How do you tell a friend they have body odor?

United States
April 29, 2007 12:34am CST
I have a friend (I guess you could say) and she has a horrible body odor. I am not the only one to notice this and none of the other people want to say anything or they don't know how or what to say either. She doesn't take a shower everyday or every other day for that matter. She goes three or for days without showering and she smells. She stayed at my place when her and her husband couldn't afford to pay their electric bill. They stayed here for two weeks and her husband took two showers and I saw her take 3. That is not very many for a 2 week period at all. We have some classes together and the smell gives me a headache and makes me sick. I sit between her and another guy in one of our classes and when she isn't there he is always saying how glad he is she didn't come to class today because he didn't want to smell her. What can I say or do to get her to realize she smells? To make matters worse she is pregnant and is due in the middle of August. If she can't or won't keep herself clean then how will they keep a baby clean?
7 people like this
33 responses
@Grandmaof2 (7603)
• Canada
29 Apr 07
I agree if she won't bath herself she probably won't be bathing the baby as she should either. I don't even know this woman but it's funny how quick I am to give my oppinion. I read your whole thread and after I got all done reading I thought well I guess there's only one way to tell her and that is, "I hate to be rude but people are commenting that you have a strong body odor." But as fast as I thought that I also thought for some strange reason I had the feeling that even if you told her she probably wouldn't change anyway. That is unreasonable thinkinbg on my part I don't even know her but ???
• United States
29 Apr 07
Honestly I agree that I don't even think she would try to change at all.
2 people like this
• India
30 Apr 07
It is very difficult subject to tell it who is diffusing the odour. It cause very nasty feeling to others.If i have like friends i cannot bare them. But he is very close i try to Explain causes of body odour, why odour will produce from body. what can we do to make odourless of our body, what are the disadvantages of body odour.If the cannot receive it possitive I cannot bare.and will tell rudely to him is
1 person likes this
@klystron635 (1520)
• Philippines
29 Apr 07
Whoa! This is a very difficult discussion to answer. I also have a friend who is quite alike with your friend. The difference is that my friend takes a bath everyday, her problem is that she doesn't wear any deodorant. She only stinks if you are really close to her and when she raises her hands. Hahaha! Like you I don't have any courage to tell her about her problem. There was a time actually that I need to talk to her about a very imporatant issue. While I was talking she raises her hand. Whoa! That smell! My brain is screaming "Headache alert!" So I decided to put her hand down. I don't know if she notices it that everytime she raises her hand I put it down. I think she doesn't stink anymore. I guess she learned how to use deodorant.
• United States
29 Apr 07
The thing is she doesn't bath or use deodorant. And there are days where she doesn't brush her teeth. It's crazy and it smells horrible.
1 person likes this
@mtdewgurl74 (18118)
• United States
29 Apr 07
Oh you are in a pickle for sure. It is hard to tell someone they stink. maybe she is used to the smell and cannot smell herself?I have read up on this in my Medical Advisory book. It says that certain foods she eats can cause her to give off a odor onion and garlic proteins,oils,spices,even having a deficiency in Zinc can cause body odor. But she needs to be come aware of it. You will have to tell her. It will not be the easiest job in the world and surely not kindest but it has to be done. You will have to set her down and explain it to her to shower once a day or atleast every other day and wash up and change clothes. If she has a bacteria it can also cause bad odor. The book says to wash in anti-bacteria soaps and that should help with some of the odor but she will need to use it everyday once in the morning and maybe before bed or even a afternoon freshen up. I fight body odor myself and I find that bathing on a regularly shedule or atleast washing up everyday will help alot and using deodorants and female body deodorant sprays. Maybe since it i smothers day coing up you could buy her a few products for odor and cleansers. It has to be done. she can't go through life smelling offensive she will lose friends because they don't want to hurt her but then they don't want to smell her either so htey drift apart. Please be strong and tell this person. I am grateful if someone told me I smelled. Maybe she will start taking better care of herself and in so doing that she will be a better cleaner mom. and her kid will be proud of instead of instead of keeping his friends away or making up excuses for her. Please be gentle but do it for her own sake. good luck..
• United States
29 Apr 07
This is true, it can be due to anything from the food she eats to a genetic disorder. Supposedly when people smell that bad, it is suppose to be related to biology rather than environmental though. Some of these people suffer regardless of showers, dedorant, perfume, medication, whatever. So, first make sure it is not medical. Next, just be up front and honest with her. Let her know she has a bad odor coming from her that maybe she can't smell, but others can and they are beginning to talk about her and you thought that she should know. Good-luck
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Apr 07
I have the same issues with a close friend of mine. I think the world of this guy but he's very heavy set & truck driver so he's got a body odor. he seems to know of it though, just hasn't been able to get rid of it.
1 person likes this
@mtdewgurl74 (18118)
• United States
1 May 07
Maybe it is a bacteria in his system that causes it? I can imagine how hard it can be sitting in a truck all day driving and only getting ot shower when they finish the job or a chance to get a shower maybe at a truck stop. It could be the foods he eats at these truck stops the greasy food can sometimes cause some to smell. It does my brother who is also overweight.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Apr 07
There is no good way to come out and tell somebody that they have body odor, but you'll be doing her a favor by letting her know. My best thought is to type up an anonymous (and very frank) note telling her in detail that there is a problem. She likely doesn't realize it and will no doubt be embarrassed, but the note allows her and you to avoid an awkward, public moment while still making sure she gets the message. Let her know she needs to shower, wash her hair, use deodorant, and whatever else regularly.
• United States
29 Apr 07
Thanks so much for this tip. I never thought about a note. I could actually write a note and leave it at her apt or on her car or something. Thanks so much.
1 person likes this
@mtdewgurl74 (18118)
• United States
29 Apr 07
This is a very good idea. But if I were you I would get someone else to write the note because she may know your handwriting and put two and two together. SO have your mom or someone write the note. she may just crumple it up and forget about it. You may have to keep giving her the notes till she will take notice of them. Health department frowns on unclean mothers. If she changes clothes maybe she thinks that it will make the scent go away? or maybe if she does change clothes she only has so many pairs of underwear and wears a pair for a few days? Is she heavy set? Well anyway you decide to tell her i hope it goes well and things change. another poster says she doesn't think she will change but maybe with enough notes and hints she might, if she ask you if she smells you have to be honest, and tell her yes, well Good luck..
1 person likes this
• Singapore
29 Apr 07
Wow, this is quite a sensitive one. I doubt I would tell her personally. Instead, I would probably try to drop some hints. When she stayed at your place, she might not have taken many showers because she might have felt that it would be inconsiderate to use so much water and expect you to pay for it. So she might have been trying to save some money. If she is still staying with you, you could tell her that's it's not necessary for her to help you to save the money on water bills. It is ok for her to take frequent showers if she needs to.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
30 Apr 07
Hmmm.... that's real tricky. I guess in this case, I'd ask one of her close friends or family to tell her directly then. I think that should help.
1 person likes this
@leeesa (885)
• United States
29 Apr 07
If she is pregnant, isn't she seeing a doctor regularly? I would think that they would say something. Here's another suggestion to avoid the face to face confrontation - leave an anonymous care package at her door with soap, deoderant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. along with some printouts of the importance of good hygiene. Then deny like heck if she asks if you left it!
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Apr 07
LOL See that's what I thought too. I figured the doctor would smell it but we have a class on the days she goes to the doctor. That is one day that she DOES shower. The care package is a good idea too. Thanks.
1 person likes this
@aliyaa (580)
• India
30 Apr 07
mylot - mylot.com
From what i have seen from the details you have given your friend will not giveup her habit.. But as a friend you have the responsibilty to help her. You should try your best to change her .. You should tell her that people are complaining about her bad odour.. I also have who once used to bath only during 3 days... Now he have changed his habit . I dont know why he did that.I will surely ask him why he did that and will let you know if it helps your friend.
1 person likes this
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
30 Apr 07
that is a tough one. If she has a locker at work, you can slip a note in to tell her that she needs to take a shower everyday because her body odor is offensive. Or you as a class go to the teacher and force him or the school to tell her that her body odor is offensive.
1 person likes this
@maddog108 (3441)
• Australia
30 Apr 07
give em a real hint spay them with deoderent every time they come close.eventually they will get the message.but be nice about it do it in a fun sort of a way
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Apr 07
Trust me, she already knows and has been told by every do gooder she has ever come across. Leave it alone, if you cant be around her then dont.
1 person likes this
@anaknitatay (1335)
• Philippines
30 Apr 07
To tell you the truth I used to have this myself. I knew I stunk but didn't realize it was that obvious until a friend told me, which I really appreciated. If you are that close then you should tell her, not only tell her but help her solve her problem; find out what she's doing wrong and offer some suggestions. Tell her first then take it from there. if her reaction is positive take the next step if not hold off on the suggestions/discussions until she cools off and is more receptive, if her reaction is really negative then let her be at least you did what you had to as a friend.
1 person likes this
@zjenikka (292)
• Philippines
30 Apr 07
It pays to be honest, so tell your friend with all honesty that she needs to do something with her hygiene. But in a nice way not to hurt your friend.
1 person likes this
@lissaj (532)
• United States
30 Apr 07
I know this may sound rude, but the only way to do it, is to just tell her. Tell her that you think she should know, as a friend, that people are talking about her body odor. There really is no easy way to deal with something like that, but I know that if it was me, I would want someone to tell me that I smell bad.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
30 Apr 07
"Friend, i found a new bath soap and its really cool.. u can try it too.." maybe thats what I'm goin to tell to my friend.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Apr 07
We had this family at church that had horrible odor. A couple friends and I made a gift basket for them full of deoderant and all the basic stuff they would need to stay clean. Maybe you could do this and leave this in her doorway of her house or some place that she would find it. :) Good luck with talking to her.
1 person likes this
@sweetdesign (5151)
• United States
29 Apr 07
I have been where you are. I have had friends who don't take personal hygiene seriously and they seriously smell. But how do you say to some one "hey you stink". I also have a freind who normally doesn't stink but when it is that time for her she reeks. Her whole body chemistry changes and not for the better. I just try not to breath deeply.
1 person likes this
@RobinJ (2501)
• Canada
29 Apr 07
If there is any way you can approach her as a friend and tell her what is happening. I wouldn't worry about hurting her feelings as she is obviously continually being discussed behind her back, and can you imagine if she overheard some one talking about how terrible she smells. I would tell her as a friend I would want to know . and then tell her it is very obvious that she doesn't bath near enough, I would stress for good hygiene she might bath/shower at least once a day and deodorant is available in the dollar store. If she doesn't wish to become the object of everyones ridicule than as a friend you are telling her some thing she desperately needs to hear.
@Ronyaz87 (85)
• United States
29 Apr 07
Actually some people have a different ph balance and thats why there body stinks. I would say this: "friends name" if i smelled bad or had a bugger im my nose, or started my period snd didn't relize it i would like for you to tell me so i can fix the problem. I was woundering if i have that sort of relationship with you. I don't want to hurt your feelings but i care about you and i would like to help fix the problem. Then if they say yes just tell them they have a bit of an issue with the armpit and then tell them to use degree for their gender that should help them out.. Or go shopping with them for some good smelling perfume. Shopping is always fun.
@robert19ph (4584)
• Philippines
29 Apr 07
Telling her the truth really hurts but you need to tell her anyway. If others can't say to her then, for sure you're the right person who can tell her for you're the closest friend to her. Tell her that she should not take it negatively and you just want to help her other than everybody is talking about it.That she's just like a sister to you and that you just want her to be the best. Right, how can they keep their baby clean if they don't for themselves. Maybe they're just ignoring it because they don't have enough money to pay for their bills or buying soap, etc to be clean but they should not take this for granted. The people around them is the one suffering most because of their bad smell. Wow that's hard, for you can't hold your breath every time you're near them.
1 person likes this
• Japan
29 Apr 07
There really isn't a good way to tell someone they're smelly...LOL!..People never take it well.If you value her friendship then say nothing,but if you don't really care about that,then tell her and consider it a public service ...LOL!
1 person likes this