Dear Aggie: Drown the stench in kindness
There’s a person in my class that has no boundaries and seems to have no sense of personal hygiene. How can I bring it up to them?
Sincerely, Trying to Breathe
Outside of family, it just stinks to confront people about their lack of personal hygiene. Here’s a list of quick and dirty tips:
- Be considerate. Remember that people face different challenges, such as financial burdens and medical conditions. Depending on the person’s unique situation, he or she may not have a way to shower daily.
- Drench the stench with kindness. Valentine’s Day is coming up, which is the ideal time to buy him or her a small bottle of lotion or soap and some heart-shaped mints.
- Compliment the person on the days he or she smells good – the thoughtful words could encourage him or her. Don’t manipulate, though; only offer genuine comments.
- If the smell lingers even after those tips, then put the situation into perspective. Is his or her scent physically harming you? Is direct confrontation worth the possibility of ill feelings? If it’s worth it, confront the person in private and be polite.
- If all else fails, pop a piece of gum or a cough drop into your own mouth to cover up the unpleasant smell.
One last thing: personal space is a necessity. Rather than telling the space invader to get out of your face, just take a step back – give yourself the space you need.
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