Two Facebook posts from the past few days on my news feed:

The latest Barnes and Noble shenanigan: the lady next to me is reading her e-mail out loud. Listen, lady- I feel that I should warn you. You are sitting next to an aspiring author. Anything you say can and will be used in a novel if I like it.

Question of etiquette: Forcing people around you to listen to your half of a phone call when they have no way to avoid listening- bad manners or social norm?
The Sonet is the best individual sound machine for individual desktop or home use.

The Sonet is the best individual sound machine for individual desktop or home use.

I was annoyed with my friends and also amused at what people do so blatantly, so publicly.  Interestingly, people do not limit their open conversations to social settings.  Often, maybe even more frequently, they share their personal lives at work, which can be embarrassing, damaging, irritating, and at the very least, inappropriate.  It’s awkward to be on the receiving end of a phone call not intended for you, and it is just as awkward for the person not intending to impart this information but had nowhere else to go to have this conversation.

There are two main solutions for this breach of etiquette:
  1. Sound Machine
  2. Sound Masking System

While one might argue that social norms dictate better habits, we all know that people will be people, which at times, can just be obnoxious.  Thus, in a work environment, your go-to resource is white noise.  That’s because it’s the practical choice for tuning out unwanted noise and still being polite.  White noise comes in two major forms, as noted above.  A sound machine is helpful for individuals battling distractions, while a sound masking system is for larger areas prone to louder office noise.  Both are effective, just for different-sized spaces and numbers of users.

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