Would you tell someone if they had bad breath or body odor?

Asked by Josh Board

January 6, 2010

Photo of Margam Bassiri

Margam Bassiri

From La Jolla (Wireless industry)

No, I wouldn’t. It would just sound very rude. If someone smells bad, and yes I’ve experienced that, I just move far away from them. And you wouldn’t want to tell coworkers that you see all the time. My husband is from France. He smells okay, but when we’re there, the people on subways…They all have their arms up holding that handle. Some of them smell awful.

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Kim Simmons

From Ocean Beach (Researcher)

I did tell someone once. It was at a party and he started talking to me. His breath smelled like rotting fish. He saw me make a weird face and asked what was wrong. I told him he had bad breath and he was offended. He made a comment and then quickly walked away. In the future, I would try to be more tactful and discreet. There’s a guy I work with that has similar breath. I haven’t told him, though. I just usually walk away from him.

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George Figaro

From North Park (Barber)

If it’s a family member, I wouldn’t mind saying. It’s different if you worked with someone or a stranger. I sometimes have people sit down in the chair that stink. I won’t say anything. I want them to enjoy their visit. I noticed a Greek guy once that always stunk from garlic. It’s strange, because I love the smell of garlic. I guess when it’s mixed with your sweat and you don’t bathe enough, it stinks. I did have one guy who had hair that was filthy and stunk. It’s one thing if you just came from work and your hair is sweaty and dusty. That’s stink you can respect. I told this guy to either go home and wash his hair and come back or that I would and I’d have to charge him.

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Tanya Bolton

From Valley Center (Nonprofit Consultant)

I would. I have. Usually it’s if I’m dating someone. They always get mad, and they’re quick to point it out the next time your breath isn’t so fresh. They’ll get over being mad. The worst is when you’re talking to someone and they start covering their mouth. You wonder if it’s them or you. I had a coworker once who was a really sweet woman. She was so fun and cool and sometimes had bad breath. I never did tell her. It wasn’t worth it.

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Claudia Williams

From La Mesa (Waitress)

I would never tell someone. I guess if you had to, there are ways of saying it nicely. I just wouldn’t be the person to say anything. I don’t care if it’s a customer, a family member, or a coworker. Sometimes I’ve been around people that stink, and I just keep my mouth shut. Although, I do tell people if they have something in their teeth.

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Mike Hight

From San Diego (Student)

It depends. If it was a complete stranger, yes. If it was someone I knew, probably not. With a stranger, you really have nothing to lose. You’ll probably never see them again. If I was in Paris, I would have no problem telling people. If it was coworkers, it all depends. If it’s my boss, probably not. If it’s somebody that works for me, I’d probably tell them. I’d probably do it over a beer.


jmtrudeau Jan. 15, 2010 @ 12:17 p.m.

I do all the time. People take offense to my smoking, so I have no problem letting people know that scientists have invented deodorant, soap, and toothpaste.


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