Whenever I see anyone chewing with their mouths open, I wonder what it was they learned in their formative years.
And Because of how disconcerting and very distracting you will want to address it. The question is how to do that politely. There are a few suggestions.
First, you have to understand the reason and then address it with either a friendly reminder: “I know you don’t mean to but sometimes you chew with your open and you might want to work on it.”
If it is a habit built by culture, try: over here we chew with our lips closed.” If you are jolly good pals, you can try a mild joke that they will understand, “Buddy, you will send food flying all over if you keep chewing like that.”
Let’s see more suggestions on how to tell someone to chew with their mouth closed.
Bring It Up Like It Is Your Problem
People are not always very eager to hear faults about themselves and corrections to those faults so you will have to be careful about how you approach the matter, and how you approach them.
One of the best ways is to make it seem like it is your problem instead of theirs.
Try to take the blame for it by framing it to sound like you are helpless about the situation and only they can come to your aid.
Here are some examples:
- I have this problem with people chewing with their mouths open. It makes me nauseous.
- You’re chewing your food in a way that makes me uncomfortable. I would appreciate it if you chewed differently.
- I feel queasy when I see half-eaten food just rolling around in someone’s mouth no matter how delicious it is. It would be a big help if you would chew with your mouth closed.
- No matter how tasty the food is, I get sick when I watch it sitting around in someone’s mouth half eaten. If you could chew with your mouth shut, it would be extremely helpful.
- I find it difficult to be around people who chew with their mouths open. The noise gets to me.
- I get sick when I see half-eaten food in someone’s mouth. If you could chew with your lips together, it would be extremely helpful.
- I find it unnerving for people to chew without closing their lips. I would really like it if you can close your lips.
- Being around folks who chew with their mouths open bothers me. I’m bothered by the sight.
- I have misophonia and that means that certain sights and sounds like people chewing with their mouths open and the noises it makes can trigger some uncalled-for and unusual reactions from me. I think it would be best for all of us if you chewed with your mouth closed.
- My misophonic self can’t stand the sight of you chewing like that. The disorder makes it irritating. It will be a big help if you close your lips while you chew.
- My misophonia makes it hard to ignore people chewing with their mouths open. I would love it if you would make a correction.
All of these presentations are great. Notice that you try to generalize the problem.
Try to soften it as much as possible by talking in soft tones when you are alone with the offending chewer.
Another thing is to think about your position and your relationship with this person. If you are not very good friends or very close, then leave it be for someone who is in that position.
In fact, if you have fought recently or had any squabbles leave the matter for a while so it won’t be taken as an attack, an insult or just trying to run in your wonderful style.
Lastly, say thank you. Don’t have a saucy tone when you say it. When you say thank you, they take it that you have seen them last that problem and work towards it to keep that dream of yours alive.
Frame It Like A Question Or Request
For the common good of others, some people will be willing to do a few things differently.
Especially if others would readily turn on them and they don’t want to be kicked out of every social circle they already belong in.
Why am I saying this? Well, it can’t be just you, many people will have noticed and would talk about it behind the chewer’s back.
If you have been elected to represent the masses and speak on this, framing it as a request or a question will help better if you don’t think the first approach will work. These should work:
- Can you please chew with your mouth closed?
- Please, can you close your mouth as you chew?
- I will appreciate it if you chewed more quietly, with your mouth closed. Can you?
- I’d prefer it if you eat with your lips closed. It will help you chew more quietly.
- Is there any chance you can close your mouth while chewing?
These responses are plain and straight to the point. If you are in an office setting, going on with the long talk is not all that advisable.
Getting it out the way as soon as possible is best.
Now while the first responses are simple questions, the others take a different approach.
The second addresses two problems at once (think about it, people who eat with their mouth open will definitely have loud mastication noises).
The third is a question that says what they are doing wrong without saying it (it is a great way to avoid all the speech part) and the rest of them are more considerate.
It is like reminding them that they did something wrong but it was an honest mistake so you are telling them to avoid it happening again.
- I know you don’t mean to but sometimes you chew with your open and you might want to work on it.
- I have heard a few whispers and they mean. Try to be more cautious about closing your mouth while you chew
- I don’t want others roasting you about this. Try to pay attention to how you chew. Sometimes you chew with your mouth open.
- I don’t think it’s very attractive in a workspace to chew with your mouth open. It’s not very endearing to others.
- Although you don’t mean to, you occasionally chew with your mouth open, which is something you might want to work on.
- I know it’s not something you do intentionally but you tend to chew with your mouth open. You might want to improve on it
- I have seen you chew with your mouth open once or twice and know it’s not in your habit. Just be sure to keep it in mind so it doesn’t happen again.
- I really don’t want to bring this up, and I’m not even sure you know. But it appears that occasionally you have the propensity to chew and speak with your mouth open, which is somewhat uncomfortable for some of us.
These responses sound like you are a savior and you are looking out fur them.
On the other hand, try not to sound like you are making fun of your other colleagues or you have something against them all, because you will be seen as a jobless gossip.
Also notice how there is no “shut your mouth” because even if that is what you want them to do, you are trying to be polite hence you will have to mention the lips, and close and all instead of getting anyone upset or angry.
State It Like A Fact
There are many reasons people chew with their mouths open, to begin with. One of those reasons is culture.
Now hold on. I’m not saying that a certain culture allows people to chew with their mouths open.
Actually, yes. That’s what I am trying to say. You see those with the east have it rooted in their culture to chew with their mouth open because it is a sign that they are enjoying their meal and that it is tasty.
If in fact, you don’t do this, you would be considered rude. With this in mind, a few reminders should be able to correct our eastern friends. Here are a few:
- In this part of the world, we chew with our mouths closed. It’s seen as wrong to chew with your mouth open.
- We chew with our mouths closed in this region of the world. To chew with your mouth open is considered improper.
- Over here we keep our elbows off the table when the food arrives and very quietly we eat with our mouths shut. You will be seen as very proper and well-trained.
- When the meal is brought over here, we keep our elbows off the table and eat with our mouths closed in silence. You will be regarded as being well-mannered and trained.
- The norm here is to chew quietly with our lips together. It’s odd if you chew with your mouth open.
- We usually eat silently while keeping our lips together. If you chew with your mouth open, it’s strange.
- We Westerns keep our lips closed while we chew. It is seen as good dining etiquette and everyone will still know you are enjoying your meal.
- Westerners chew with their lips pursed. Everyone will still be able to tell that you are enjoying your meal, and it is considered good dining etiquette.
- I know it’s a way to say that you are enjoying your meal but you can do so with compliments and small discussions at the table. You don’t have to chew with your mouth open.
- I am aware that it is a means to indicate that you are enjoying your dinner, but you can show this through compliments and conversations at the table. No need to chew with your mouth wide open.
They might consider this a culture shock but with steady and polite reminders they can get a hang of it. In time they will thank you and learn.
Remember to speak nicely and be patient with them. Never appear irritated and speak to them privately.
The last thing you want is to cause a ruckus with others by making fun of their culture and upsetting them. We, Westerners, are nice people.
Drop A Hint With A Bit Of Humor
Such a touchy topic can lead to a lot of issues. Now let’s say for a moment it’s your sister or your best friend or someone close to you that you can easily speak to, you can approach the matter with less uncertainty and fear about the outcome.
Now while you won’t be rude or too plain if they feel bad, you don’t have to be too serious or stiff either. You can drop a hint and tingle it with a bit of humor.
Friends have to communicate and through these methods of communication issues like this can quickly be put out of the way. Here are a few for starters:
- Do you have a thing against chewing with your mouth closed?
- Buddy, you will send food flying all over if you keep chewing like that.
- We don’t leave our mouths open while we chew Jeff
- The way you chew, showing off that delicious meal, looks like you are really enjoying it.
- I felt like I lose a few fans anytime they see you chew your food
- You know that whenever you chew with your mouth open you make food cold
- We never eat in public, not with you chewing like putting a display in your mouth for everyone to see.
- While you shut your mouth while you chew? I will keep watching you and I have a game to watch.
- Do you mind? If you keep chewing like that, you will build a nasty habit
Even if they are very close to you, try to stick to these simple rules. Don’t swear or use any swear words no matter how often you use them in your speech.
They can take it to be that you are angry, or trying to control your anger and irritation. and they will feel bad.
Next, make sure the air isn’t tense. Discuss this in a good mood. Firing a heated conversation may make your joke will seem odd, sarcastic, and hurtful to whoever is listening.
And the last (that can not be overemphasized) let it be between the two of you. If there is anyone else around, make sure it is someone that will act maturely and handle the situation like an adult.
Use A Gesture
Actions speak louder words eh? Use them. Through a simple, smooth, and fluid system of signs, you can remind people to close their mouths while chewing.
Sometimes people forget and are unaware of their actions. You can easily use this to remind them. And then there are others you have used one or more of the approaches above.
This will be a kind of follow-up so they can master the habit and change. Let’s look at a few:
Pressing your lips together
This is a universal sign for “shut your mouth” or “keep quiet” but at the table, they will understand what you mean since they are not talking. It is simple.
With a look in their direction and a sign of pursing your lips, they will get the gist.
Giving a Meaningful look
If you corrected them only seconds ago, a meaningful look will remind them of the earlier conversation and make them adjust quickly
Shake your head
By “shake your head” I mean from side to side to indicate disapproval of what they are doing.
If there are people around let it be small so they don’t ask what’s going on because once the other person goes red, everyone will know what’s happening.
Be an example
No better to lead than to lead by example. Look at them while carefully chewing your meal.
They might find it hard to do and what to give up but seeing you do it carefully and with ease will spur them to perfect it.
Try to ask if it’s a health issue
In the case that someone chews with their mouth open because of breathing problems you can’t fault them.
It will be painful bringing it because they would feel watched and scrutinized. See if there is a way you can help them with medication or breathing exercises rather than reminding them of their ailment.
Another reason people chew with their mouths open is that they put too good in the first place.
Since spitting back to the plate is even worse they will go on trying to manage the mess.
In this case, try to give them a quick and polite lecture on patience and how it will save them from public embarrassment or/and choking.
Topics like those are never easy to discuss with the tips above, you should be able to handle it like a pro.
It will help you build communication, boldness, and patience, all great attributes. Remember not to raise your voice, listen and understand. With all that, it should go well.