I work for a medium sized software development firm who provides ERP solutions.

The office space is great and so is the working culture where every department is nicely divided, even the one where I'm working (software development). We emphasize on being transparent with each other and hence we have long tables which occupy machines for 3 people per table instead of cubicles.

Due to a major project we require to re-develop our software from the base, now while this is a really big task but can be achieved with hard-work and determination which we all have. The senior developer and project head is none other than the senior who is seated besides me. Recently, the senior started tapping the keyboard so vigorously that the noise it created started affecting me and other developers as we are seated near one another being in the same project. I tried using headphones but even that didn't help much. Often when this issue occurs it feels as if I'm working in data-entry firm.

I read many articles here(WSE) but found my issue was different than others. In many articles people have suggested to talk to manager which I did, but there was no help from Manager as well and instead I was asked to let this topic go. Asking politely could escalate the matter or it may affect my work-relationship with him as he's a senior.

This guy has been no less than a mentor to me for last couple of years and has helped me a lot from my days when I knew nothing about programming.

So my question being,

  1. How to ask my senior without being rude or arrogant to stop tapping keyboard so hard?

  2. Should I tell him about the issue during a break(lunch,tea)?

Any kind of solution would be helpful.

  • Is there any reason why the normal "non-rude question" approach would not work in this situation? (Or is this more of a general "how to ask something without being rude" question?)
    – Erik
    Jun 22, 2017 at 7:19
  • This guy has been a mentor to me so I don't want to be rude while addressing my Issue
    – rshah4u
    Jun 22, 2017 at 7:24
  • I understand, but do you think you have do anything different to him than you would to anyone else?
    – Erik
    Jun 22, 2017 at 7:25
  • Note, he may not be able to change if it is a habit. Jun 22, 2017 at 8:28
  • 2
    "In many articles people have suggested to talk to manager which I did, but there was no help from Manager as well and instead I was asked to let this topic go." You are willing to risk offending your mentor AND go directly against the instructions of your manager over this? If you are a programmer, and your coworkers are actually productive, typing "noise" is a given, so I do think you need to find a way to let this go. For me, after getting into my "zone", I basically hear nothing. Try it. Instead of focusing on the noise, focus on your work. If you can master this, you are invincible.
    – user71765
    Jun 22, 2017 at 11:36

3 Answers 3


You know, if nobody tells him that he makes you uncomfortable he has no reason to change. I suggest you to talk to him about it during a break, but, if you don't want to be rude, like it was a not-so-important subject even if you're boiling inside. At least he will know and may adapt.

  • I'm aware of it and nobody in the project is willing to raise this issue and hence I'll have to be the one..
    – rshah4u
    Jun 22, 2017 at 9:09

If you really fear direct (but polite) confrontation, blame the keyboard first.

Since your describe this guy as your mentor AND a senior, he should be able to take criticism and feedback. if you really do not want to talk directly, you could ask something along the lines of

"isn't there a problem with your keyboard? it makes a lot more noise thant it used to..."

it should be making the conversation easier, since you effectively do not blame him, you allow him to come back with "turns out i was mashing the keyboard, sorry about that".

I would not recommend humor, because it might look like you're mocking him.


This really depends on your relationship with the senior, but you could try to wrap it in a joke during a lunch break or (even better in my opinion) just when it occurs. Something like "Hey did your keyboard say something wrong to your mum that you are abusing it now?"

Obviously as a native speaker you could come up with something better.

About your second question: Honestly, I think it is better to address the issue while it occurs. If you talk to him about it during a lunch break it seems like this is a bigger issue for you - you are even thinking about his keyboard noise during breaks.

  • I had similar reservation about speaking to him during break, but seems the best way until now, will try and update if any progress..
    – rshah4u
    Jun 22, 2017 at 9:09

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