How to handle bad breath
We've all been there. You round the corner to your cubical ready
to start the day's work when you are suddenly accosted by the
familiar stench of a co-worker's bad breath.
"Here we go again...", you think. "Another 'H'-filled tirade
that won't ever permeate my ears because I'm too busy trying to
keep it from permeating my nose."
"So anywahhhhy," continues your co-worker, "Hhhhank
Hhhhenshhhhaaw from Hhhhuman Reshhhhourcess told me ouhhhhhr
401k plahhhhn is an outstahhhhnding invehhhhhstment
Somehow, we'd like to think that our forced smile and wilting
eyelashes might tell the offending party that there's something
less than stellar about the way they are coming across.
Unfortunately, that's simply wishful thinking. The problem is
that no one knows they have a problem. We seem to be immune to
our own stench, and unlike Willy Nelson's muse, it's never on
So how do you tell someone that their breathe is causing you to
have a problem differentiating their head from their derriere?
Sure, if it's someone you know and are comfortable with, you can
try honesty. Still, even honesty has it's own set of problems.
Do you play it off like it's a one-time occurrence you just
noticed and hope that mentioning it takes care of the situation
for good? Do you sit them down and have a serious discussion
which could ultimately embarrass them or make you look like the
bad person? How will they react to either scenario? You'd want
to be told if you had bad breath, wouldn't you? Would you feel
comfortable being told by this person that you have bad breath?
Do you really know them well enough to be discussing this
situation with them?
These are all important questions whose answers will vary with
each unique situation. Still, there are some things you can
avoid saying that are universal across all situations. I have
taken the liberty of listing a few of them below. Remember,
honesty is the best policy, but brutal honesty is often
# 1 Gee, is that your breath or did I blow my nose right after
wiping my ass?
# 2 And now here's me with the weather: Thanks, me! Well it
looks like there's a stank front moving due east from wherever
your mouth happens to be. We're looking at a 100% chance of
Halitosis throughout the rest of your life. Sports is next
followed by today's lottery numbers. Stay Tuned!
# 3 I don't mean to be rude but your horrible breath is melting
my face. To have to stand here and listen to you is agonizingly
painful. Hey, you ever see that "Alien" movie where the alien is
breathing in Sigourney Weaver's face and she just cringes
because the thing is so scary and because it's saliva is an acid
that can eat through metal? This is a lot like that because even
though your saliva won't eat through metal, I'm fairly certain
your mouth-stench will and that is scaring the crap outta me, my
friend. Again, I don't mean to be rude...
So you see, dear reader, one must choose carefully when
approaching a subject this sensitive. Perhaps honesty is not
always the best policy. Better yet, why not just leave an
anonymous note...and a breath mint.
A BadBreathOGram is an e-mail you send to someone who you want
to know has bad breath but you do not want to confront directly.
Give it a try. http://www.badbreathogram.com/