Addressing a bad body odor issue.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 07, 2013 6:22 PM GMT
    How does one tactfully tell a close friend he has terrible B.O.
    He's a hot young man, very handsome, fit, masters degree, dresses nice but smells like he has not showered in months.
    I met him last night for an ice tea and we had to sit outside the coffee house it was so bad. (not fun in AZ during August)
    Honestly I wanted to gag, but I like him, and I know it's not just me who smells it.

    What do I do or say ?
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    Aug 07, 2013 6:29 PM GMT
    I don't know how you should word it, but you should definitely just tell him. Hopefully he'll realize that you're doing him a favor and be appreciative. Especially if he's a close friend.
  • Fable

    Posts: 3866

    Aug 07, 2013 6:31 PM GMT
    just be honest.

    "(insert one: duebromanguy) do you know you kinda smell? Just a heads up so you can wash"

    done.
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    Aug 07, 2013 6:40 PM GMT
    All you can do is say it flat out. Friends let friends now when they reek.
  • Hothouse

    Posts: 2204

    Aug 07, 2013 6:46 PM GMT
    I don't think there's a graceful way to say it.

    Start out by saying that you want to tell him something, and that's it's coming from you as a friend.
    Don't put him in the position of having to be defensive.
    Maybe say something like "you may not realize it, but..."
    There may be a medical reason, or something you're not aware of - but if you say it gently and with good intention, then hopefully he won't be hurt or offended.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 07, 2013 6:47 PM GMT
    My ex would delicately say to me:

    "You're starting to smell a bit too manly there."
    icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 07, 2013 7:32 PM GMT
    Upper_Cdn saidMy ex would delicately say to me:


    "You're starting to smell a bit too manly there."
    icon_lol.gif


    Word for word, this is how to phrase it so that it's almost a compliment to his manliness.
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    Aug 07, 2013 7:34 PM GMT
    Waimea saidlooking at the op i bet a dumpster site smells better than him


    Don't go calling other people immature and then say that.

    You forgot your green text there. . . icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 07, 2013 7:38 PM GMT
    In times I HAVE to say something, I'll say
    "Something is on your clothes that smells bad"
    or
    "What did you eat? Something strange is on your breath."
    I try not to say, "Hey, YOU smell bad!"
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 07, 2013 7:38 PM GMT
    Waimea saidahhhh another edward wannabe


    What similarities do you see that I don't?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 07, 2013 9:01 PM GMT
    mJkN9WB.gifIMAGE HTTP ADDRESS GOES HERE

    Start calling him Pepe.
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    Aug 07, 2013 9:28 PM GMT
    I have learned to put up with it and to try and not think about it. I've had coworkers who had bad BO; I have a friend who used to but they've done whatever was needed and no longer do.

    No matter how well you phrase it you're still the bearer of bad news and it will probably affect your relationship. Let someone else do it.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Aug 07, 2013 11:28 PM GMT
    A few years ago, I had this same problem with a friend.
    I didn't notice it when he was away from the gym.
    But, at the gym, it was like there was a big brown cloud of stink following him around.

    I wrote him a letter, and told him that he needed to "refresh" his deodorant before working out, even though I was sure that he NEVER wore deodorant.

    Telling your friend is doing him a favor.
    It amazes me how many guys think they don't need to use deodorant.
    And, I'll bet any amount of money that at least one of them will be chiming in, here, and defending his fantasy that he doesn't STINK.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 07, 2013 11:37 PM GMT
    What if he has cancer or a colostomy bag....icon_sad.gif
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Aug 08, 2013 12:50 AM GMT
    Hothouse saidI don't think there's a graceful way to say it.

    Start out by saying that you want to tell him something, and that's it's coming from you as a friend.
    Don't put him in the position of having to be defensive.
    Maybe say something like "you may not realize it, but..."
    There may be a medical reason, or something you're not aware of - but if you say it gently and with good intention, then hopefully he won't be hurt or offended.


    good answer! good answer!

    richarddawson.jpg
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    Aug 08, 2013 2:25 AM GMT
    turbobilly saidWhat if he has cancer or a colostomy bag....icon_sad.gif


    I'm doubting that - colostomy would probably have more of a fecal smell and cancer would probably be recognizable in other ways (also less likely if young, fit and energetic). Plus, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't off smells related to sickness have more distinctive odors?

    If it's a powerful BO smell, I would wonder if he stopped using deodorant, switched to a fragrance-free deodorant that is not working or (more likely) is hitting the gym and not showering afterward, unaware that he reeks.

    OP - maybe fish around in conversation. Ask when the last time he went to the gym was or if he's been feeling well. Or "I need to pick up some new deodorant, what brand do you use?" icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 08, 2013 2:33 AM GMT
    I suppose "Dude, you stink" would be a little harsh?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 08, 2013 2:36 AM GMT
    It's inevitably going to be embarrassing for him. But, it's better than the alternative of him continuing to smell and not knowing. Do what you need to do.
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    Aug 08, 2013 2:41 AM GMT
    This does not have to be embarrassing. Realize everyone has a "personal odor" Everybody. His is distasteful. So tell him, "I find your odor distasteful". No need to make any more of a deal of it.
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    Aug 08, 2013 2:42 AM GMT
    Just do it privately, with as much tact as you can muster. Share some different soaps and deodorants with him. Suggest a few that you found to be "better" than others when you first sensed a strong pit smell yourself. Blame it on the poor performing soap or deodorant he is now using.

    I had to give "the odor speech" to a woman once - in the workplace. Not fun or easy. She worked with me, and I had an H.R. person sit in on the discussion. Her co-workers had been complaining, and yes, it was strong. I just explained that some deodorants & soaps fail us, and H.R. brought along a beautiful, feminine sack of good soaps and things. The poor woman - still burst into tears, but she got on board.
  • Avgguy89

    Posts: 55

    Aug 08, 2013 2:48 AM GMT
    I have a friend who, for some reason has a strong fascination with a french lifestyle. He studies the language, cooks the food, dresses stereotypically french and for whatever reason, believes that no deodorant is the "ticket to being an authentic french person".

    Sometimes there really isn't an easy way to say it. If you like him, just be straight forward and pull him off to the side. Obviously you don't want anyone else hearing you point it out so make sure its one on one, preferably catch him before you guys reach a destination that might leave him feeling "trapped" smelling funny for the remainder of your evening together, and just break it to him easily with a smile on your face. Something simple. Most of the time, they know its them. I usually just say something along the lines of..."You're shirt smells odd. You left it in the washer too long didn't you?". If they openly point out that they think its them, then just act as if you didn't think it was them and suggest a different brand of deodorant. Sometimes playing stupid is the easiest way to avoid embarrassing someone.

    Those are just my thoughts though.
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    Aug 08, 2013 2:52 AM GMT
    This could be a clothes-washing regimen problem. Ever wash your clothes, left them in the washing machine and forgot to dry them for a day? You throw them in the dryer and then go out with your newly washed clothes. Except suddenly they have a stench that you don't notice until you get slightly damp from sweat. Horrible odor, like taint on roids.

    Does he smell a little gym-socksy? This could be his problem, and mentioning it might help him tremendously. HE doesn't stink (making him defensive) but his CLOTHES do.

    Also, he could actually be lacking the sense of smell. It's quite common, really. He'd be horrified, but grateful. Two girlfriends of mine can't smell anything. One was born that way, another discovered this after a car accident. Both of them up-front say, "If my shoes start smelling or something please tell me so that I don't die of embarrassment."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 08, 2013 2:52 AM GMT
    I think he knows, he has to.. Also it's a cultural thing with him, he's only been in the U.S. 5 years.
    But I am telling you, it's awful.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 08, 2013 2:55 AM GMT
    But it's not fresh sweat from the gym smell that can be kind of sexy??!
    Some people are allergic. Maybe that's an issue. He might need to try different kinds.
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    Aug 08, 2013 5:08 AM GMT
    JDR62 saidI think he knows, he has to.. Also it's a cultural thing with him, he's only been in the U.S. 5 years.
    But I am telling you, it's awful.

    I can understand. When I worked at the University of California San Diego one of the professors who used our facility was French. He'd often go back to France during the summer and when he came back he'd have intense BO. I never understood how his wife put up with it; she was Australian. After a week or so being back he'd apparently start bathing regularly because he'd stop stinking.

    I still think handling it is tricky. Do you have his email address? Perhaps you could set up another email account on a different system (e.g., use yahoo if you're on gmail) and send him a terse email saying that daily bathing is the norm in the US. Keep it terse so that he can't figure out who it's from by the writing style. If he's technically savvy then do it from the library or an internet cafe because the email headers will give incriminating evidence (or even if he's not because he may have friends who are).