The new guy in my office has Tourette's sniffles and it's driving me nuts. How do I cope?

There’s a new guy who’s been in my office for about 2 weeks now. He sits in an adjacent aisle, about 10 feet away from me as the crow flies. He’s not sick and doesn’t have a cold because he talks normally. But he does a compulsive sniff at least once a minute. We spend 40 hours a week working in adjacent aisles AND IT’S DRIVING ME FUCKING MAD. Especially in the evenings when there are fewer sounds in the office to cover the sound up/absorb it. I hear him sniff once, get kinda grossed out and peeved, then await the next one which comes with regularity within 15-45 seconds. It gets really hard to focus on anything else.

I don’t know the guy. I wouldn’t presume to talk to him about it. I know he can’t likely help it and may not even be aware of it. But I wanted to vent (fffffffffFFFFFF!) and I wonder if I complain about it, could I maybe get my cubicle moved? Or should I resort to suffering through it forever? bleh. blehblehablaehalfhsdfkjh

What the hell is “Tourette’s sniffles”?
Does he mutter an obscenity every time his nose makes a noise?

I take it you can’t listen to an ipod ? I’d request a move, that would drive me insane as well after awhile.

My brother does this, and it’s infuriating. I tend to only see him at Christmas fortunately, so I’m usually capable of putting up with it for a couple of days. A few years ago, I found myself sharing a room with him and discovered to my horror that he does it in his sleep.

SniffSniffSniff… <pause> SniffSniffSniff…

Eventually, in an attempt to get some sleep, I decided to try the counting sheep trick, and count sniffs in an attempt to nod off. I got to around 300 before giving up and moving to the sofa in the living room.

I have no advice to give, but I really do sympathise.

If the guy in question happens to in fact be my brother, then you have my permission to give him a smack.

hugs **I feel for you. ** Our office is pleasantly quiet save for the guy who does a breathy whistle ALL THE GODDAMNED TIME.

He’s also the one who likes to read the headlines aloud and then comment.

He just rolled in with a breathy tune and then comment about class sizes in Michigan - yes, he meant Wisconsin. Fucking twit.

I just poked in my headphones. Sometimes I don’t even plug them into a device, just use them as earplugs.

The guy next to me is apparently overwhelmed with work, given his frequent under-the-breath-curses and mad rumpling of paper.

This has been going on for a few months now. Infuriating to the extreme.

If it bothers you enough, talk to him about it. If not, suck it up or put something in your ears.

If it were me, I’d just respond to every sniffle with an over-the-top sniffle/snort of my own until he gets the picture and shuts the fuck up. But then, that’s probably one of the reasons I no longer work in an office. :slight_smile:

If you can’t have headphones, get a small fan for white noise to drown him out.

When he’s not there, leave a box of sudafed decongestant on his desk, along with a complete printout of this page and links:

Chronic Non Allergic Rhinitis

He can get help from his Doc. Seriously.

Decongestant alone may actually not help much if the problem is post-nasal drip, rather than congestion.

-VT, long-time post-nasal drip sufferer who a) really tries not to annoy his cube neighbors with constant sniffling, b) has already had sinus surgery, and c) has tried an array of different prescription nasal sprays and oral antihistamines without much success. <snif>

Tourette’s doesn’t mean swearing. It’s a tic disorder and the tics can include sniffing, coughing, or throat clearing.

If he really does have Tourette’s, there’s not much you can do about it. I had a boss that would cough a single, loud, hoarse cough every two minutes or so. She had already been to several doctors who had offered no solution, so the rest of us just had to live with it.

I know it’s not exclusively swearing, but I’ve never heard that it expressed itself as sniffles. I googled “Tourette’s sniffles” and the only hit I got was this thread.

Check the second paragraph. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourette_syndrome Your search was too exclusive.

My son has Tourette’s and his only ‘vocal’ tic is sniffing. I truly sympathize. However, everytime I want to strangle him because it’s driving me nuts, I think about what he has to deal with.

In fact, in speaking with his pediatrician, most people who end up on tic medication do so because they are bothering others and not themselves.

However, it is possible that the guy is just sniffly. It wouldn’t hurt to have a non-threatening chat with him. He might not even be aware that he is doing it let alone that it is aggraviting others.

Thanks for the white noise/fan suggestion, I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me! And for the sympathies. :slight_smile: I can’t put on headphones or earplugs because it’s a call center and I have to hear my phone beep. But I don’t have noise-canceling so I can still hear him through the headset. argh

But strangely enough, a solution to the problem has fallen out of the sky and bonked me on the head. I got offered a shift change from second shift to a “normal” work schedule! (Which I have been on a waiting list for since I started here in 2008!) So I’ll be doing 830-5 while he’s still on 330-midnight. And 330-5 is a very busy part of the day for us, so I don’t expect to be bothered by it after Friday. hooray :smiley:

Congrats on the shift change!