How to Tell Someone They Smell without Hurting Their Feelings?

Do you have one smelly person and want to know how to tell someone they smell without hurting their feelings? You can try these tips without making them feel bad. 

How to tell someone they smell without hurting their feelings

It’s tricky. You can’t handle the smell but you also don’t know how to tell them if they’re smelling bad. You know it’s going to make them feel bad if you say so. 

Body odor is a sensitive topic but maybe you can try these steps to tell them the message without being mean. Here’s how to tell someone they smell without hurting their feelings: 

1. Ask a close friend to tell them

If you are not close enough with that person, you just happen to be in the same room as them but you don’t know them at all, don’t try to tell them directly about their possible body odor issues.

It’s better to tell their closest friend to tell them. They will know and find a way to help and solve this. 

That would be awkward if you yourself call them out for being smelly. Plus, you don’t know if your words could hurt them a little bit. 

2. Talk politely and privately

Use the nicest and polite words possible. Don’t go too harsh like, “Yo, you’re smelling like dead fish in the fish market!” That’s so mean. (You can only use those words if you’re best friends with them but take that as a joke). 

Other than that, just say something nicely like, “hey, I am only telling you this because I care for you and we want to inhale fresh air, right? I am sorry but I figured out you have body odor issues. But don’t worry I would love to help you with that”. Or choose your own polite words. 

Also, don’t say that in public or among a group of friends. Say that in a private room with only the two of you. And make the situation warm and nice and no tension. 

You may also read: What Should I Do for My Girlfriend’s 21st Birthday Party? Reasons and Ideas to Celebrate

3. Act like you are also smell bad

This is another way to tell someone they smell without hurting their feelings. Act like you are the one who smells bad and you laugh about that. 

“Is it me or the weather or my nose? I spotted some bad smelling here”. While making a gesture of finding the sources of the smell. Then you notice the smell comes from your armpits or your own mouth or something belongs to you. 

Then you can laugh about it or make silly jokes about it. Then, you also spot their body odors. Now you say, “hell, we both smell like shit lol. Let’s change some clothes and buy perfume. or can we take a shower here in the office?” Let’s go before anyone notices it. 

4. Tell them about discounts for hygiene products or perfume

It’s a secret undirected way to tell someone they smell without hurting their feelings. Share them the links of hygiene products discounts in some e-commerce or hand them a discount catalogue at the local store. 

Tell them that you also want to buy some because it’s cheap and you think you have problems with hygiene and body odors currently. Also, tell them the nicest or new perfume fragrant or deodorant you would like to try. 

Encourage them to buy some too. Or ask them to buy it all together with you. “I think the rose fragrance fits you. It will make you smell like a flower garden full of love”. 🌸

5. Gift them some hygiene products

Maybe you need to try this. If you are confused about how to tell someone they smell without hurting their feelings, just give them some hygiene products. They will use it and hopefully can help with their body odor issues. 

It wouldn’t be obvious that what you mean is “you are smelling bad”. When you just come back from another city or country, give them souvenirs like the local soap, herbal soaps, some toothpaste, along with chocolate and others. 

6. Don’t make fun of them 

Knowing yourself smelling bad can make you feel worse and embarrassed. That’s why you need to tell them privately and even give them the solution nicely. 

You just want to inhale the clear air and they just want to smell good. No need to make fun of them for their issues. 

7. Find the sources and causes why they’re smelling bad

Maybe you can act like a detective finding the sources of the bad smells in the room? Yeah, ask them to join but it’s secretly, don’t let anyone notice your awkward gestures. 

Let’s say you know the smell comes from their shoes, or socks, or unwashed jackets. Pretend like that’s your stuff that smells bad, then also point it out on their smelly belongings. Then, offer to watch it together so they don’t feel ashamed. 

If the bad smells come from their body, reveal it in a polite possible way. Then, also tell them that you are smelling like shits too, so they don’t feel alone or judged. 

Next, both of you can share how to get rid of the smell real quick. Share the perfume or offer a pack of gum to get rid of mouth odor. 

8. Tell them you are spotting the smell 

Do you have one smelly person and want to know how to tell someone they smell without hurting their feelings? You can try these tips without making them feel bad. 

You may also read: Is It OK If My Girlfriend Hangs Out with Guy Friends?

Pro Tips: How to Tell Someone They Smell without Hurting Their Feeling

  • Ask directly. Never in the crowd. 
  • Use the tone of concern, not the tone of bad criticism.
  • Offer some help and useful advice. 
  • Initiate the smell test. After they do some home treatments, they can go in public, then tell them how it works. 
  • Tell them it’s okay, they are still attractive and still loved.

Author: Augusta Adinda

“Misery, sadness, loss of faith, no reason to live… this is perfect for you.” — Vance from 500 days of Summer

3 thoughts

  1. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!


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