I feel bad even writing this, but I need some advice about my best friend. She’s such a great friend – she’s always there for me, she makes me laugh and we totally get each other. But here’s the problem: she smells bad. Like really bad. I’m not the only one who has noticed it… our other friends have said something to me about it before. And she has no idea! I feel bad that she gets made fun of and she doesn’t even know it and also I just hate smelling her. How do I tell her she smells without hurting her feelings? Please help!
I feel your pain, girl. Sometimes trying to help and be a good friend isn’t easy and this is definitely one of those times. No one likes being the bearer of bad news, even if that news is only going to help someone. That being said, there are some ways you can give your BFF a hint about what’s going on without coming out and saying something really blunt.
While I would usually encourage you to be honest and straightforward with a best friend, in this case, being too honest is going to hurt her feelings and probably make her feel really embarrassed… and that might end up starting a fight. Instead, you can give her some subtle hints to try and get your point across. The next time you guys are hanging out, show her one of your perfumes and offer her a spritz. Say something like, “I’m in love with this perfume. You have to try it!”
But obviously you can’t offer her a spray of perfume every single time you see her, so maybe try something a little bit more direct. Go to the drugstore with her and say you need some new deodorant. Once you guys are there, say something like, “I love this brand of deodorant. You should try it. It smells good and it never stains my clothes!” You could also try checking out perfumes with her at the mall – when you find a scent you like for her, try encouraging her to buy it by telling her how amazing it smells on her. I know that sounds really manipulative and it is a little bit, but it could also be a strong hint to her that she needs to try something different.
If all of that fails, you may just have to be honest with her and tell her the truth as gently as possible. Tell her when it’s just you two talking (doing it in front of other friends might feel comfortable for you, but it won’t for her) and say something like this: “Hey, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I want to let you know that sometimes you smell a little. I’m just trying to be a good friend because I would want you to tell me that.” There’s no need to let her know other people are talking about her. Just try to be as nice as possible and let her know how much you care about her.
If you really don’t want to tell her, you may just have to live with the smell. But think about it: don’t you think she’d rather hear it from you than someone she doesn’t know as well?
What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at firstname.lastname@example.org