Should I Tell Him He Stinks?


Quick and easy question for you.  Well hopefully.  There is an associate I come across from time to time when I go to bars and what not, and he always an odor problem.  Either his breath isn’t the freshest, or he has some body odor issues.  On rare occasions both.  Anyway, I wanted so bad to tell him last weekend about himself, because I’m tired of interacting with the smell.  But my best friend who was out with me at the time, told me it wasn’t my place.  He said I should let one of the friends of my associate tell him.  However, if this is a consistent problem, doesn’t that mean his friends aren’t being a friend and helping him to solve this problem?  I told my bestie the next time I see the guy out, I’m going to pull him to the side in private and just be straight up with him.  But what do you think?

-Smells Bother Me

Dear Smells Bother Me,

I find myself chuckling a little bit at your pen name.  I’m pretty sure bad smells bother most people.  Heck, I know I’ve never been a fan of smelling someone’s stale breath or rank BO.  However, I’ve lived enough life to know that I will encounter people that will have one or the other (sometimes both), and I have to maintain some decency and civility about myself.  As in, I don’t frown up my face in the face of the owner of the bad odor.  And I most certainly, don’t call a person out about it if there is someone better suited for the job.  Heck, God forbid I get caught on an off night.  I’d want some compassion about it, and I’d want to hear from a close friend.

Your friend is absolutely right.  Calling someone out on his flaws, and you don’t even consider him a friend, but an associate, is a bit of a red flag.  For many people, taking criticism from a friend can be a tough pill to swallow.  So taking criticism from a person that you just see at the bar from time to time may feel like a big slap in the face and an uppercut to the stomach.

I’m sure this guy with the odor has friends.   It is really up to those friends in his circle to call him out on his hygiene problems.  I sincerely doubt that his friends’ noses have become immune to his flaws.  If they are real friends, they will be the ones to pull him to the side and talk to him in private.

Suggestions going forward.

  1. When you encounter this guy again at the bar, keep it moving. If you are only associates, exchange salutations and what not when you see him, and then move on.  You are not obligated to be glued to him at the hip at the bar.  Heck if the bar is big enough and has enough people in it when you go, you may be able to duck and dodge him.  (Just don’t get caught ducking and dodging LOL!)


  1. If this man primarily has a breath problem, when you go to the bar have some mints in your pocket ready to offer him a couple should he approach you. (You should have gum or mints on your person at the bar anyway, just in case your own breath should become a bit tart.)  Keep in mind, that if he habitually has bad breath, he may need a dental hygienist and not Mentos.


  1. Before you get ready to tell somebody about himself, always put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Think about how you would like your flaws pointed out and by whom.  That will help you, in theory, be a little more compassionate in these types of situations.


As always nothing but love,



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