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Grooming a friend

We have all had a friend or acquaintance with grooming-related issues that you know need to be addressed urgently but you just do not know how to tell them.
Report by Heather R

How do you tell someone they have bad breath? Never mind that it would be awkward for them, it would be awkward for you too. Imagine how uncomfortable it would be for you to hear that your breath stinks. You would be grateful in the end but you would wonder about how long people had to put up with your bad breath. The truth is, you are better off knowing your breath or body odour is offensive.

Take for example the wife of a man with really bad breath. Sometimes you wonder how she kisses him, or the husband with smelly armpits, how he holds his wife close to him, and yet he does. Clearly, love knows no smell. Usually family members are very candid and have no problem telling you exactly like it is — at least my family does.

There are a variety of awkward situations that you would like to address but you may not have any idea of how you can do that. Well, neither do I, so I googled tips on how to tell someone they have something that needs attention. Apply these tips for other grooming issues, like bad breath, body odour, bad hair or bad outfit choice.

These are wikiHow’s — how to tell someone they have bad breath:

  •   Identify the person who has the breath issue. Don’t go looking for people, tell the one you know has the issue and needs to deal with it.
  •   Try to get the person alone, or when they are not talking to somebody. (If in a quiet area, whisper to them). Make this as private as possible.
  •   Try not to tell them about their issue at a time they are not able to do anything about it, e.g. telling them that their outfit is atrocious first thing in the morning at work when they are unable to go back home and change. They will be self-conscious and uncomfortable all day and that is not what you are trying to achieve.
  • Depending on how well you know them, don’t beat around the bush! Sooner or later, someone will just come up and tell them their breath stinks. This can be embarrassing coming from a stranger, so it’s a lot better coming from a close friend.

Dealing with a pal with issues

Try to casually offer a colleague with bad breath a mint or piece of gum; do not make it too obvious. My friends and I have mastered this one. However, this is a temporary fix so you need to find a permanent solution when helping a loved one deal with bad breath.

For instance, when your friend has a hairstyle that does not suit them, instead of just saying “that’s a bad hairstyle”, you could say “that hairstyle does not do you justice. Hairstyles like A, B or C really suit you”. You have not just rained on their parade, you have offered constructive criticism.

Either walk away or stay with the person. If someone taunts them about their issues, defend your friend. That’s what friends are for.

When telling them, try and put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would like to hear such news. Be kind.

Inasmuch as you are trying to get the point across, you do not want to hurt the person. Speak the truth in love.

Do not forget to offer solutions and not just highlight the problems. Do your research so your advice has substance. Good luck giving and receiving advice.

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