Q: I have a co-worker who yawns all day, quite loudly, as if his intent is to be heard over everything else. I get infuriated by this and believe it to be very rude and unprofessional. Why must we all have to check out his tonsils regularly?
A: Personal idiosyncrasies are the cause of some of the most frustrating office situations. It’s all too easy for one person to do something bothersome like yawning loudly without being aware of how it’s affecting his colleagues. I’m assuming in this case that the perpetrator doesn’t realize the impact of his actions. First, ask yourself if you’re absolutely sure you want to address this issue. Sometimes, especially at work, the best solution is to learn to live with other people’s idiosyncrasies, just as they’ve learned to live with yours. If you decide to talk with the yawner, do it quietly — you’re not trying to embarrass him: “John, you may not realize it, but those yawns can be pretty distracting. Could you do me a favor and try to be a little quieter? Covering your mouth with your hand would help, I’m sure. Thanks.”