I've recently started at a new workplace as a System developer. We sit in an "open area" with assigned workplaces where there are walls/ cabinets seperating us.

The coworker behind me was very polite at first meet and shook hands and introduced themselves. Although as my time here elapsed I noticed there seems to be something odd. The person talks to themselves about their code, and sometimes laughs. It's a bit disturbing, as i've noticed by my other coworkers reactions. When this talking begins they will put on their headphones to not get disturbed by the sounds.

No one (except the boss) really knows what they are working with either, as we have 2 breaks a day at 09.00 & 14.00 and usually eat lunch together, we also have afterwork activities sometimes. this person has never attented any of these events during my 9 months here.

I also think there is some phobia included, at one period I had the workplace next to the person, and everytime I would pass to go to on a break/ etc, they would lean forward as to try and avoid any contact. Once I passed the person in a hallway and the person even started draging themselves against the wall just to get as far as possible from me while passing.

I concider this quite disturbing, but also degrading (not sure if right word) in some way, it feels as if I've done something wrong at some point. Although I've tried to be extremely proffesional to make a good first impression on my first real job.

At one time another coworker walked up to this person, without their knowledge and the person got really offended telling them "never to walk up to them that fast and close again". My guess is there is some sort of phobia or maybe even a trauma that has led to this, but I am not sure.

Why is this person acting this way?

Edit As noted above my question was why the person acted that way. I was looking for some kind of information so that I would know how to approach the person if I needed to make contact. To not get yelled at as other coworkers have gotten. If this is not an appropiate question then I can close/ delete it. I was just looking for information.

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    This isn't a question we can answer, your guess is good as ours. But likely this person could have a mental issue or disease which causes them to act this way. Try not to discriminate and continue going about your work. – Twyxz Oct 22 '18 at 7:12
  • @Twyxz Absolutely not trying to discriminate the worker. I'm well aware of the work ethics, and would never do anything to try and make the person feel bad. It's more about that person making me feel bad about myself, making me question if I have done something wrong or am doing something so that the person wants to avoid me. But I guess it's a hard question to answer. Thank you – FilipE92 Oct 22 '18 at 7:29
  • Disclaimer: IANAD. That being said, your co-worker could be on the autism spectrum and as long as he is performing his duties, you might want to give him some slack. – Phil N DeBlanc Oct 22 '18 at 7:30
  • @PhilNDeBlanc Would you clarify what IANAD means? I've had that in my thoughts. I worked as an assistant for a student with autism. The question was only meant to give me some kind of information on why i shouldn't be discouraged when being treated the way i posted above. – FilipE92 Oct 22 '18 at 7:35
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    I voted to close but I just noticed you saying this is your first real job. Welcome to sometimes slightly awkward, socially uncommon world of developers. This coworker will not be the last 'strange' person you will encounter. Mind your own business, do your work. Unless you need him for anything, don't bother him. – Summer Oct 22 '18 at 8:04

Be careful with armchair diagnosis of colleagues - it doesn't work out well even (perhaps particularly) if you're working in fields like psychiatry/psychology. If you're looking for an explanation you might find one on SE Psychology & Neuroscience, but distance diagnosis often has more to do with opinion than medicine.

From a workplace perspective, there's only really one thing to consider : whether your colleagues behaviour - or your reaction to it - is affecting your productivity. If it is, it would be worth talking to your manager. I would approach this as "what can I do to help?" and not "what's wrong with John?". Your manager won't (or, at least, shouldn't) answer the second question, but they might be able to suggest something you can do so you can work effectively with your colleague.

If your productivity isn't being affected, this isn't your problem to solve. The workplace is full off eccentricities, and unless it's affecting your performance or you feel threatened the most professional response is to work with them - and, if that's not possible, around them.

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