I'm a junior dev in Japan and sometimes I need to talk to a senior engineer when I run into tasks that I may not be able to complete or whenever I have a question he would be the best source to answer them.

The problem

He talks to himself about everything. e.g. He finishes a task "finally im done!! yeah!" then looks around, usually at me.

Usually I just ignore this sort of thing but it gets to the point where he asks me to do something, I do that something and get him to check. He would then mutter "what the fuck is this lol" (usually laughing out loud)


How can I confront to him about his habit of talking to himself in a professional way and not appearing emotionally intimidated by his behavior?

  • This is not a duplicate as this includes the aspect of them working next to eachother on the same screen. and THEN muttering "wtf is this?". meaning that headphones are out of the question. – Migz Feb 24 '17 at 6:51
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    Agreed in my answer below, I don't think any of the answers to that other question are good remedy, but it is a very similar situation. OPs interactions aren't limited to shared screen moments and I don't think they're the main focus of the question. – user30031 Feb 24 '17 at 7:02
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    The problem is that OP's co-worker is either oblivious or doesn't care about their own distracting nature. – user30031 Feb 24 '17 at 7:03

Ignoring it is the best policy. Everyone has quirks, this is just your coworkers habit. Tune it out.

Confronting him about it is not likely to make much difference or be good for your working relationship. And it's quite possibly a habit he cannot break anyway without making himself self conscious and impacting on his performance.

If your problem is with his use of profanity, then politely mention that you don't want to hear swearing. You can move on from whatever his response is to that. I wouldn't escalate until I had at least informed the coworker that swearing is off limits and got a negative response.


This has been asked here before[1,2,3], but unfortunately, I don't think those questions got any definitive answers besides the obvious "wear headphones or deal with it" and "No, try these other headphones".

You can try having a frank discussion with the co-worker and tell him that he is probably unintentionally yet thoughtlessly interrupting your workflow. You can also escalate to management if he is not amenable to that discussion.

The only other method that may have success is a compromise for scheduled quiet/no-distractions time during the day.

  • Thanks for your input. Unfortunately I can't wear headphones at my workplace because of this certain culture at my work place.. – spoon_man Feb 27 '17 at 1:20
  • Indeed, I don't recommend headphones to solve this issue. – user30031 Feb 27 '17 at 1:51

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