I'm sitting in front of a co-worker that makes weird noises, slurps very loudly from his water bottle (and always finalise with an irritating AHHHHHH!, at least twice every 30 mins or so), mumbles non-stop while he's coding, strikes the keyboard very hard(so hard that my desk moves!), jumps on his chair (I can see his head going up and down though the separation panel, for god's sake) and kicks my desktop several times a day. I know is not intentional and maybe he might have some issues.

He's a good guy, but the noise and jumping is driving me crazy and since he's very (VERY) socially awkward I don't want to approach him directly, because i think i might make him feel terrible. Plus, there's no way to explain what kind of noises are so annoying without sounding like i'm mocking him (yes, the noises are funny). I tried sending a few times via slack a "breaking the keyboard again?" with the appropriate joke tone for example, but he doesn't seem to get the hint. He just answers back with a "haha" and keeps going.

Is there any way to make things better?


Is there any way to make things better?

As in most personal problems, you should talk to the person that is the source of your discomfort and politely make him aware of it.

The fact that he is "socially awkward" has nothing to do with you having to tolerate or withhold any comments or requests. In fact, if you are kind with your request you are even doing him a favor, as everyone has to learn how to interact with others in a workplace sooner or later. What better than making it sooner and in good terms.

Also, I suggest you try to understand why he is doing such noises, so you can get a better idea of his motivations of doing so. Maybe he is under a lot of stress, and what could really help him is someone to talk to him and give some lifting words. (Besides some people have strange habits when "on the zone").

If this continues on, and still you find it disturbing and impedes you to do your work then consider escalating this to your manager, but always in a respectful and constructive way.

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    What I would add to this, is to choose the most annoying things first. Hitting him with so many things to change at once is likely to be disheartening and he is not likely to be able to make the change. Giving him one at a time will work better. Note however, that with a person like this who makes noises unconscious and it is very difficult to get rid of unconscious behaviors, so don't expect miracles. – HLGEM Oct 13 '17 at 14:53

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