I would never feel comfortable telling someone they have bo. But that doesn't mean it is not right to do so. Depends on the circumstance. Is it possible to sit away from this person so as not to have the bo affect you? Or is it entirely impossible? If you absolutely must be around this person and the smell really bothers you, you have a right to say something. But how do you say it so that the person doesn't feel bad and actually feels motivated to do something about it? If you can pull that off, that would be a major feat. I probably wouldn't write the person a note. Probably the only way to do it would be directly rather than indirectly. A gift of some sort would be nice - with plenty of product included, so the person won't run out right away. Even if you give a person products, doesn't mean they will use them. Gosh, that is a really tough question.
Fitness Minutes: (35,109)
2,149 9/12/13 8:12 P
In a church situation you could ask the pastor to talk to the person. At work, HR gets the honors. Depending on circumstances, you could try a gift basket of hygiene products.
A young friend, who was raised by wolf-like parents (long story- shudder) had this problem. I included her in conversations with my daughter ( after clueing said daughter in) about general hygiene matters. For example, before going out: "Daughter, you did remember to use that new deodorant I got you, didn't you? That last one didn't seem to work so well." Daughter (long suffering sigh) " of course I did Mom. How was I supposed to know not every product works on every one." It helped.
I also gave her products that I "didn't like". Along the lines of " Hey, this soap makes my skin too dry, want to try it and see if it works better for you?"
We've also had general going on job interview conversations: Make sure you shower, wash your hair, pack extra resumes, leave early, smile, shake hands, no flip flops etc.
Good luck. It's a very delicate situation!
Fitness Minutes: (34,361)
6,094 9/12/13 5:59 P
That's a very difficult thing to do. I once had to tell my boss (because her boss told me to tell her!) this, and I don't think there's any way to avoid hurting another person's feelings when this is done. They are always going to be embarrassed, whether they openly express it or not. She received the news kindly, but I think she held it against me in the end.
Be prepared for repercussions. I really feel for you... With the woman I knew, the odor(s) were very strong, and the entire office was feeling queasy as a result. My heart goes out to you...
"If you're going through hell, keep going."
- Winston Churchill
9/12/13 3:08 P
If I was friends with them, I would say something privately. If not, I would just try to sit away from them as much as possible.
"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." - John Quincy Adams
No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch! Source: unknown
9/12/13 3:00 P
I had someone like this in my life and they were just oblivious. Everyone tried to be nice about it but they just didn't get it
There is really no nice way to tell someone. So I would just leave it alone.
Tigger, when it's an office situation, that's the JOB of Human Resources. Just tell someone in the HR department that there's a problem, and then they are responsible for letting the employee know that there's an issue and then getting them help. I believe it's actually a legal obligation for large companies, and small companies have an ethical obligation. If he doesn't have access to laundry or bath facilities, they can find a place on company property that he can use, and they can use grant funds or emergency benefit funds to help him buy laundry detergent and other cleaning supplies. It's one of the reasons the HR department exists in the first place, so I would really recommend using it.
Fitness Minutes: (17,391)
2,116 9/12/13 9:29 A
It is really tough. We have an office assistant with really bad BO and his office reeks. His clothes are wrinkled and based on things he's said about his home life, I know it isn't a medical issue, but how do you approach without offending and embarrassing the person? We have to all work together and I would never want to hurt his feelings so I just try to stay out of his office and never down wind!
Lay aside life-harming heaviness and entertain a cheerful disposition.
9/12/13 9:27 A
I don't know... tough situation. If you're a good friend of this person, you could try approaching the subject but definitely not when anyone else is around; just the two of you. Presumably though, that's not the case since you mentioned this person at Bible study and not as a good friend. Do you know who IS a good friend to the person? You could approach that person, and mention it-- perhaps they'd then have "the conversation". Or if you don't know who the person usually hangs around with-- perhaps the leader of the Bible study would be someone you could talk to about it (again in private) who could then approach the person.
There could be a medical reason why they have BO. Could be the way they were raised. Not everybody in every country feels it's necessary to bathe etc every day. Clean water's not as easy to come by, for some. Also in the US (and I know you're not in the US, but the point may still be valid) things like soap and laundry detergent and toilet paper, are not covered by food stamps (government assistance, to buy food). So if the person's got a really low income or even no income, those things can be luxuries compared to just putting food on the table. And not having them would contribute to the BO issue.
Ruth in Cookeville, TN Central Time Zone
Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think - Christopher Robin to Pooh
Fitness Minutes: (18,507)
1,377 9/12/13 8:38 A
Wow, that's tough. That could be a very sensitive subject and could easily make someone feel very embarrassed. You never know, there could be a medical condition causing the issue and they are doing the best they can to try to deal with it. If you have a good relationship with the person, and approach the situation and conversation delicately, you could talk to them. I would never send an anonymous note or bath products, that would just come off mean in my opinion.
Fitness Minutes: (79,972)
3,510 9/12/13 8:25 A
I'd probably avoid them because I don't like that kind of confrontation.
How about sending an anonymous but kind note? You could even send them some deodorant or bath products with the note?
You don't have to eat the whole thing.
Fitness Minutes: (186,587)
12,737 9/12/13 7:57 A
Honestly, I would try and pull that person aside and tactfully mention something. Maybe that person isn't aware. And I would only do it if it's an ongoing issue, meaning it happens at every meeting. If you decide to say something, I encourage you to do so privately.
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