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View Full Version : Is it rude to tell another adult to blow their nose?


Lobsang
10-04-2009, 12:44 PM
OK. there's a new person in my office. He keep sniffing. Once every fourteen seconds.



AAAAAAARGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Would it be rude of me to ask him to blow his nose?

Dervorin
10-04-2009, 12:49 PM
I wouldn't phrase it as "please blow your nose" but I do sympathise with your predicament. Constant sniffing is incredibly annoying. Perhaps you can say something like "Please don't take this the wrong way, but your sniffing is making it difficult for me to focus on work". Pleasantly, politely, without trying to make it a huge deal. He may be such a habitual sniffer that he just doesn't notice it any more.

Lobsang
10-04-2009, 12:55 PM
I was thinking along the lines of

"I hate to be rude but can you blow your nose. I've got hyper-sensitive hearing and it's driving me up the wall" and then smile a i'm-your-friend-so-i'm-having-a-go-at-you-in-a-friendly-way smile.

Larry Mudd
10-04-2009, 01:10 PM
I have given a tissue to a sniffler on the bus.

Quoth he, "Oh, it's not that bad."

Mudd respondeth, "Maybe not for you, but it's killing me."

I doubt that Emily Post would have approved, but it was strictly necessary.

Scougs
10-04-2009, 01:15 PM
I have a big issue with this too.

I am hypersensitive to irritating noise - clicking pens, folk rubbing their squeaky shoes against one another, fiddling with crinkly paper, and yes, sniffing. The minute I hear a noise like that I can hear no other noise in the room. It's bad enough in an open plan office, but in a meeting, it's murder.

It's a tricky one with a new colleague. I have been blunt, and said "excuse me, could you please stop sniffing?" and that has actually worked.

In a different scenario, I was on safari in Africa last year, and one lass in the tour party was sniffing. Right in my ear. While we were waiting for a lion to emerge from the brush. I turned round and offered her a tissue, and she said "no thanks, I don't need one". I said "sorry, that was my subtle way of asking you to stop sniffing". She never spoke to me again. No kidding. And she never stopped sniffing either. Argh.......

Harmonious Discord
10-04-2009, 01:29 PM
It's very annoying.

I don't know why you think if they blow their nose it will stop the problem they are having. They will have the same problem after a few seconds again. All your doing is adding cymbals to the drum beat you can't get away from.

Lobsang
10-04-2009, 01:52 PM
It's very annoying.

I don't know why you think if they blow their nose it will stop the problem they are having. They will have the same problem after a few seconds again. All your doing is adding cymbals to the drum beat you can't get away from.


I'd prefer a blow every minute than a sniff every fourteen seconds.

ETA: Whenever I've had this problem, one clear-out usually does the trick.

G. Pie
10-04-2009, 01:57 PM
Just hand him a tissue whenever he does it. Eventually, he'll get the message.

lissener
10-04-2009, 02:28 PM
Every time he sniffs, you sniff. Till he figures out you're mocking him. He'll stop.

Harmonious Discord
10-04-2009, 02:32 PM
The better solution is to stuff Klenex up the person's nose.

I couldn't listen to the sniffing or the blowing.

I've assumed this is a snot issue and not a vocal tick the person has.

Nava
10-04-2009, 03:32 PM
I'd prefer a blow every minute than a sniff every fourteen seconds.

ETA: Whenever I've had this problem, one clear-out usually does the trick.

Doesn't work for my allergies; I'm clogged but there really isn't any mucus (the walls of my nose swell). But I try to avoid the reflexive sniffling when there's people around.

Quintas
10-04-2009, 06:50 PM
The problem is when its extremely watery and immediately after you blow its dripping again. The only lasting solution is to stay home or just stuff something in each nostril.

elmwood
10-04-2009, 06:58 PM
The problem is when its extremely watery and immediately after you blow its dripping again.

This. I have allergies, and it's often accompanied by a slow drip. I equate it to a dripping water faucet; you can turn on the water at full blast for five seconds, but the dripping will resume immediately after the wfaucet is turned off.

Der Trihs
10-04-2009, 06:59 PM
"Look, I sniffed like that all the time as a kid. When I started blowing my nose instead, I breathed better, and stopped getting ear infections. And people stopped complaining about my sniffing.* Try it."



* Granted, they started complaining about nose blowing instead. You can't win, sometimes.

Broomstick
10-04-2009, 07:26 PM
I'd prefer a blow every minute than a sniff every fourteen seconds.

ETA: Whenever I've had this problem, one clear-out usually does the trick.
Good for you. When my allergies are acting up that won't work for me. I hate, hate, hate, when I'm snorting and sniffling and dripping, but there's very little I can do about it. I do carry around tissues all the time, though.

If your colleague is suffering from something like allergies there might not be a good solution. Otherwise, they have an annoying habit.

Colibri
10-04-2009, 08:23 PM
Just hand him a tissue whenever he does it. Eventually, he'll get the message.

[Buster Bluth]

"Mother! I can blow myself!"

[/Buster Bluth]

horsetech
10-05-2009, 12:26 AM
Give him some tampons and tell him they're for his nose.

Guinastasia
10-05-2009, 12:46 AM
Watch out though -- when I blow my nose, I sound like one of the Honkers on Sesame Street. So be careful what you wish for...

gwendee
10-05-2009, 09:28 AM
All I can add is, please don't blame his mother. My son is a sniffer and I don't know why, or how to stop it. I can't tell you how many times I've said "Don't shnerf. Blow your nose." I hand him tissues. There are tissues available in most rooms in our home, my car,and my purse. The problem is not lack of access to tissues. More than once he has been sent from the dining table (after several warnings) to finish his dinner alone in his room. (not often, but there are times when I just can't take one more sniff!) His response when I tell him to blow his nose is, "that doesn't work for me!" What's a mother to do???

I realize this doesn't help you, or in anyway address your OP. I think reasonable ways to approach him directly have been posted, though I'd still feel shy about it. Is your work space separate enough that you could play a radio at your desk?

Edward The Head
10-05-2009, 09:58 AM
You know, I'd love to be able to not sniff, but it doesn't work for me. I can blow my damn nose all day long and nothing will come out. One good snort and I can get a ton out. I've always been this way. I'm pretty sure it annoys people, but there's nothing I can do. I wish I could, but I can't.

Waenara
10-06-2009, 11:36 PM
I'm a sniffer, somewhat reformed. When I realize I'm doing it I make a conscious effort to not do it so much. For me it's mostly due to mild allergies for like 60% of the year (seasonal allergies, hayfever, dust, pollen, etc... and also cats).

Blowing the nose just isn't effective in dealing with my allergies. If I have a head cold or something where I'm stuffed up, I'll blow my nose and it clears stuff out and I don't have to sniff for a long time, so I blow my nose then. But if it's just my regular allergies, there isn't really anything to blow. It's just a constant thin drip. If I blow my nose, it only prevents sniffing for about 30 seconds or so, and then it's back to sniffing. If I could just blow my nose and then be fine for quite a while (like when I have a cold), I would definitely blow my nose more often.

sfjx
01-04-2011, 05:14 AM
I know this is a old thread, but I wanted to share my own story.

I have a medical problem (Empty Nose Syndrome) which causes me to sniff, otherwise I feel like I am suffocating.

My skin is pretty thick, but please just be polite and ask if the person has allergies, a medical condition, etc. and work out a appropriate plan.

I have run into this many places I have been. Nothing makes me feel more like shit than when someone is obviously mocking you by sniffing back. PLEASE do not do this.

Finally
01-04-2011, 11:52 AM
I'd recommend he try a Neti Pot or something similar. It really helps with my non stop allergy symptoms, I use it morning and night.

Dung Beetle
01-04-2011, 11:59 AM
I’ll take your sniffler if you’ll take our phlegm-cougher. The sound of wads of snot crashing about in his innards causes everyone else in the office to migrate to the other side, wearing expressions of dismay.

Rigamarole
01-04-2011, 12:02 PM
Sometimes blowing your nose doesn't help. For me it rarely does.

even sven
01-04-2011, 01:05 PM
I would be offended. There is no good way to tell people that they annoy you.

Cat Whisperer
01-04-2011, 01:38 PM
I have given a tissue to a sniffler on the bus.

Quoth he, "Oh, it's not that bad."

Mudd respondeth, "Maybe not for you, but it's killing me."

I doubt that Emily Post would have approved, but it was strictly necessary.
I like that idea, but I think my response would have been, "Yes, it is."

I also vote for just going over and handing him a tissue.

The Second Stone
01-04-2011, 02:07 PM
When I run in to this kind of situation with noses or breath, I hand a mint or a tissue to someone (box of tissues) and when they say no thank you I say "oh, you really need it" and do that over and over looking them in the eye until they get the hint.

Lynn Bodoni
01-04-2011, 02:26 PM
Yes, it's rude to tell another adult to blow his/her nose. However, it's even ruder to put up with it until one day you snap and wring his/her neck.

Seriously, hand him a tissue. Hell, give him a box of tissues if he doesn't take the hint after you've handed him half a dozen or so.

I have allergies, but I try not to make other people suffer because of that. Those little purse packets of tissues are cheap.

BigT
01-05-2011, 07:00 AM
I think handing out a tissue is probably the most polite way, and even I get the implication, and I can be rather clueless.

I also appreciate it, as I usually don't know I'm doing it.

CrazyCatLady
01-06-2011, 10:49 AM
I would be offended. There is no good way to tell people that they annoy you.

Sure there is. You present not as a failing on their part, but as something harmless that you have one of those irrationally strong reactions to, and if they could be so kind as to indulge you it would just be super. Some people will still be offended, but overall it's probably better for them be offended than bludgeoned to death with a stapler because someone just couldn't take it any more.