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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Troubled_Heart Offline
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friend with BO - May 26th 2011, 06:03 PM

So my best friend has really bad BO.

She showers like once maybe twice a week and she really does smell. People at school notice it and I hear them talking about her... there have been a few incidents when people have said nasty things.

Teachers notice it but when one mentioned it she went awkward and just said 'I don't need to shower everyday, it's not good to.' No other teacher has said anything... But the truth is she needs to shower and be clean and I don't want to hurt her feelings but I think it's time she changes for both herself and others.

She always says 'you're not meant to shower in my house' and stuff like that when I and a couple of other friends previously confronted her... but I'm no good at that stuff and I always end up hurting her feelings (being the leader of that convo)

I was thinking I could talk to her alone and maybe help her find a way to change... but I really have no idea how to be nice about it and how to make her not feel uncomfortable or bad about herself... But she wants to date and I think people are more likely to go out with her if she had a better odour...

so i was wandering if you had any advice, tips, experience, ideas, words... anything really

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Re: friend with BO - May 26th 2011, 07:42 PM

I noticed that you're 14, so I'm guessing your friend is around the same age. Some teens, unfortunately, have more difficulty transitioning into puberty. For example, how comfortable are you with shaving your armpits? Most girls adjust to that new task pretty quickly... but some may be uncomfortable with looking at that particular area of their body. As a result, they may avoid shaving their armpits for as long as they can, or they may shave infrequently (ex. once or twice per week).

So my guess (I could be completely off, but here it is anyway) is that your friend isn't entirely comfortable with her body. Taking a shower forces her to acknowledge her changing body, whether it's by cleaning/shaving certain areas or feeling like she has to style her hair a certain way, wear certain clothing to impress potential boyfriends, etc. Unfortunately, when your friend DOESN'T bathe regularly, it forces OTHER people to acknowledge her changing body... and not in a good way.

That's how I would address the issue. There really isn't a "nice" way to tell someone, "You smell bad." If you keep beating around the bush, that gives her room to mumble something about showering every day being bad, then change the subject. You need to be direct, while placing the "blame" elsewhere - on society. People won't want to be around her if she smells bad! People won't take her seriously, or give her a second chance at becoming friends/romantic partners, because they judge based on what they first see (and smell). This is something she'll eventually have to tackle, because it's not just those friendships and relationships that will be affected... employers look for individuals who practice decent hygiene.

Your friend brought up one fact that she probably heard from someone at some point: showering every day ISN'T good for your HAIR. It's still important to wash the rest of your body, though. So maybe you could grab a shower cap for your friend, along with some nice-smelling body soap (Bath & Body Works?). Gently explain to your friend that part of growing up means conforming to society's expectations - and one of those expectations is to be "presentable" by not having bad body odor, by shaving certain areas regularly, etc. Again, your friend IS going to feel awkward while you're bringing up this subject, but she'll thank you later. By giving her the shower cap and nice-smelling body soap, you're showing her you're not just trying to make her feel bad... you're right there to help her through this transition into adulthood/womanhood. =)

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Re: friend with BO - May 27th 2011, 05:45 AM


I agree with everything that Robin said above me. Of course, washing your hair everyday is actually bad for you, but washing your body every day is. I think she got the two confused! You need to explain to her that not bathing is actually going to be potentially bad for her health. She could get serious vaginal infections if she doesn't keep herself clean down there. Deodorant and perfume are eventually not going to ward off the smell.

Maybe explain to her parents what is going on. They need to know about this. Their daughter is being talked about, and that could lead into bullying, which isn't a good thing. They'll need to explain to her that bathing regularly is good. Maybe they could set an example for her by taking one everyday.

I seriously hope things work out for the both of you.

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Re: friend with BO - May 28th 2011, 07:37 AM

When it comes down to it, people aren't going to do anything they don't want to do. She doesn't want to shower, and no matter how much you talk to her she's not going to. Maybe there's a water usage problem in her house, or maybe something else is going on that's too embarrassing for her to talk about. We were getting the pipes changed in our house once and everyone had to go for over a week without a shower...we were quite a disgusting bunch then haha. We were okay with explaining. But sometimes people don't want to admit that they're homeless or whatever, so they make up other excuses. Obviously, I don't know her, so maybe nothing like that is going on. But I always try to find the root of the problem before bringing it up.

I had a friend who did something similar once. She showered, but refused to shave or wear a bra. It was her belief that women need to be natural, without extra clothes or razors, and nothing I said to her changed her mind. No one else tried, they hated her too much to care. I gave up trying to change her mind. I don't talk to her anymore, so I'm not sure if she ever did or not. But my point is, people will only change for themselves. You might not like people talking like that about her, but it obviously doesn't bother her too much or she would change her habits. I just say, let her be about it. Sometimes people need to learn lessons the hard way.

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