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You Be The Jury: How to tell a friend they stink

Intense body odor can spoil friendships, prevent promotions at work, and more. But should this listener's husband take the risk and tell his best friend that he needs to shower more often? (AP Photo)

A listener wrote to Dori asking us how to deal with her husband’s friend, whose body odor is so severe she gets physically sick.

Cece and her husband are turning 40 this summer, and her husband’s best friend, Jim, will be visiting to celebrate. But after Jim’s last visit, Cece had to throw out his towels and mattress liner because she couldn’t get the smell out.

She says she doesn’t think she can deal with the stink again, but her husband refuses to put Jim up in a hotel.

Dori had a childhood friend with terrible body odor and bad breath. He never said anything about it, but now he wishes he had told his friend that other people noticed it.

News anchor Maura Gallucci agreed, saying that Cece’s husband needs to have a conversation with his friend.

“It wouldn’t be hard to just leave a bar of soap or a mini deodorant in his guest room,” said “but it sounds like more of a problem than that. It sounds like a doctor visit.”

Dori’s listeners overwhelmingly agreed that Cece’s husband needed to talk to Jim about his body odor.

Neil used to be the smelly guy, and said he had no idea how bad his body odor had become, until his friends confronted him. It made him more aware of what he was going on, and he was able to make a change.

He started showering after work because he had a very physical job. Neil also went to the dentist and realized he didn’t get his teeth cleaned often enough.

It was an embarrassing conversation, but Neil says he was glad his friends cared enough to help him change.

Listener Les said that when he had to deal with a co-worker who smelled, he put together a gift bag with soap, gum, and deodorant, and had a quick conversation with his colleague. He advised Cece and her husband to be up-front and specific.

“This guy was very appreciative. It took him a few hours, he was a little put-off,” said Les. “But he came back and said, ‘You know, thank you so much, I appreciate it I was always was suspicious but nobody ever had the gumption to come up and talk to me.'”

Another listener suggested that Jim might need more than just cologne.

“They have prescription deodorant that you can even use,” said Josh.

Jimmy, on the other hand, said Cece and her husband need to give Jim a call before he comes for his visit. If Jim still smells terrible, he suggested getting a used set of sheets and towels just for Jim from the Goodwill.

Read Cece’s letter and give us your best advice:

Time is running out on a problem my wonderful husband and I are facing, and I’m hoping you and your listeners can help us. I was afraid to call last week when you did “Mr. Anonymous” but maybe you can help me on “Dang It Dori???”

I’m going to cut to the chase: my husband “David’s” friend, “Jim” stinks. I don’t mean that Jim’s not a nice guy. He is. It’s just that Jim smells really bad. He’s kind, funny and so generous he would give you the shirt off his back – but you wouldn’t want it, because that shirt would stink, too. Sometimes Jim’s smell is so odoriferous that it makes me gag.

The good thing is that Jim lives in LA, so it doesn’t bother me that often. But my husband and I are both turning 40 this summer, and Jim is coming up to help David celebrate. These two guys have been friends since junior high, and David says Jim is like his brother.

In the three years I’ve known my husband, Jim has only come to visit us once before – and that time he stayed at our house. It was awful. After he left, I had to throw out the mattress liner and the towel Jim used during his stay AND I had to leave the windows in the house open for a week to try and air it out. Remember PigPen from Charlie Brown? It’s worse. After his second day here, I couldn’t even be in the house during dinner because it killed my appetite. When he left, I even had to have the carpet cleaned in the guest bedroom.

I have asked David if we could book a hotel room near our home for Jim when he comes to visit this summer, but even though David admits that Jim smells bad, he thinks asking him to stay in a hotel is rude – and he won’t budge.

Dori you must have listeners out there who have issues with their spouses’ friends. Again, I like Jim and I love my husband, but come on – it’s my home, too, right?

Any good suggestions would be helpful (especially if they convince my husband that I’m right!). I’m already starting to panic.

What you’re saying on Facebook:

Natasha GB: How about as he arrives, send him to a spa where they scrub him down? It’s a nice gesture and you don’t end up hurting his feelings or ruining the relationship.

Mk Cumpston: …haha, what I’ve done this before, hand them a towel, warsh rag , soap and shampoo and a robe…point the way to the shower and warsh their clothes while there in it but keep a smile on your face and tell them lunch or dinner will be on the table when they get out and don’t bring it up again.

Jesse Schweizer If the guest is a guy (sounds like it) then have the husband do it. If the listener has a close enough relationship to the guest, just come out with it. “Hey man, have you been working out or something? You’re smelling a bit ripe.”

Amy Fehd: Could be they are allergic to deodorants. I went to school with someone allergic to them and he was into sports and smelled really bad sometimes. We knew he was allergic and dealt with it.

Roxanne Murdock: Sounds like me. My brother stayed over for the weekend on the couch, and when he left, I did not hesitate, after he left, to wash all the bedding and clean out the shower (yes he showered!) It has to be what he eats.

Kristen Hannan: Stop inviting him to stay longer then a day!

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