I have a very good friend who has a serious body odor problem that has become so severe that it is threatening to destroy our relationship.
I’ve been good friends with this person for years – we’re both in our mid-20s and have known each other since our freshman year of high school. We went to different universities but always kept in touch, and now we both live in Boston where we see each other regularly.
But in recent years she started having really, really bad BO
At first I only noticed it occasionally, but now it’s been there for months, literally every time I see her, and it seems like it’s getting worse.
I know it sounds so petty to bring it up as such a big deal, but honestly the stench makes me want to gag every time I see her. When we go to restaurants it’s hard to eat because the smell is so nasty.
Dear Jane, I have a very good friend who has a serious body odor problem that has become so serious that it is threatening to destroy our relationship
I see other people around us making shocked faces and looking at the source of the stench – and I feel so ashamed that they might think it’s me.
I tried every subtle way I could think of to encourage her to work it out. I’ve gifted her perfume, I’ve recommended deodorants that I tell her I’ve tried and love, hoping it will help, but she either ignores me or claims she’ll try them and never does .
She recently told me that she’s having trouble making friends at her new job and I can’t help but think it’s because she stinks all the time. She also has trouble dating, saying that guys take her out on a first date and then start ghosting “for no reason.”
I don’t know how I can bring this up without her feeling terrible – but right now it feels just as cruel to ignore it? She does realize that she smells awful, right?
Raising a stink
These things are so much easier to write than to actually deal with them. I remember once having a friend who had terrible breath. I armed myself with mints and gum to offer her, which she usually refused, and like you, I never had the guts to tell her.
International bestselling author Jane Green offers sage advice on DailyMail.com readers’ most burning issues in her column Dear Jane agony aunt
But we owe it to those we love to tell them the truth when we see something that is negatively impacting their lives. As her good friend, and now that she has confided in you about the difficulty she is having with starting new relationships, you should tell her why you suspect it is a problem.
Bad news, or difficult news, is always best conveyed in what I call the sandwich. Start with something good, throw in the bad and end with something good.
As in, “You are (a great person/supportive friend/fun/loyal/whatever other good qualities you come up with), and yet you have such a hard time dating.
“I have no idea if this is the reason, but I’ve noticed over the years that you smell different, and I’m wondering if this might be off-putting to people who don’t know you.” ?’
‘Often when people start to smell differently or suddenly develop body odor, something is going on. It could be diet or an underlying medical condition, but I’m concerned about you, and you need to get it checked out by the doctor.
“You’re so (insert positive qualities again) if this is the reason people don’t follow up on friendships or dates, it’s probably a very easy fix.”
Good luck, and remember that even the hardest things can be said if we say them kindly: “Say what you mean, mean what you say, don’t say it’s mean.”
My wife and I have had a solid relationship for the past 24 years and we have three wonderful children: a son who is 19, another son who is 17, and a daughter who is now 15.
My wife has always been a little closer to the eldest son than the other two for some reason. I love all three equally and give them all the best attention I can.
This lopsided attention issue escalated about two years ago when my middle son came out as gay. I was elated and supported him to live his true life, but I have since discovered that my wife’s acceptance was very superficial, while mine was authentic.
In the two years since coming out, my son has been bullied at school and has struggled to adjust to his sexuality and find his way in life and relationships, as any 17-year-old does.
But my wife avoids talking to me about him, rarely has conversations with him, and has been paying extra attention to my oldest, who is in college. Although she doesn’t argue with him or me, it worries me that she pays so much attention and care to the eldest, who is not even with us.
Every time I talk about this she denies it, but it never escalates further. My 17 year old is very observant. He has often asked me why she ignores him and whether or not she no longer loves him because he is gay.
I cover for her and say she’s just like me and she loves all her kids equally, but my son is old enough to realize his dad isn’t completely honest, and it’s clear I care about him a lot more and what that is. going through than she does.
Dear Jane’s Sunday Service
Relationships so often fail because we can’t be honest.
We let the little things slide, thinking we can let it go, thinking we can overlook it, thinking we can sweep it under the rug, but withholding that means that the pile under the rug ends up being so big that we ending the relationship because our resentment has grown and we decide we’ve had enough.
It’s much better to tackle the problems as they arise, to talk them through, to figure out how we can do things differently. Those are the bricks on which every solid and long-lasting relationship is built.
Should I just be honest with my son and tell him that I can no longer speak for her, and escalate this issue further with my wife, or will she start ignoring me too? I can’t imagine this dynamic will be the new normal forever.
Authentic love is love
Best authentic love is love,
Good lord, this is hard for you.
How understandable it is that you try to protect your son from his mother’s disinterest or disapproval. It’s hard to know exactly how she feels because she apparently hasn’t told you, and it’s essential that you get to the bottom of this. with her.
You say that when you try to talk to her about it, she denies it, so instead of confronting her about what you’ve noticed, maybe ask her how she feels about each of her children. Keep asking questions until you get the answers you need, and the truth.
Only when she is honest about how she feels and what her gay son brings out in her can you do something about it.
As for your son, you need to stop hiding from your wife and confirm what he already knows to be true about his mother.
Explain to him that you don’t understand it either – although hopefully you will soon – and that you have no idea why she prefers the older one, but that it probably has nothing to do with the fact that he is homosexual, and more with the unique bond he has. mothers often have firstborn sons.
That said, it is important that he knows that you are working with her to try to understand what is going on, that your son is not imagining it, and that he has your unconditional love and support, and together you will try to find the solution. bottom of it.