Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
annoyed in English

Does it bother you when you hear people chew loudly?

Are there things that people do that really irritate you?

What would you do if someone was with you and they were chewing loudly?

We’re going to look at what you can do in a situation like this where something that somebody is doing is driving you crazy.

You will learn what to consider before you say something or you decide to leave it alone–you want to make it the best possible situation for you and the other person.

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We have a listener question about this and it’s probably something that you have thought about too.

Hi ladies,

I have been listening to you guys over three months, and I just love your show! All of the episodes are great, helpful and funny! I had a situation come up that I”m hoping you can help me with.

I was at a restaurant the other day, and somebody sitting nearby was chewing loudly. They were chewing so loud that it was bothering everyone around them. I was wondering how can I handle this? How can I get them to stop or warn them somehow that it’s rude?

Thank you for your help,


Handling A Tough Situation

Our listener has a very interesting question, and you have probably been in a similar situation yourself.

So if you are in a situation like this where the person is chewing that loud that it bothers everyone around, it must be really bad.

These situations can be delicate, and so your approach can depend upon the relationship that you have to the person creating an issue.

Let’s first talk about how you would handle this with a friend or family member that you feel very close to.

First of all this is so awkward no matter how close you are to the person.

You are essentially telling them that something they are doing is annoying you.

This requires the right approach and a gentle tone, for if you aren’t careful you may come off as rude or condescending.

You might say something like: “Hey sorry would you mind chewing a little softer–I know it’s weird but I get bothered easily by chewing. Sorry!”

This approach allows you to put it on yourself, as if to say that you are the problem here.

This is a good way to handle it because it indicates that the annoyance is because of you.

This may be your only good way to approach a sensitive subject, particularly if it’s somebody that you know well.

It’s already uncomfortable, but if you at least know the person then you can try to use that relationship to help you through a sticky situation.

What If It’s A Stranger?

It’s already a very uncomfortable situation if it’s somebody that you know well.

Now what if it’s a stranger that you don’t know at all?

What if it’s like in the example above where this is somebody that you’ve never met that is annoying you from a completely different table?

This presents a unique and very uncomfortable situation entirely!

In an instance like this where a stranger in a public place is irritating you, it may be best to just deal with it.

You may have no choice–because whatever you say will likely offend this person!

When we say that you have to “deal with it” that means that you have to make the best of the situation or ignore it because you can’t change anything.

Is there really any polite way to tell someone at another table to be quiet when they are eating too loud or being seemingly rude?

There really isn’t a way to approach this with a stranger without coming off as rude in all honesty.

You may ask why that is?

Because people are usually being innocent with the sounds they make.

Most people aren’t trying to be irritating, and they may not even realize that they are making sounds like this.

If they were doing something purposefully to bother you without considering anybody else, that’s a different story. 

For example, if someone is on the phone and making a lot of noise in the restaurant you could politely say “excuse me, could you keep your conversation down a bit?”

That may not go over well, but it would certainly put you in a better spot than trying to criticize somebody’s chewing.

No matter what, this is always awkward with strangers.

If you were really desperate in such a situation, you could also ask the manager if he or she could talk to the customer.

Just be aware that there really is no good way to approach this with a stranger, and sometimes you just have to make the best of it.

Considering When You Should Speak Up

There are some things to take into consideration when it comes to speaking up in an uncomfortable situation.

If you don’t like confrontation then this can make you feel even more uncomfortable.

Overall, when thinking about if  you should speak up about something, there are a few factors to consider.

These can help you to decide if you should say something, as well as how you should approach things.

  • Is this person doing something “on purpose” or is it something they don’t realize and is a very innocent accident? If somebody is intentionally trying to annoy you or do something harmful so to speak, then that’s a different situation. If however they have bad manners or don’t even realize that they are doing something, then that’s quite different. Try to look at this and ask yourself if it’s really on purpose or not. This can tell you exactly how or if you should approach this person.
  • Would telling them about the situation embarrass them, especially in public? The last thing you want to do is make somebody feel bad. Bringing awareness to something with a loved one is quite different than making somebody feel unsure or embarrassed. So consider how your actions may make this person feel. If it will have a negative impact, then don’t move forward.
  • How would you feel if you were this person? Sometimes it’s best to put yourself in the other person’s situation. If somebody approached you about this, how would you feel? Would you shut down or want to run away and hide? If you saying something would make you feel bad if the situation were reversed, then it’s simply not worth it. Put yourself in their situation and then you can decide if it’s worth it to say something.

This is a good way to evaluate when you should say something.

This is so important because we always teach you what to say, but sometimes the best thing is to not say anything at all and just *deal with it*.

This question really teaches us a lot and it may be similar across cultures.


Sometimes the way to connect is to avoid disconnecting as strange as it may sound.

You may not form a connection but you will not make someone feel bad in the process.

Think of when it is good to say something, and how you would feel in this situation.

Just use your best judgment and be in tune to the situation before you.

If something is really driving you crazy, just think of the best way to handle it without hurt feelings.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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