We have the following problem in the office: there is a colleague who, I think is nice enough once you get to know him a bit more closely. The thing is, most of the time he looks really grumpy or depressed. I don't really know how to read his face. He talks very little.

We could deal with that (there are seven persons in the room) but he has this habit of slamming the door real hard. Not like some people do out of negligence, letting the door fall shut behind them. It's a glass door and he sometimes gives it a jerk in a way that the glass keeps vibrating for a second. There usually is an atmosphere of concentration in the office, but this behavior disrupts it badly.

Now, I do not want to offend him. I think it's just a thing he does without even thinking about it. I just want to ask him in a polite manner to try and close the door a bit more softly but can't think of a way that does not come across as rude or as passive aggressive.

Any thoughts on how I might go about that?

excuse me "ColleagueName", the door banging so hard sometimes disturbs my concentration, could you please try and close it more softly? Thank you

if he doesn't do it on purpose probably you will have to remind it to him few times because it might happen again.

If he enters the room and slams the door, ask him immediately like "don't you think that was too hard?". Or if he isn't afraid to destroy the door.

Reminding someone of this shouldn't yet be offending. Start with a hint to make him think about that. If this doesn't help, slowly become more direct.
Try to not say that every time at the beginning, see if it develops to get better. It can help to avoid he feels too guilty every time he walks through the door. Such habits need some time to vanish, there is a chance he slams the door and reminds oh next time I should no longer...

If he was a funny person you'd have a better position making stupid jokes about that. Such like "BANGING DOOR - oh colleague xy has arrived" or "has our next department exploded or is xy here?". But the way you describe him lets assume there is no big sense of humour.

It's important to discuss this with your colleagues, each of you should take turn to remind him. This doesn't make one single person the "bad guy" but shows that all of you are affected, this adds more seriousity to the topic.

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    If I entered a room and someone asked me out of the blue whether I thought I hadn’t slammed the door too hard I would consider that very condescending and passive-aggressive. (Especially considering in the mind of this coworker it has never been a problem before.) Context and tone of course make a large difference, but I’m having a hard time imagining them so that this doesn’t come off as rude. – 11684 May 26 at 17:11
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    @11684 If you can still hear the door vibrating the question might not be out of the blue :-) You can't let all things pass only because discussing it could be a little bit intervening. This strongly depends on how to say it. A simple question normally doesn't hurt. But I think the idea of placing a sign on the door definitely is a better start. It provides a reason to start talking about the door if the colleague still keeps slamming it. – puck May 27 at 5:50
  • An unpersonal sign (“please close door silently”) would be much better as a first step. (Maybe add that to the answer?) My issue is not primarily with the out of the blue, but with the question; I would find simply stating that the loud sound of the door is disruptive to the speaker much better than letting the door slammer guess the effects of his actions on his coworkers (something he has not been able to do – he might truthfully answer “no”). I added “out of the blue” because such questions might be appropriate after it has been discussed at length and the coworker doesn’t adapt. – 11684 May 27 at 9:16

I tend to agree with the answer Val provided. The simplest way to deal with this is to talk to the person.

If talking to the person, for whatever reason, is out of the question or uncomfortable, you could try posting a sign on the door asking that people be cautious when closing the door so as not to disrupt the office. Some might find this to be a bit passive aggressive, but it might raise awareness to your colleague and he may stop on his own. It may also provide the additional benefit of your colleague not feeling singled out.

  • This looks like an attempt to reply to another post rather than an answer. Any post that doesn't answer the question will be deleted. If you can edit this to be an independent answer it's probably salvageable. – sphennings May 25 at 18:59
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    @sphennings really? This seems to me like it stands mostly on its own. Do you suggest just cutting out the first sentence? – Lord Farquaad May 25 at 19:19
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    I'm not sure I understand how my post doesn't answer the question. My answer is to consider putting up a sign. Is that not an answer to the question? – user3822485 May 25 at 19:46

If you want to avoid conflict and don't mind taking ownership, I would suggest saying something like,

"Hi ___, would you be willing to help me out? Sometimes when you leave the room, and shut the door, the noise of is loud enough that it breaks my concentration and it is a while before I can refocus. Would you be willing to try to close the door more softly? That would really help me concentrate and I would be a more pleasant co-worker to be around."

Key points:

  • it's about your need and you're asking for his help
  • it's his behavior that you are asking him to change
  • it's not him personally
  • you are not judging him (as inconsiderate, angry, thoughtless, etc.)

I would stick with that, even if he asks questions like "Am I being rude?" I would answer back with "It would really help me if you closed the door softer. Would you be willing to help me out with that?"

It's beyond simple: The phrase you're looking for is "Do you mind" or "Would you mind" not letting the door close so noisily.

The title of the question is asking for "the right way". This is it.

Absent other factors which haven't been mentioned here, like previous interactions which would make this a touchy or difficult subject for conversation, this is a perfectly conventional request format which should convey the standard level of politeness and neutrality. If you say this, you're not making it about the colleague's bad mood, you're not accusing them of being unmannerly, you're just pointing out a disturbance and asking for consideration.

"I do not want to offend him" - Right, that's the beauty of these standard conventional phrases which we've inherited from generations past. Unless there's some other history or information here which makes you think that the standard request is going to offend him, go with the conventional standard mannerly phrase.

On the other hand, that's usually the best we can do, and we're really not responsible for unreasonable reactions on other people's part. If this person does act offended, that's an unforgivable imposition on you.

Perhaps your colleague "looks really grumpy or depressed. ... talks very little" because of something at home or elsewhere, that's probably not your business.

"... he has this habit of slamming the door real hard. Not like some people do out of negligence, letting the door fall shut behind them. It's a glass door and he sometimes gives it a jerk in a way that the glass keeps vibrating for a second.".

So you object to the way he operates the door. He knows a special way to keep it vibrating.

"There usually is an atmosphere of concentration in the office, but this behavior disrupts it badly.".

That's understandable, but does everyone agree or are only you disturbed?

"... but can't think of a way that does not come across as rude or as passive aggressive. Any thoughts on how I might go about that?".

You need to figure out the results you want and how quickly you need them.

You don't want to come across as trying to portray him as an unsociable oaf, whom doesn't know how to operate a door.

If you were friends with this person it should be easy enough, but that doesn't seem the case.

You'll need to time your approach and decide how gingerly you want to proceed.

  • Approach #1:

    • When he passes through the door ask if everything is OK.

    • If it is not ask if there's anything you can do, if everything is great even better.

    • Mention that he seems unhappy and has been slamming the door lately, it's come to the point where you need to bring this up; it's very disturbing.

  • Approach #2:

    • Tell the boss, get them to resolve this. Suggest they pay to have the door repaired.
  • Approach #3:

    • Tell them directly: "Shhhh!, there's no reason to be so noisy".
  • Approach #4:

I tried searching the Internet for 'door operating instructions', I couldn't find anything (except for a dryer door); therein lies the problem ... You could try making a label and printing it on to a clear sticker - calculate his exact eye-height and line it up. Stick it to the door at lunch or after work anonymously.

I did manage to find something less than "Operating Instructions" but it should serve as a polite and anonymous hint:

Door Sticker

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