How to tell someone they smell without hurting their feelings

Be sensitive

Body odor

We all know of someone who has body odor. But have you ever talked to them about it?

Most are the times we keep quiet about it yet we should tell them about it if we really care. Try putting yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel if you walked around smelling like rotten eggs and you don’t know.

Body odor issues are very sensitive yet ones we should not shy away from talking about. How to go about it though, is the big agenda. Because you do not want to embarrass or hurt the person.

All is not lost though. You can try out these techniques to pass the message without seeming mean:

1. Tell them in private

This is not something you tell them when you are having dinner or in a meeting. Meet them alone then let them know.

2. Always offer gum

If their problem is bad breath, always offer them gum when you are with them. Then you could say something like, ‘gum always keeps my mouth fresh’. If they are witty enough, they will know that you are trying to pass on a message.

3. Gift them hygiene products

On a special day such as their birthday, get them nice smelling perfume and other personal care items. And you could say, ‘these products work for me, I believe they will be useful to you as well’.

4. Be empathetic

Choose your words wisely so that you do not offend them. Words like ‘stink’ and ‘you smell’ are too strong for such a sensitive matter. But you could say, ‘I am only telling you this because I care and if it was me, I would want someone to let me know’.

5. Don’t tell them that other people are also concerned

This will make them embarrassed. Even though people have been talking about their body odor in the office, don’t tell them.

6. Hit the nail on the head

If you are certain that their odor is out of laziness and not medical conditions, you can tell them without beating around the bush. This works if you are close to the person. Remind them that it’s important to take a bath more often. If it’s your partner, invite them to join you in the shower every day until they get used to it. 


Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: