Our expert says:
I remember a particularly irritating colleague who used to then ask : " And at which end of the rope ARE you ? "
Curious, isn;t it, how people often seem more ready to forgive someone else for appalling criminal acts, than for the little offenses like sucking their teeth and sniffing ? THe way you folks describe the monsters in your offices reminds me, too, of how the gloomy and randy old French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote that "Hell is other people".
Have you thought of trying ear-plugs ? Or getting yourself a set of noise-cancelling ear-phones to wear, even if not actually conected to anything else ?
Is there someone else in the office who, even if to a lesser degree, tends to similarly make noises, so that you could collusively, ask your friend if that other woman's innocently intended noises dotn't also annoy her, and make it hard to concentrate ? Maybe you could ask her advice on how to approach this OTHER woman about the problem ?
And as Liza suggests, one could timidly address specific annoyances from her by emphasizing that the problem is your unnatural and extreme sensitivity to such little sounds when you are trying to concentrate, rather than emphasizing her own selfishness in ignoring the impact on others.
There's a lovely song in the Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera, The Mikado, in which the guy newly elected as the local High Executioner, sings about how he's Got "a little list" of the sort of annoying people who deserve his axe, and of whom none of the would be missed. You may find it comforting to listen to. In performance, the singer is expected to update it to include modern annoyances.
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