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To tell my friend that she smells???

(76 Posts)
Mamadothehump Wed 10-Feb-16 12:14:29

I have a very good friend, let's call her Jane. Jane and I have only known each other for a couple of years or so but have become very close. She is a truly lovely person and we can count on each other for anything. Our children are very close and our husbands are now good mates. We talk almost daily and also socialise a lot together with other friends or both of our families as a group. We have all been away together and had an amazing time.

Trouble is, Jane has a problem with BO. It's not all the time but my god, it can be awful. Think "stink the room out" awful. I've only talked about it with DH as he has clearly noticed and I do want to talk to her about it but it's such a difficult one as I really don't want to embarrass her or for it to affect our friendship. I really can't believe that her DH or close family haven't said anything as you really can't miss it! I know she washes and seems hygienic in all other ways.

So people, how do I go about this?? I know I'm being a wuss about it and should probably bite the bullet and tell her but it's such a tricky one!!!

OohMavis Wed 10-Feb-16 12:16:31

Some people, no matter how much they wash and use deodorant, smell. It can be life-limiting. She probably already knows.

I really wouldn't say anything.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 10-Feb-16 12:17:33

I would tell her before someone else does. someone who doesn't care about her and who is nasty about it.

it's going to he hard to hear whoever ot cones from but u know I'd rather hear it from a friend than a stranger. and I'd wonder why a friend never told me

ScarlettDarling Wed 10-Feb-16 12:19:26

I expect she already knows. How on earth could you not notice that you are stinking a room out?

Perhaps she knows but doesn't care enough to do anything about it or perhaps she has some kind of 'condition' which makes her smell...either way I can't see how telling her that you've noticed it will change anything except create a real awkwardness between the two of you.

It's a tough one!

Boomerwang Wed 10-Feb-16 12:23:10

Try digging first. Mention going to the doctor and casually ask if she ever bothers with the doctor for anything herself...

Say your pits are itchy, can she recommend a sensitive deodorant?

Bugger it. Two years is a long time. If it were my friend I'd be all 'jeeze, what have you eaten?! I can smell it from 'ere!' but I appreciate not everybody is like me...

I wasn't much use. Sorry.

deregistered Wed 10-Feb-16 12:24:04

I had this with a former friend. She was a good friend too but I just could not bring myself to tell her! She was slightly unpredictable and sensitive and I just fretted that it would push her over the edge.

I should have said something though.

I think say: 'I'm sorry if this is really embarrassing and personal, but I'm telling you for your own sake, you do have noticeable body odour'.

RhobarbRhobarb Wed 10-Feb-16 12:24:04

I had a flatmate years ago who had terrible BO, she washed all the time, smoked (to cover up the smell I thought) and was always spraying deodordant. I believe she knew she smelled - as does your friend.

Boomerwang Wed 10-Feb-16 12:25:37

Btw my brother had a problem with body odour and went to the doctor about it. He also had a problem with sweating a lot at night. I don't think treatment from the doctor helped, but he decided to go on a diet (unrelated to the BO problem) and cut out stuff he didn't want any more. He was addicted to Diet Coke but binned that off as well. He stopped stinking and sweating almost overnight. He reckons it was the diet coke that did it.

FloatyFlo Wed 10-Feb-16 12:31:24

It's a toughie.

Me and my best friend can be very open and honest in this way. there's been a few occasions where we have just handed the other one a can of deo and we've both been appreciative! We have a mutual understanding we'd rather tell each other than let the other go out smelling! I appreciate not every friendship is like this though. Hell, everybody gets a bit sweaty and smelly occasionally!

I definitely think you should approach it however. Especially if it is all the time. She genuinely may not be aware. And Better you tell her than some stranger/spiteful person!

HoggleHoggle Wed 10-Feb-16 12:31:59

To be honest if she already washes regularly and is hygienic like you say, then I'm not sure there's a great deal she can do? I'm a sweater, it's shit, I wash every day and wear deodorant but for whatever reason there are some days where it can just be unmanageable - perhaps if I've been more active or it's really hot.

Anyway, if she's basically got good hygiene already and it's not all the time then I don't think I would say anything. I can't see how she wouldn't be aware of it and I personally would be BEYOND mortified if one my friends said something to me (though I wouldn't be upset with them).

isthatpoisontoo Wed 10-Feb-16 12:36:16

What makes you think she doesn't know? I think it's fairly hard to avoid the knowledge, between her own sense of smell and other people mentioning it. Either she doesn't care (I have a friend like this) or she isn't able to change it. Either way, it doesn't seem necessary or kind to bring it up.

Mamadothehump Wed 10-Feb-16 12:36:21

Thank you for the speedy replies so far! She can be quite guarded so maybe she does know but obviously hasn't said anything to me??

It's definitely not Diet Coke as she doesn't drink it!

Thing is, it's not all the time but can come on very quickly so I'm wondering if she doesn't use anti perspirant (just a body spray maybe?)

She has also made jokes before when other friends have been stood away from us and talking amongst themselves and not to us, asking me, "do we smell?!" I'm not sure she would say that if she knew that yes, quite often she does!

FloatyFlo Wed 10-Feb-16 12:37:23

I have to disagree with pp. If she smells everyday, and she is aware then she might not be so embarrassed by op mentioning it and may already be trying to sort it.

If she isn't aware, then she needs to be told more so! I could never let my friend walk around like that. Chances are her dh has got used to it so doesn't smell it any more!

Could you approach her dh about it?

tinofbiscuits Wed 10-Feb-16 12:38:07

I think deregistered's suggestion is good.

FloatyFlo Wed 10-Feb-16 12:39:35

She has also made jokes before when other friends have been stood away from us and talking amongst themselves and not to us, asking me, "do we smell?!" I'm not sure she would say that if she knew that yes, quite often she does!

Yup, she definitely isn't aware. No one with a smell problem would want to knowingly draw more attention to it at all.

To me a good friend would tell her. No matter how painful.

startingmylifeagain Wed 10-Feb-16 12:43:00

OP honestly if she's a good friend then Imo you should be able to have a tactful conversation about it.
My best friend and I have the kind of friendship where we can say pretty much anything to each other, and if I was in your shoes I would absolutely bring it up in a kind way and ask about it.
As other posters have mentioned it would be better for her to hear it from you then an unkind stranger, surely.

Marniasmum Wed 10-Feb-16 12:43:10

No I wouldn't say won't end well.

2kids2dogsandacaravan Wed 10-Feb-16 12:44:21

It might be hormonal. Certain times of the month I really stink unless I go overboard with the antiperspirant. I saw mitchum deodorant recommended on here. It is fantastic, really works. If she doesn't smell all the time I bet she is aware that sometimes she does. If I'm a bit whiffy I get really embarrassed about it. Tell her about mitchum maybe?

ChinUpChestOut Wed 10-Feb-16 12:44:46

Make it less personal. It's not her that smells, it's her clothes, eg., "gosh did you get really hot in that top earlier - I think it's a goner" .

Personally, I favour the straight up approach - "sorry mate, gotta tell you that you're a bit full on today - think you're going to have change your deodorant".

If she has BO often, and you can manoeuvre the conversation to say exactly that, then she needs to think about seeing a doctor. It may be masking an underlying condition, or could be something easily treatable - like eliminating something from her diet. Either way, it's affecting her life and her GP should be able to help.

TheWoodenSpoonOfMischief Wed 10-Feb-16 12:45:16

I told a male friend once.
It was a summers day and he stank. We were walking passed a boots and I said 'come in here. There's something I need to show you.' I took him to the deodorants and said 'get one of these and use it'.
He did look a bit embarrassed but just laughed, bought one and never stank again.
Neither of us mentioned it ever again and it didn't affect our friendship.
It might be easier with a male friend but I think I would tell a female friend. She may wash regularly but maybe she needs a daily shower, deoderant and to wash clothes at a higher temperature.

PeppermintPasty Wed 10-Feb-16 12:46:20

It's difficult. My bf suffers with sweaty armpits. It runs in her family, some of them have even had Botox under arms to try and get rid of it! I rarely catch a whiff, but when I do of course I don't need to say anything as she already knows and is generally worried ALL the time about it, in fact she is OTT about it and sometimes I can't persuade her that she doesn't actually smell on any given day.

Having said that, sometimes, in certain social situations, she forgets, and I would ALWAYS tell her if a massive sweat stain started to appear or something, or she whiffed a bit, which has happened in the past.

I think, as you are good friends, you need to be frank with her. Start with a general remark about your pits, as suggested, and go from there. She might be desperate to talk about it. Or, if she's totally unaware, she might be mortified at first, but if handled kindly, she will know why you said something.

AimUnder Wed 10-Feb-16 12:48:06

I would tell her about this sure maximum protection product, honestly it is amazing. If you put this on, you really can't get BO:

any of the ones from this range. Maybe you can tell her how amazing it is, and the say you picked up one for her too?

AimUnder Wed 10-Feb-16 12:49:36

She really might not be able to smell herself. I have a strong dust allergy which means I can't smell much at all.

LovelyFriend Wed 10-Feb-16 12:57:47

some people really don't know though. or they don't really mind.

Is she perhaps from another country where deodorant use isn't so prolific?

EssentialHummus Wed 10-Feb-16 13:00:27

It's tough. I was in a similar situation a few years ago and to this day feel terrible that I didn't step in and say something. On reflection, and after a few similar MN threads, the best approach to me seems to say, "Look, I feel bad mentioning it, but I'm not sure that the deodorant/antiperspirant you use always works. I think you may need to try another one."

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