For years I’ve noticed that I’m really irritated by hearing people eat. Some eating noises are easier to block out and I find that if I’m eating I can usually ignore someone else. However, if someone is chewing or popping or snapping excessively loud when things are otherwise pretty quiet, it actually makes me rather angry. I find it really hard to concentrate on things when I can hear other people eating. The worst is when I’m in a staff meeting and someone is eating something crunchy or their chewing/popping gum. I have a co-worker who has the same issue and we discovered that we’re not alone in this. It’s actually a condition called misophonia. You can read an article from the NY Times about it if you click here. So it’s not just a pet peeve of mine.
More irritating? The woman who sits in the office next to mine has been on a sunflower seed kick lately. So for the last 2 weeks I’ve been hearing popping and cracking of sunflower seeds. I have to close my door and turn my music up a good bit to not hear it. The sound comes through the wall! And this goes on all day. It starts about 9:30am or so and is off and on until she leaves for the day. I think what makes it even worse is that I think sunflower seeds are gross anyway. They’re delicious, but there’s a time and place for them. The office is not one of them. I say this because she was eating them in a staff meeting once and I about lost my mind. I can’t even remember half of the meeting I was so distracted. I know I could say something but I’m kind of chicken about it. It’s awkward, right?
What would you do? Would you say something? If so, what would you say?
Are you annoyed by loud eating? Do you have any pet peeves?