We both are pipeline developers working in an animation company. As we are developers, we deal with text-editors/IDE.

I use certain tools that suit my needs. A coworker who is unfamiliar with that tool says these can be done with Y tool as well, then why do you use X tool. I have told him this is because of familiarity, but this doesn't stop him from including show off in the conversation we have afterwards.

  • 1
    What is it that you want to happen? What does dealing with it look like, in your ideal outcome?
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 16:58
  • Could you edit to speak less of the technology description and more about what the issue is? "I use a particular tool that suits my needs. A coworker who is unfamiliar with that tool." This probably says all we need to know about what's behind this.
    – SemiGeek
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 17:08
  • 1
    Is there a cultural difference? I once made a joke with some team members from another country and caused a lot of worry I entirely did not mean. This coworker may well be just kidding around. If not, this may be more a matter of their insecurity than anything you're doing wrong.
    – SemiGeek
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 17:14
  • @JohnSpiegel Insecurity can be the thing. Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 17:56
  • 4
    Is this a Vim vs. Emacs thing? Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 4:16

5 Answers 5


This sounds like a developer that either is insecure of their own abilities or doesn't recognise there is no One True Way to work. There are a few things you can do to deal with it depending on what your objective is.

If you just want to be left alone and don't care about dealing with this person, you can say something like "what works for me, works for me" or "you're the only one treating it like a competition". Don't cover anything that goes beyond inoffensive facts or you may wind up in trouble.

If you do care about dealing with this person, you might want to ask him why the way you work bothers him so.

  • 1
    I think this is the only relevant answer (along with Spiegel's comment). The OP being concerned about the relations with his colleagues should be praised, not dismissed.
    – Helen
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 18:15
  • +1 - In development many roads may lead you to Rome!
    – iLuvLogix
    Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 7:54

This is simply not worth getting worked up over. In my office the other sys admins enjoy using VIM, where as I prefer Nano. There is often playful banter back and fourth in regards to our choices but at the end of the day we all get the job done.

Simply inform him, this is simply your preference due to the ease of use and versatility. Perhaps offer to show him the ins and outs if he would be interested in perhaps expanding his repertoire. This is could a situation where kindness and patience wins the day. If he is uninterested, let him know that the offer will always be open to him if he changes his mind.


Just roll with it.

"Yes, I like to show off.


"No, I don't need to show off. I am obviously better than you are."


If the answer is familiarity, another way to phrase that answer that might get the point across better is,

I don't know enough about tool Y to even say why I might not want to use it. But I know tool X. It does the job I need it to, and I don't want to take the time to learn tool Y. Learning tool X already took too much of my time.

At this point, you're clearly not showing off. Anyone who thinks you're showing off when you're saying you don't want to take the time to learn something is probably going to think you're showing off no matter what.

This is basically the reason I give people for preferring vim to nano. I've met a few people who can't understand how I can possibly know vim the way I do, and not have time to learn nano. But knowing how to use nano isn't universal knowledge, and I got my introduction to unix nine years before nano even existed. While it's true pico existed already, that was part of pine, and my introductory mail tool was mailx. I didn't learn pine until after college, at which point it was natural for me to spend more time learning how to get it to use nvi for my editor than to learn how to use its default.

All I really know about nano and pico are that they're basically always in insert mode, and there's control keys to get them to do special things. Hit enough control keys, and I can get out of them. But I've no idea how to do macros, or shift blocks, or run scripts on portions of the text, or anything.

(Disclaimer: I've since been told that nano and pico don't have macros, can't shift blocks, and can't run scripts on portions of the text. I still wouldn't claim to know this, because it's just something I've been told. For all I know, it's just FUD. Even if it was true at one point in time, that was years ago; I've no reason to believe it's still true. But what is still true is I don't know how to do those things in those editors... or save a file or load a new file or so on. I know how to in the editor I use, that's enough for me.)


The question I would like to ask you is 'what is it about the word showing off' that bothers you so much?, If you are being helpful team member, having good relationships with your peers, and honestly getting the job done in all honestly

why does his comment bother you so much? It's only his opinion. Opinions are not facts.

If you feel his comments are belittling or undermining you then in all honesty draw a boundary with it.

You can say something along the lines

  1. X, you said I was a showing off. Can you give ME a specific incident when I did this? I need to be made aware of it' (trust me this will make him stop and pause shifting the power dynamic, which is what this is, back X to justify the comment. Watch your tonality make it conversational).
  2. He may give you an incident. Then ask, 'can you give me another?' If they can give you another go back to step 1 for a third or more incidents.

On the whole most people cannot give you another incident they base on their decision on JUST one or two incident. One or two things are NOT consistent pattern of behaviour (a pattern is all day everyday).

while keeping the conversation friendly you can say:

"I respect the way you do things and the tools you use. I expect you as a professional you to reciprocate with the way I do my JOB. It's not done the same way as you, it's different and equally as effective. That is NOT showing off. I hope this put's the matter to rest. "


  • You have told him to give you proof
  • You have dominated this conversation
  • You have told him the behaviour is not acceptable
  • You have kept the conversation professional and non confrontational
  • You have told him to focus on his job and keep his mouth shut

Trust me, he will never speak to you like that again!!!!

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