HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing

yousmelllikebutt

This week’s dilemma is as follows:

You have a colleague at work who has an incredibly bad hygiene problem. Her breath smells, and she stinks of sweat, and she’s constantly the butt of the joke, amongst other work colleagues. Your friend seems to be oblivious of the fact thats she smells bad, but you’re constantly having to defend her from cruel colleagues who take delight in bitching about her behind her back.

What do you do? Do you tell your friend that she has a hygiene problem, or do you say nothing, hoping that she will get a clue at some point?

15 Comments »

  • Nope, wouldn’t say a word because even if I told tell her in the most polite way possible it probably still wouldn’t be received well.

    At my old 9 to 5, if someone reported it to management, they would have addressed it with her. There was actually something in our performance expectation contract about hygiene along with dress code.

    ReplyReply


  • Mireya
    February 6
    11:30 am

    If this is happening at work, it should be reported to the HR department and let them take care of it. Most workplaces do have dress codes and certain requirements as to how an employee has to present him or herself to others. This even applies in factories.

    ReplyReply


  • Peggy P
    February 6
    1:00 pm

    Well, as your friendly HR Director (of 110 employees) in the course of the day in HR – telling someone they need to bathe more is nothing, really, that’s lightweight. It’s when you have that discussion and find out that they’ve been evicted and are living in a car, or shelter or w/friends and there are 12 of them trying to use one bathroom or that they haven’t been able to wash clothes for weeks…now what do you do? Most people have reasons and I’ve yet to meet one that has said “I don’t like water” or “I like being stinky” although I’m sure that day is coming.

    The hard discussions are the terminations – that one is never easy no matter what circumstances have made it necessary.

    ReplyReply


  • Fae
    February 6
    1:19 pm

    Not a colleague or work friend, no. A real friend, though? Yes. But the way the question is phrased this person is simply someone I know through work and am friendly with at work, not a real friend. That relationship is too casual for me to risk informing her. My good friends I would totally tell, though, and lord I hope they’d tell me!

    ReplyReply


  • Lori
    February 6
    2:04 pm

    I’d hope someone would tell me if I had a case of the stinks! I do think I’d tell the person but as gently as possible. As Peggy said, it’s often a case of something else happening. But I know I want to know things like that myself.

    ReplyReply


  • Janice
    February 6
    2:39 pm

    I wouldn’t feel comfortable telling someone I work with. I’ve worked with a guy with EXTREMELY smelly feet and I couldn’t tell him. It was bad. I was dying inside. On the other hand I have NO problem telling someone like my sister to go take a shower for the love of god.

    ReplyReply


  • Emmy
    February 6
    6:39 pm

    I work in the healthcare industry. Lack of simple personal hygiene like hand washing can KILL one of her patients, so not only would I tell the worker to clean it up, she’d prolly get fired the next time someone had to point it out.

    ReplyReply

  • Yes, I’d tell them, especially if they were the butt of jokes. As a matter of fact, I had a manager once ask me if I could talk to the “stinky co-worker” because her odor seemed to be of a female nature and he wanted it to come from another female. Turns out she wasn’t aware of any problem went to the doctor and learned she had an infection, so sometimes telling someone could help them medically as well as clearing up what I’m sure is an embarrassing situation.

    ReplyReply


  • anoni
    February 7
    2:26 am

    Something similar happened to me once. I was the one with the BO. I was pregnant and my hormones were doing crazy things to my deodorant. I didn’t realize it though. Someone I worked with took me aside and mentioned it. I was embarrassed, but also SOOOO grateful. She wasn’t rude, just let me know in a polite way. I changed deodorants right away and the problem went away. I’m still thankful she took the time to tell me!!!Be a good friend, tell her, but be kind about it!

    ReplyReply


  • Throwmearope
    February 7
    2:32 am

    I worked with a surgeon who didn’t bathe. He was from France. (Really, not just an anti-French joke, swear.) We tracked a serious infection to his fingernails. We had a friendly conversation in French (so nobody knew what we were talking about.) I told him when in Rome, you can do what you want. When in the U.S., fricking take a daily shower. (Not exactly, but close.)

    The second infection we tracked back to him, we called him in front of a committee and told him if we tracked a third infection back to him, we would go after his license.

    Because Emmy is right, in the med biz lack of hygiene is dangerous to others.

    ReplyReply


  • Louise van Hine
    February 7
    11:05 pm

    i’m late for the Friday dilemma. These types of questions end up in the advice columns routinely, and the best solution I have seen to this is – the anonymous gift of a high power deodorant. I have been using the absolutely wonderful natural product called “Lavilin” – it is not an anti-perspirant, it is literally an anti-bacterial, which kills the smell and doesn’t interfere with your body’s natural need to perspire. Lavilin is expensive, but long-lasting and dead-on effective. There is also a foot deodorant (which I have never needed.) The solution to the smelly colleague is, get a jar of Lavilin (of the appropriate type, foot or body), put it in a nice giftwrap box with a card “From a friend” and put a nice note in it saying something pointed but polite like “To improve your relationships with your colleagues, from someone who respects you and cares.”

    I had a situation beginning to develop with a colleague who is from India, and I have noticed that some Indian natives tend to use fragrances rather than deodorants, and in this case it was definitely not covering up the body odor. If I hadn’t been whisked away from the project so fast I would have done the gift-wrap box thing with her.

    ReplyReply

  • I actually had to do this, tell a work collegue that she needed to bathe regularly. SHe was a patient care tech and I was the nurse in charge for the evening shift. The problem was just horrid and no one in management approached her. So I did. She was hurt, but I tried to be as gentle as I could. The situation did improve. But it was a hard thing to do, but the air DID clear.

    ReplyReply

  • If it’s a work situation, I’d let the manager handle it…that’s one of the reasons she is there for. Outside of a work situation, I’d try to broach the subject as best I can. I don’t much care to see people mocked over things like that.

    ReplyReply

  • I have an unusually sense of smell. Seriously, I can smell sh#$ on a fly from 100 yards away. And I had this woman at my old job who smelled like she decided to roll around in funky vagina, three-day-old non-washed booty and armpit atrocities. Every day in the summer. And, for some weird reason she wanted to come into my office. Small office with no air flow. I didn’t say anything until she stood in front of the office fan with her arms up.

    I called her supervisor and found out that there had been several complaints. The supervisor had already talked to this woman. Since I was stuck, I said nothing directly to the woman. This woman knew she was funky and did nothing about it.

    Now not every body is like that. For someone who is UNAWARE it could be a tight rope, but I’d want to know if I reeked of funk. But, it just depends on what you are comfortable with.

    ReplyReply

  • ñêà÷àòü episode 2…

    ñêà÷àòü episode 2…


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment