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How to Politely Tell Someone They Smell

Have you ever had to figure out how to tell a friend she/he smells? It’s never an easy thing to do. And what’s worse, there’s the possibility of losing that friend in the process. 

Understanding Body Odour

Before you jump to conclusions about your friend having body odour, let’s see what science says.

So, what exactly is body odour? Well, it’s that distinct scent that hits your nose when your sweat meets the bacteria living on your skin. Interestingly, sweat alone doesn’t carry an odour—it’s when those bacteria get in on the action that things start to smell. Body odour can range from sweet and sour to tangy or even onion-like. There are various reasons why someone’s sweat might take on an unpleasant smell. Certain medications, supplements, or foods can all play a role in creating that less-than-pleasant aroma. Remember, it’s not the sweat itself that’s causing the stink; it’s the combination of sweat and the bacteria on your skin that’s to blame.

Addressing the delicate issue of someone’s aroma can be both uncomfortable as much as it is scary. For one, you don’t want to shame the person and secondly, you don’t know how the person would react. But fear not, my friends! I’ve got your back with these light-hearted tips you can handle this situation gracefully and without stepping on toes. 

Picture this: You’re chillin’ with your friend or colleague, and suddenly you catch a whiff of an interesting but not-so-interesting scent. But before you go all “Nancy Drew” on the case, let’s explore a more subtle approach that won’t leave anyone red-faced.

  • Be the Example; There’s nothing more embarrassing than giving advice from a place of guilt. Before broaching the delicate subject of smells, ensure you’re the epitome of olfactory excellence! Freshen up with your favorite scent or grab a breath mint to lead by example.
  • Pick the right time; Choose a moment when you and your pal are in a relaxed and private setting. We definitely don’t want this to make the morning news!
  • Start with a Compliment; Warm up the conversation with a compliment or two. A little praise can go a long way in softening any potential awkwardness. Try something like, “Hey, you always rock such a cool style! Your fashion game is on point!”
  • Be serious but not too serious; I Know it’s hard to find the right balance. Approach the situation as a friend rather than a parent scolding a child. 
  • Be relatable; We all sweat. It’s nature’s way of keeping us from overheating. It’s a good idea to let your friend know that body odour doesn’t automatically mean they are dirty or unclean. 
  • Offer an actionable Solution; Remember, we’re all on the same team! Suggest a helpful tip or solution that might ease the situation. For instance, “I find carrying a tiny bottle of scented lotion does wonders when I need a midday refresh!”
  • Keep it moving; After discussing the matter, keep the vibe light and breezy. Switch to other fun topics, to avoid any future awkwardness and so your friend or colleague knows you’re still happy to hang out.

Remember, addressing sensitive topics with kindness can work wonders.

Product recommendation

Nivea Invisible black and white Antiperspirant: This remarkable product not only boasts a refreshing scent but also leaves no residue on your clothes, whether they’re black, white, or coloured. Plus, its affordability makes it a practical choice for anyone seeking long-lasting protection, even on the sweatiest of days. With up to 12 hours of protection.