Nose-Picking Nature: How to approach someone’s bad habit

by epi on September 13, 2012

Q: How do I approach a co-worker about their nose-picking habit?  The conversation is certainly awkward.  What’s the best approach?

A: Awkward?  Certainly.  Necessary?  Absolutely.  Just remember: The goal is to correct the behavior, not embarrass the person.  Shouting across the room, “John, quit picking your nose; it’s disgusting!” isn’t the best solution.  Instead, the conversation should be in private and be handled by someone who is a good friend and someone the person trusts; a casual acquaintance won’t be as effective.  If no good friend exists at the workplace, then a manager would be the right person.  The manager or friend asks to meet at a time and place where no one can overhear them and says words to the effect of, “Jim (or Jane), I want to talk to you about something that is difficult for me to bring up.  If the shoe was on the other foot, I would want someone to talk with me.  I’m hoping you feel the same way, because I want to alert you to something that is a problem.  So here it goes.  I’m sure you don’t realize it, but you have a habit of picking your nose that is noticeable.  I wanted you to know because I would hate for something like this to detract from who you are and I’m worried it may affect you professionally at a meeting with a client or with senior management.”  It isn’t easy to initiate such a sensitive conversation, but it is a kind act, and the truth is we all would appreciate someone letting us know if we were offending others.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mariette's Back to Basics September 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm

The above approach is a very effective one and will no doubt have quite some impact. One never knows why people do this but if it is a lack on parental guidance, it does need to be addressed here. Very much so out of hygiene standards too.
Sincerely,
Mariette’s Back to Basics

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