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We can handle Chatty Cathy, but what do we do about Whistling Willie?

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Question: “We have a co-worker who is cooperative, personable, cheerful and a great employee. But his whistling is driving our office up a tree. Some people find it extremely irritating when they are trying to concentrate. Subtle and direct remarks have been made to him regarding the whistling, but he says it helps him relax and perform his duties better. Any suggestions on how to curb the whistling but not hurt his feelings?” — No longer whistling Dixie


I too was a whistler, and it drove my boss insane! She cheerfully reminded me that she did not hire a songbird and smiled while she said it. I got the hint right away!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

LMM October 25, 2013 at 11:19 am

I’m in much the sam boat as Shaun- I’ve been with a company for over half a year, and there are 4 whistlers (they take turns to ensure whistling at least every two minutes) in a building that is very open and conducive to sound traveling well. It seems to me to be a very rude habit, like singing out loud, except it travels through the entire building, subjecting everyone to it rather thna just those in humming range. I don’t mind whistling- or at least I didn’t- but constant exposure day after day to constant shrill warbling is driving me up the wall. The last guy who had my job was apparently irritated by it- don’t know how he lasted 14 years. On the worst days I find myself trolling job boards, because it seems I’m the only one who has a problem with it. Any advice, at all?


Robert September 30, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Having a coworker who whistles is torture. It seriously interferes with other people’s ability to concentrate on their work. The problem is that people have become so selfish: “I like whistling, and I don’t care what affect it has on other people!”


Robert September 6, 2011 at 7:17 am

It’s really no different to people who talk out loud. In some ways worse and if particulaly persistent a sign of OCD I reckon. It’s not about “lightening up” it is just plain annoying. Either take some Prozac or shut the you know what up…..YOUR calming exercises should be just that, not disturbing to those around you.


Shaun Stockman January 15, 2010 at 9:54 am

Someone should forward him this blog. I too have whistlers at work. yes whistlers, four to be exact. I’m a contractor for the company I work for and have only been here for three months. I don’t want to be the office jerk or known as some anal guy, so I’ve created a gmail account called “please_dont_whistle@gmail.com” I’m getting ready to fire off a couple of e-mails to these people with an explanation of how distracting their whistling is and a couple of links to office etiquette articles.


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