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A nice way of saying you smell.

ANTVGM64ANTVGM64 Registered User regular
edited September 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So I have a close friend that has terrible confidence and feels like he's always excluded. Because he is.

He smells. Like. All the time. And it's this weird sweaty musty smell that makes me think he doesn't shower or something?

He's a little weird too, like, he has a totally sharp mind and all, but I mean, some of the lights are in different outlets then normal folk, I guess. I sound like a dick for writing that sentence.

So, anyway, I'm going to be working with him a lot in the future, and feel that being associated with a smelly person will affect our ability to be taken seriously and professionally.


Thoughts?


I don't know how he will take to this being told to him, even gently, due to the lightbulb thing I mention up above.

ANTVGM64 on

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    Captain VashCaptain Vash Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    "Pardon the intrusion and if it is too great please alert me, however myself and my fellow men with whom you regularly find yourself in the company of, have found you to be slightly malodourous and would wish to assist you in rectifing the situation as soon as good sir is able"


    Wait, nah, Just tell him.
    There are no fancy words or sentences that will change what you're saying.

    "Dude, you smell funky, make sure you don't smell funky when we're working together." should do the trick.

    Captain Vash on
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    Cultural Geek GirlCultural Geek Girl Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I agree that there is no pleasant way out of this. The best solution I can think of is to say something like this:

    "I'm really sorry, there IS no nice way to tell someone this, but you have a bit of an odor problem. It may be medical, it may be that you're using the wrong soap or detergent, but something's wrong. You should really take care of it, it might really help you out and would remove a source of potential awkwardness."

    I completely feel your pain. My brother occasionally has a houseguest over who sometimes smells so bad that I can't be in the same room with him. I have a super sensitive sense of smell, so it's even worse for me, and when I tell his friend about the problem my brother yells at me for being mean. Sadly there's no really polite way out of this.

    Cultural Geek Girl on
    Buttoneer, Brigadeer, and Keeper of the Book of Wil Wheaton.
    Triwizard Drinking Tournament - '09 !Hufflepuff unofficial conscript, '10 !Gryffindor
    Nerd blog at culturalgeekgirl.com
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited September 2010
    I've sort of been in your shoes. It sucks, but unless you want it to go on you're going to have to tell him and he's not going to like hearing it. He may or may not be aware of it. Try to be casual about it, but in reality that probably won't cushion the blow much.

    You say he's a close friend. The real question I have about this is, how long have you known the guy, and how long has he been a close friend? If you've been close for years and never said anything, and he wasn't aware of the smell, he is probably going to want to know why the hell you didn't tell him sooner. If he wasn't aware, he may wonder that anyway.

    If he's aware of it and can't do anything about it, he probably won't be happy to hear this AND ALSO you might just have to deal.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    RaneadosRaneados police apologist you shouldn't have been there, obviouslyRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    there's no really nice way to say it, just make sure you say it in private

    most people are either confused and grateful or pissy and already know it

    in all honesty, he just might not shower enough, being told other people can smell him will help remind him that showering is important.

    is he a social recluse at times? Maybe likes to be with people at other times but you hesitate to bring him along because of how he acts? Just tell him man-to-man in private

    Raneados on
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    FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    "Listen, I'm going to tell you something because I consider you a friend, and you probably don't realize this. If the situation were reversed, I'd want someone to tell me.

    You often smell bad."

    Figgy on
    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment
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    RevolutionaryRevolutionary Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I like some of the other ways people have suggested. Another tactic might be to try make it out as if you think it's kind of tight, but the oh-so-snobby [people you want to take you seriously] might make a big deal out of his smell. Perhaps tell everyone to shower more so you don't have to single him out?

    Revolutionary on
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    RaneadosRaneados police apologist you shouldn't have been there, obviouslyRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I like some of the other ways people have suggested. Another tactic might be to try make it out as if you think it's kind of tight, but the oh-so-snobby [people you want to take you seriously] might make a big deal out of his smell. Perhaps tell everyone to shower more so you don't have to single him out?

    tight as in cool?

    like "dude personally I think your stink is ROCKIN', but these squares might not get it, better shower, psh fucking PRUDES"

    that's not the best way to endear yourself to other people, and it's kinda dick. Making the problem about everyone else rather than being upfront about it? That's totally behind the back shit



    and your other idea is to say to a GROUP of people that they all stink?

    that will either make all of them not like you, a LOT, or everyone will go "no it's _______". This will make that dude feel like absolute shit

    Raneados on
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    FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Apparently there is a website that does exactly what you need: http://www.stenchinformer.com/

    Looks like a facebook spam app though.

    Figgy on
    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment
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    Cultural Geek GirlCultural Geek Girl Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    By "tight" I'm pretty sure Revolutionary meant "uptight" as in: "You smell a little earthy. I don't really notice it, but some of our clients are kind of bitches, so they might complain."

    I really like Revolutionary's idea of implying that customers/coworkers can be picky, sort of taking some of the blame off the messenger. I also like Figgy's suggestion to make the point that if YOU smelled you'd want someone to tell you. But I'm going to emphasize again: it can't hurt to play up the medical/body chemistry angle. There are several medical conditions that can cause chronic BO and they need a doctor's intervention to be cured. Also, it allows your friend some leeway to escape embarrassment: if it's a medical condition it's not like you're accusing him of being slovenly. He can determine himself whether or not the problem comes from showering, a medical issue, or some other source.

    I knew someone who smelled terrible because he used cheap soap. He took two showers a day, but the soap reacted horribly with his body chemistry and made him smell bad. Diet can also be a factor: I knew a guy who ate nothing but refined carbs and grease - he smelled like a pot of noodles someone left on the top of a stove for a week. Ew.

    Cultural Geek Girl on
    Buttoneer, Brigadeer, and Keeper of the Book of Wil Wheaton.
    Triwizard Drinking Tournament - '09 !Hufflepuff unofficial conscript, '10 !Gryffindor
    Nerd blog at culturalgeekgirl.com
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    There is no nice way to do this. Trying to be overly nice will just come off as patronizing.

    "Hey man, I don't know if you notice or anyone else has told you, but you smell pretty bad. I think that's really going to hurt x/y/z component of whatever thing we have to work on."

    That's basically all you can do.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    RevolutionaryRevolutionary Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Raneados I'm worried you misunderstood my post. As Cultural Geek Girl suggested I meant 'tight' in the strict, picky sense. At least in Australia that's what the term meant.

    I didn't mean to tell the group they all stank, but rather say 'hey guys everyone should make an extra effort to smell great because we're doing business' if that makes sense. My bad for not explaining the purpose for which you'd suggest everyone shower more.

    Revolutionary on
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    Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Instead of breaking it to him that he has a continuous odor problem, you might try suggesting that he's he's being smelly at a particular moment. Like, did you run all the way here, because you smell pretty sweaty? Maybe that's enough to draw his attention to the problem (assuming he's unaware of it) without making it too awkward or embarrassing to him. If it doesn't work, you're in for an awkward conversation (no matter how casual you try to be about it), but it needs to be done. Otherwise you might end up in a situation similar to my old workplace.

    I used to work with an otherwise perfectly normal and well-liked dude who exuded a very powerful smell of stale man-sweat. He had the ability to instantly odorize any room he entered, and during summer months the situation got so bad that his arrival would trigger a mass exodus. Coworkers would flee from the coffee table as quickly as they could without seeming impolite, and people tended to work in the lab while he was in the office and vice versa. Windows were discreetly opened when he was around; the seats furthest away from him at meetings were fiercely contested. Nobody ever said anything to him (us being mostly socially inept scientists and students), but the taboo issue spawned memes and grew into a shared joke until that fateful day when he was complaining about a project, and someone told him not to "sweat it". It was so sudden and unexpected that a few of us burst out laughing, and, well, it was the worst possible way for him to find out about the problem. There was a lot of drama and akwardness, and the worst part was that he thought he was being ostracized for some workplace-drama reason and the fact that he "happened to be sweating a lot that day" was just an excuse for us to pick on him.

    Bliss 101 on
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    The Black HunterThe Black Hunter The key is a minimum of compromise, and a simple, unimpeachable reason to existRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I used to be stinky then people said I was stinky so then I showered more

    The Black Hunter on
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    LuxLux Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Maybe pretend it's not as big of a deal?

    "Hey what's that ... (sniff) ... is that you? Huh. Weird. Anyway, did you see latest episode of popular TV show?"

    Then you could follow it up through out the day.

    "I'm still smelling that thing we talked about earlier, friend!"

    Lux on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    My dad once took an executive out to dinner, got drunk with him, and then mentioned that the reason no one wanted to work with him was because he smelled.

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
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    BloodfartBloodfart Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I was working at a school and I'd ride my bike there in the morning through 35+ celcius heat. I'd be sweaty erry day so the teachers eventually started burning incense when i arrived as opposed to trying to say I stink.

    I got the message when I noticed the timing of lighting the incense in a children's classroom.

    Maybe you can find ways to use odor additives like sprays, plugins, or incense around the person until they catch on?

    Bloodfart on
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    FantasmaFantasma Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Talk to him like an adult talk to another adult, as simple as that. The guy stinks, perhaps he doesn't know, or maybe he does know but he doesn't care.

    There a some products out there to reduce or just eliminate bad smells from people, such as deodorant, soap, and cologne. This could be an opportunity for you to hand him a gift.

    Fantasma on
    Hear my warnings, unbelievers. We have raised altars in this land so that we may sacrifice you to our gods. There is no hope in opposing the inevitable. Put down your arms, unbelievers, and bow before the forces of Chaos!
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    The Black HunterThe Black Hunter The key is a minimum of compromise, and a simple, unimpeachable reason to existRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Don't be sneaky or passive aggressive

    just bloody well tell him

    Take him aside, and just say "hey, I like working with you, you're a really capable guy, but you've got a bit of a smell problem, it's a bit noticeable."
    If he says it's medical, well that's that. anything other:
    "Just shower in the morning man, get into it, I feel awful if I don't and it's the best damn habit I ever developed."

    The Black Hunter on
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    TheOrangeTheOrange Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I don't think its showering though, I mean, ehm, I did have this problem myself and you know some one who shower less from the fact that he smells bad some of the time, because he wouldn't in the day of showering would he?

    The usual suspects are:
    1-Not showering enough.
    2-Reusing t-shirts and underwear after showering (ironically, one would smell worse because of showering in this case)
    3-Not giving yourself a proper drying even when using new clothes, wetness is bad, dryness is good.

    My wife would beat the shit out of at the hint of smelling bad, so this insure I never leave the house smelling bad, but when I was alone, I used to live in a puddle of root bear, Cheeto and candy wrappers and because people are polite I didn't feel the pressure to step up.

    He needs to hear it.

    TheOrange on
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    FantasmaFantasma Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    TheOrange wrote: »
    I don't think its showering though, I mean, ehm, I did have this problem myself and you know some one who shower less from the fact that he smells bad some of the time, because he wouldn't in the day of showering would he?

    The usual suspects are:
    1-Not showering enough.
    2-Reusing t-shirts and underwear after showering (ironically, one would smell worse because of showering in this case)
    3-Not giving yourself a proper drying even when using new clothes, wetness is bad, dryness is good.

    My wife would beat the shit out of at the hint of smelling bad, so this insure I never leave the house smelling bad, but when I was alone, I used to live in a puddle of root bear, Cheeto and candy wrappers and because people are polite I didn't feel the pressure to step up.

    He needs to hear it.

    You should write a handbook, these points are very true. One of my co-workers was the supervisor of two technicians and one of them was from Eastern Europe, the guy used to eat every morning an onion, and this made him very smelly. Nobody wanted his visit.

    Fantasma on
    Hear my warnings, unbelievers. We have raised altars in this land so that we may sacrifice you to our gods. There is no hope in opposing the inevitable. Put down your arms, unbelievers, and bow before the forces of Chaos!
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    SipexSipex Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Yeah, if I smelled I'd want to know. If nobody tells you they just all drift away and you simply come to think "What the hell?". If you let him know then he can fix it or at least be given the option to fix it.

    Sipex on
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    DisrupterDisrupter Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    My buddy had terrible smelling feet one day. Then again the next. It was on this second I had enough. I simply told him "dude your feet smell horrible!"

    He reponsed that he knew...

    Turns out it was his work boots, he got some inserts or something and solved the problem right away. But obviously it took someone telling him for him to do something about it.

    My clothes have been super stinky lately, like a weird musty smell. Turns out my washing machine needed major cleaning. Thanks future wife for fixing that issue!

    Disrupter on
    616610-1.png
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    mullymully Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Yeah for some reason, some people don't care.

    I had a friend in high school who was an extreme girly-girl ... and yet refused to shower more than once a week, because she was afraid it would de-straighten her hair.

    she reeked. and when i told her so (i said, "hey i just wanted you to know that ive been kind of concerned about your hygiene habits, i think youre great but it makes it hard to be around you sometimes.") she said she knew ... then told me she'd "put on more perfume"

    shudder

    mully on
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    zktzkt Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    zkt on
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    SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    You can also blame it on some anonymous product he's using. "Hey man, I don't know what's going on, but something you're using smells kinda bad. What do you use for laundry detergent? Huh. What about your shampoo? Weird. You should figure out what it is because it's been pretty funky for a while now."

    SammyF on
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    THEPAIN73THEPAIN73 Shiny. Real shiny.Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    leave him various soaps on his desk

    like the 50 cent try out bottles from walmart

    he will try them out eventually

    THEPAIN73 on
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    see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    THEPAIN73 wrote: »
    leave him various soaps on his desk
    like the 50 cent try out bottles from walmart
    he will try them out eventually

    Passive agressive douchebaggery like this rarely works.

    It's best to come out and say it straight up in private. No reason to make a public issue out of it, that's only going to make an already embarrassing situation worse. It's likely he doesn't even know he smells bad, having grown accustomed to his own funk over the years.
    He won't thank you for the knowledge, but if he acts on it that should be thanks enough.

    see317 on
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    NoxyNoxy Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    When I was going through the awkward stage where things on my body were growing while other things started to smell, someone told me that I smelled like a fish market. Apparently, I had smelled like this for weeks and had not noticed.

    I was mad. Why? Because no one told me. Yeah, this is just one case, your friend might be more sensitive but you should probably just tell them. In private.

    Noxy on
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    truck-a-saurastruck-a-sauras Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    see317 wrote: »
    THEPAIN73 wrote: »
    leave him various soaps on his desk
    like the 50 cent try out bottles from walmart
    he will try them out eventually

    Passive agressive douchebaggery like this rarely works.

    It's best to come out and say it straight up in private. No reason to make a public issue out of it, that's only going to make an already embarrassing situation worse. It's likely he doesn't even know he smells bad, having grown accustomed to his own funk over the years.
    He won't thank you for the knowledge, but if he acts on it that should be thanks enough.

    you need more aggressive douchebaggery like this
    zanypickle_08191006.jpg

    already covered here quite well, just talk to the guy. He may get mad, etc... and if he refuses to change then nicely explain to him that when you are in work situations you will do all the meetings yourself and leave him wherever if he can't present himself in a professional manner.

    truck-a-sauras on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited September 2010
    SammyF wrote: »
    You can also blame it on some anonymous product he's using. "Hey man, I don't know what's going on, but something you're using smells kinda bad. What do you use for laundry detergent? Huh. What about your shampoo? Weird. You should figure out what it is because it's been pretty funky for a while now."

    I would go for this angle. Its not much different than saying something they are wearing clothes wise is inappropriate for work, and you can sort of present it that way. I wouldn't be overly nice, just keep it calm and professional as if you were telling him he really should wear a tie to work.

    Unless the dude is belligerent he might feel awkward but he'll figure it out.

    I was curious about that website figgy posted and had it send an email to me. Spoiled the text if anyone else was wondering:
    Hello Laura,

    It has come to my attention that someone from your school has informed me of a stench problem which concerns you.

    He or she thought you should know about this problem, and has taken a step in your interest to help you address this issue. In order to preserve the relationship status between you and all of your peers, the identity of the person who informed me is confidential. We all know that it is nearly impossible to be aware of foul body odors because our noses naturally ignore our own smell. Receiving this email should be nothing to be ashamed of, and you are not required to change anything about your lifestyle.

    However, if you are concerned, it may be helpful to you that your peer has informed me that you tend to smell more during the morning. The person also said that your body odor, breath, and hair tend to smell badly. Consider visiting my helpful tips site with solutions for these issues, here.



    Best of Luck,
    The Stench Informant


    Please be aware that this notification may have been sent to you in jest, and you should take this anonymous notification with a grain of salt. Even so, it is still a good opportunity to review my tips. If you would like to send your own notification, please go to The Stench Informer ... it's free, and anonymous!

    We understand your rights to privacy; if you wish to be unsubscribed from receiving any more stench notifications, please reply to this email and the administrator will disallow future emails from being sent to you.

    Its pretty nice but nothing you cant say yourself.

    Iruka on
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    Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    No notes, no helpfully anonymous presents of deodorant, no phrasing it as an awkward joke. Tell him you're sorry, but he smells, and it's affecting your ability to be around him.

    You say he's bright, but socially weird; I myself was once the target of a straight-out "I'm sorry, but...you have a problem with body odor," and what really hurt wasn't knowing I reeked, it was knowing everyone else in the office thought I smelled and never fucking told me. If someone had left deodorant on my desk, or a note, I would've suspected everyone of being a passive-aggressive fuckhead, and possibly quit on the spot. As it was, I left that job shortly afterward (and improved my hygiene).

    Point is, just tell him. Be prepared to hear that he knows already--a lot of very smart people just don't care, or can't smell themselves, though his being insecure probably indicates the former.

    Aoi Tsuki on
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    EndEnd Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I used to be stinky then people said I was stinky so then I showered more

    (A year or two back) I started showering more and then people told me I was stinky.

    Never really figured that one out, but I guess I'm not too stinky now.

    End on
    I wish that someway, somehow, that I could save every one of us
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    kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    mully wrote: »
    Yeah for some reason, some people don't care.

    I had a friend in high school who was an extreme girly-girl ... and yet refused to shower more than once a week, because she was afraid it would de-straighten her hair.

    she reeked. and when i told her so (i said, "hey i just wanted you to know that ive been kind of concerned about your hygiene habits, i think youre great but it makes it hard to be around you sometimes.") she said she knew ... then told me she'd "put on more perfume"

    shudder

    To be fair, that was SOP until the 19th century or so.

    kaliyama on
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    AlyceInWonderlandAlyceInWonderland Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I had a friend in Highschool who had issues with showering. For example, her, a bunch of our friends and I went to Europe on a school trip for 10 days, and she showered once that entire time. I had to share a bed with her. My friends resorted to the passive aggressive way, and for her birthday gave her a gift basket of soaps and perfumes. Don't do that. He either won't get the hint, or she WILL and will be incredibly offended. I ended up pulling my friend to the side, and told her that she smelled kind of funky that day, and for the past few days as well....and well...she never really fixed the problem.

    My point however is that you should tell him to his face, and inform him with out the use of passive aggressive methods.

    AlyceInWonderland on
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