Nitpicking 101: Mouth Noises Are The Enemy

OK, so we all know we hate it. And who can blame us? Mouth noises are an enemy to many of us, occasionally causing conflict between a loud eater and a present listener. There is nothing worse than hearing someone’s saliva, tongue, and lips join together as a team to make the world’s most disgusting noise on earth. Or at least one of the top five worst, right?

Even our friends are guilty of it. “It can sometimes ruin my day when I get annoyed with my roommate chewing too loudly in the morning,” says sophomore public relations major Emily Uliano.

Have no fear! There is hope for what you can do to help yourself in this situation.  Certain steps need to be taken in order to save you from creating an unnecessary fight with your friends and roommates.

This is your guide to handling mouth noises and the culprit behind them in a friendly manor.

Lets imagine the ideal situation in which a mouth noise can make an unwelcome appearance. You are sitting on your couch in your apartment, about to finish the final pages of Lena Dunham’s, Not That Kind of Girl. Your roommate, who has a bad history of being a loud eater, enters the kitchen and begins to make herself a bowl of oatmeal. When you hear the equally annoying scraping of the fork against the dish, you know what’s coming next. At this moment you should stop, take a deep breath, and consider some of the following approaches:

1. Make a joke

Instead of getting angry and storming out of the room, try making a joke with your roommate. You could begin by making a similar noise back, following with something along the lines of  “You sound like a dying animal in the desert, trying to moisten its mouth in hopes of survival.” Now, hopefully, you and your friend are on close enough terms for a comment like this to be appropriate, otherwise I would suggest you choose a different tactic.

2. Clear your throat

Clearing your throat every time you hear their mouth noise can send a hint to the eater to consider what could be triggering you to do that. It can also prevent you from having to hear their chewing.

3. Put your headphones in

Putting headphones in is another way to avoid having to listen to the noise in quiet areas, such as your dorm or apartment. It can distract you and take your mind off what is bothering you.

4. Politely confront them

Try talking to your friend if it bothers you to a point where your friendship is really suffering from it. Saying, “Is there anyway you can chew with your mouth closed? Sorry, my mom used to yell at me every time I did it, so I can’t help but notice it more than a normal person would.” Hopefully he or she is able to laugh and give it a try.

5. Leave the area

If all else fails, try removing yourself from the situation. Uliano says, “I usually go into a different room if the noise starts to bother me.”

In the end, it helps to look at the picture as a whole and realize that your friendship is more important than any annoying trait your friend might possess. For some of you, nitpicking may not even be worth it in this situation. As always, just remember to choose your battles, my friends.