How would you handle telling someone that they really smell bad?

United States
January 25, 2007 2:20pm CST
We have a student in our classroom who is struggling to get his GED. He sits by himself most of the day, in the corner of our computer lab and toils away on his own. Problem is, not only does he smell funky, but we are also having a hard time matching him up with a tutor because of his strong odor. How would you approach this student. What kinds of things would you say and how would you word it. I mean, afterall, you don't want to offend him, but he needs to do something because no one really wants to sit at that end of the computer lab! Any advice to share?
5 responses
• United States
28 Jan 07
My friend has asked me about this because she has a friend she didn't want to offend. I suggest someone write this person an anonymous letter. I'm sure you can find this person's address and send a typed written letter in a typed-written envelope and break it to him gently. Like, Dear so and so, I don't want to offend you at all, but I am just concerned about you. I have noticed that you seem to have bad body odor. I think this needs your immediate attention. And write other things that you might think will be helpful so that they won't just ignore your letter. Suggest they take long baths, use a bath mitt or scrub and make sure all body parts are being scrubbed and washed. Perhaps suggest a good soap and deodorant...
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 07
Thank you, Marie, for your practical advice! All very good ideas indeed! I will consider that option!
@shellyrios (1215)
• United States
27 Jan 07
oh I've actually approached that person themself and told them. It was so unbearable and it was because he was wearing a shirt he hadn't washed in 2 weeks, it was GROSS.......so literally I asked if he had another shirt to wear or replace, and at first he got pissed, but then he changed it. That shirt was just as bad with dog hair all over, but at least it didn't smell nearly as bad as the other one. He was notorious for that though.......I got tired of it and told him, we had to work around him and it was too much.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jan 07
That's funny. One stinky dude! Yeah, it's really difficult to approach thst situation, though in your case it seems that it was almost cut and dry. I feel bad for such people and wish them all the best, ya know? But, c'mon with the odor. Even when I'm stinky, I'm atleast conscious of it and put on some deodorant. Thanks again, Shelly for all of your great responses. I'll come by when I get the time and reflect upon the discussions which you have started. Cheers! -Charlie
@lisa101 (1362)
• United States
25 Jan 07
If you didn't want to tell him yourself you could always get two or three girls together to make fun of him and tell him all about it. There is now way a person's hygeine can accidentally smell bad. He knows he stinks and just dont care so why should we worry about his feelings.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jan 07
We've thought of that one! Just play it off or have someone else take care of the dirty work. The risk you run in hurting his feelings of course that he might leave our program altogether, which in some respects would be a blessing for all parties involved, but I would hate to have failed him by being insensitive to his feelings, ya know? But you're right, if he's gonna stink that bad, he better expect some grief from someone at one time or another. Thank you, Lisa, for your response! -Charlie
@7nicole1 (1634)
• Canada
25 Jan 07
I know alot of people won't agree but if it where me Id go up and tell him he stinks. I know it seems rude but if you say nothing then everyone picks on that individual.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jan 07
True enough. Afterall, honesty is the best policy I suppose. Why not stop beating around the bush and tell him straight up. I think you're right! Thanks for the response!
@lpetges (3036)
• United States
25 Jan 07
that is a tough one. maybe you could suggest a cologne or something.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jan 07
That's definitely one of the things I will suggest! Thanks for the advice! Cheers!