10:02:52 AM
There is nothing wrong with gum chewing and asking someone to stop is obnoxious, SS and way beyond the scope of even remotely OK. Gum chewing is certainly a much healthier a habit then not gum chewing and she might have a justified need to do so.

There is something wrong with chewing with one's mouth open, which is aside from visually gross, quite loud. Its perfectly reasonable to mention her chewing is quite loud and would she please be mindful of that and take steps to be more quiet such as closing her mouth and not chomping. The OP doesn't mention popping or snapping but it would be reasonable to ask someone to stop snapping their gum as well.

While I agree with your second point, we'll have to agree to disagree on the first one.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: WillyNilly on November 06, 2012, 11:28:10 AM
There is nothing wrong with gum chewing and asking someone to stop is obnoxious, SS and way beyond the scope of even remotely OK. Gum chewing is certainly a much healthier a habit then not gum chewing and she might have a justified need to do so.

There is something wrong with chewing with one's mouth open, which is aside from visually gross, quite loud. Its perfectly reasonable to mention her chewing is quite loud and would she please be mindful of that and take steps to be more quiet such as closing her mouth and not chomping. The OP doesn't mention popping or snapping but it would be reasonable to ask someone to stop snapping their gum as well.

While I agree with your second point, we'll have to agree to disagree on the first one.

I'm not sure what there is to disagree on - its proven that chewing [certain] gum has real health benefits and I would have thought it universally accepted that its not ok to tell someone what they can or cannot put in their own bodies... but ok.

But regardless the offending person was chewing with their mouth open - that was the real offense not the actual gum chewing itself, so yes of course MM can simply ask they close their mouth while they chew, which should significantly cut down on noise.

One explanation actually could be the person suffers from allergies and was specifically chewing a xylitol gum (which can reduce allergies) and was chewing with their mouth open because they were a bit stuffed up and found it easier to mouth breathe.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Shopaholic on November 06, 2012, 01:24:17 PM
I don't think that's the issue. The issue is that the coworker is making a noise that makes MM uncomfortable.
It doesn't matter if she's cracking gum or sniffling or even humming to herself.
The OP is perfectly within her rights to say
"Excuse me, I find that noise very distracting. Would you mind terribly if I asked you to stop?"
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: WillyNilly on November 06, 2012, 01:33:33 PM
^ Right  :D

My point is its ok to ask them to stop chewing loudly/stop making smacking sounds.  Since they were chewing with their mouth open this should be easy for them to stop - closing their mouth will significantly lessen the noise.
 
Its not ok to ask them to stop chewing gum though, at least not as a first resort.  And its such an unreasonable request its likely to not accomplish anything.

Its not the gum chewing that is the problem, its the sound.  They can continue one while stopping the other.

(Sorry I tend to get a bit defensive on the subject on these boards because there are some seriously anti-gum-chewing-at-any-time posters who are downright nasty at times in how "disgusting" and "unprofessional" and and all sorts of other nasty untrue words, etc gum chewing is, when really its not any of those things.  Some of the associated issues, like sounds of chewing or snapping are annoying and perhaps gross and unprofessional, but not all gum chewers chew loudly or snap.)
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: RegionMom on November 07, 2012, 07:52:15 AM
Went to an appt. where the doctor had a piece of gum planted between her teeth so hard that it gave her a lisp as she spoke.
At first, I thought she had a speech impediment, but the I saw the gum.  She was not smacking it, not even chewing it, but was speaking to me through almost clenched teeth.
I admit that it took me off guard, since I work at a school where no gum is allowed (trash, smells, wrappers, gum residue, sharing issues)

As for the OP's concern, it was a lunch table, so I would expect the sound of chewing.  Since it is supposed to be a new person each time, just move while saying, "I already sat with you, maybe next time, gotta follow policy!"

Oh, wait, it was after lunch.  Maybe she was 'brushing" her teeth with the gum?  For fresh breath?  I dunno.  grin and bear it?
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: MariaE on November 07, 2012, 08:37:24 AM
Oh, wait, it was after lunch.  Maybe she was 'brushing" her teeth with the gum?  For fresh breath?  I dunno.  grin and bear it?

That's what I do. My dentist has told me to eat gum after meals. I keep it quiet though, and remove it immediately if I have to go to a meeting or something similar.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: WillyNilly on November 07, 2012, 08:47:16 AM
Went to an appt. where the doctor had a piece of gum planted between her teeth so hard that it gave her a lisp as she spoke.
At first, I thought she had a speech impediment, but the I saw the gum.  She was not smacking it, not even chewing it, but was speaking to me through almost clenched teeth.
I admit that it took me off guard, since I work at a school where no gum is allowed (trash, smells, wrappers, gum residue, sharing issues)

I think that nicotine gums are supposed to be used like this.  I never used them myself, but my understanding is you don't chew them per say but rather just hold them down between your teeth chomping them only occasionally.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: HenrysMom on November 07, 2012, 12:33:38 PM
Oh my dear diety, I had one of those.  "Louise" would pop her gum constantly and so loudly it could be heard across the room.  When asked, she would stop for five minutes, then "POP."  I finally went to my supervisor, who essentially said it was my problem, until she had to sit in our area when they re-carpeted her office.  Magically, Louise was transferred to another building shortly after.  Her new coworker was an older woman who did not suffer fools (or gum poppers), and Louise stopped chewing/popping.

Louise was put on medical leave after she drank an entire bottle of cough syrup on the job and never returned.  I think coworker was relieved to be rid of her, as Louise was truly a disaster waiting to happen.

OP, depending on how long you're stuck with her, continue to ask her.  If it doesn't work, don't hesitate to go to the person in charge and impress upon them how irritating and distracting it is to you and possibly others.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: RegionMom on November 07, 2012, 02:05:10 PM
Went to an appt. where the doctor had a piece of gum planted between her teeth so hard that it gave her a lisp as she spoke.
At first, I thought she had a speech impediment, but the I saw the gum.  She was not smacking it, not even chewing it, but was speaking to me through almost clenched teeth.
I admit that it took me off guard, since I work at a school where no gum is allowed (trash, smells, wrappers, gum residue, sharing issues)

I think that nicotine gums are supposed to be used like this.  I never used them myself, but my understanding is you don't chew them per say but rather just hold them down between your teeth chomping them only occasionally.


hmmm...did not know that!  She told me she was pregnant with her third child, and is a dermatologist, plus I did not detect a hint of smoke with my very sensitive nose...
follow-up for DD's appt is in 6 weeks.  Wonder if the doctor will still have the gum?
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Kaypeep on November 07, 2012, 02:13:44 PM
I work with a popper/loud chewer.  I put headphones on with music and could STILL hear him. So I very politely asked him if he would not pop anymore, or chew open mouthed, because it was quite distracting in a nails-on-a-blackboard kind of way, and that I DID try to block him out with the headphones but it didn't work, so could he please be more mindful.  He has improved (not stopped totally) but what's more annoying now is that he's a bit snarky and acts like a victim and brings up my request to elicit sympathy, like I'm a mean person. But I have called him out on that, too, by using humor.  So it hasn't escalated and things are okay.  But it irks me that he tries to make me out to be a bad guy when he's the rude one!  He also keeps 2 liter bottles of soda under his desk to refill his drink cup, and eats snacks out of loud plastic bags that crinkle and make a lot of noise, like pretzels and chips.  That bugs me too, more for sanitary reasons than the noise.  But I'm not complaining about that.  I pick my battles, and the gum popping is way worse to me, so that's what I keep focusing on and trying to stop.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 08, 2012, 08:43:12 AM
That's of what I'm afraid, her acting like I'm the bad guy.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Shopaholic on November 08, 2012, 09:54:39 AM
That's of what I'm afraid, her acting like I'm the bad guy.

So what if she does? You are all in a classroom, it can't be that you are the only one who can hear her chew.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Kaypeep on November 08, 2012, 11:48:23 AM
That's of what I'm afraid, her acting like I'm the bad guy.

So what if she does? You are all in a classroom, it can't be that you are the only one who can hear her chew.

Exactly.  My CW has tried to make me out to be the bad guy and when he did, I simply said flat out "I don't understand why I'm the bad guy here?  YOU are the one who is chewing and popping something in your mouth that is so loud it can be heard above the noise of my headphones, and I politely asked you to simply close your mouth when you chewed so as not to make so much noise anymore.  I didn't ask you to stop chewing gum, just to do it quietly.  Why am *I* the bad person?  I haven't said a word since my initial request but YOU keep bringing it up to elicity sympathy.  WHY?"  He had no answer to that.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Giggity on November 09, 2012, 12:47:22 PM
That's of what I'm afraid, her acting like I'm the bad guy.

Why be afraid? Why care what she thinks or acts like?
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 09, 2012, 01:37:31 PM
The way we present ourselves to the public can be very important in my field. I fear what would happen if the instructors heard something bad abou me that wasn't true. They are good people and would probably ask me my side, but I don't even want it to come to that.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Kiwichick on November 09, 2012, 06:28:28 PM
The way we present ourselves to the public can be very important in my field. I fear what would happen if the instructors heard something bad abou me that wasn't true. They are good people and would probably ask me my side, but I don't even want it to come to that.

You are training to be a corrections officer, you will be expected to deal assertively with a load of people who may not what to do what you want them to do.  I can't see how speaking politely to this woman to get what you want can reflect poorly on you.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 09, 2012, 07:48:14 PM
The way we present ourselves to the public can be very important in my field. I fear what would happen if the instructors heard something bad abou me that wasn't true. They are good people and would probably ask me my side, but I don't even want it to come to that.

You are training to be a corrections officer, you will be expected to deal assertively with a load of people who may not what to do what you want them to do.  I can't see how speaking politely to this woman to get what you want can reflect poorly on you.

She is a fellow employee, so it does matter a little actually, especially because I am no way in authority over her.  I have no problem with authority and exercising it; this is a peer, and thus not treating someone with respect (if she saw it that way) is not OK.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Shopaholic on November 09, 2012, 11:36:07 PM
The way we present ourselves to the public can be very important in my field. I fear what would happen if the instructors heard something bad abou me that wasn't true. They are good people and would probably ask me my side, but I don't even want it to come to that.

You are training to be a corrections officer, you will be expected to deal assertively with a load of people who may not what to do what you want them to do.  I can't see how speaking politely to this woman to get what you want can reflect poorly on you.

She is a fellow employee, so it does matter a little actually, especially because I am no way in authority over her.  I have no problem with authority and exercising it; this is a peer, and thus not treating someone with respect (if she saw it that way) is not OK.

Unless you have already clashed with this person personality-wise, I think you are really, really overthinking this.
Asking someone politely to chew gum more quietly is not exerting authority.
If mutual respect is so important in your training, then her refusing a polite request would be severely disrespecting you.

I  may be way off here, but does your training have an element of peer social review? Where your peers rate you based on your personality? If so, she would be bending over backwards to oblige you - but she can't know it bothers you if you don't speak up.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 10, 2012, 06:32:11 AM
There is a possibility I am over thinking this, I'll give you that.

There is no peer review.
Title: Re: Stop chewing your gum so loud!
Post by: jayhawk on November 11, 2012, 12:32:48 PM
My daughter complains that I do this. "Cow chewing cud, Mom.". Message received.