Woman Backed for Telling Best Friend Everyone 'Thinks He Is Disgusting'

A woman has been backed for telling her friend that he is lonely because of his bad hygiene.

In a Reddit post with over 6,000 upvotes, the user, u/California098, explained that her best friend of 12 years is an amazing person, but has one clear flaw.

"He is educated and has a good career and I'm really proud of him for his accomplishments," wrote the poster. "Since we were kids I've always noticed he had really bad hygiene habits, but chalked it up to him being a teenage boy."

But now they are both in their 20s, nothing has changed.

Man with bad hygiene
Two women react to the smell of a man with sweat patches under his arms. The internet has backed a woman who told her friend about his bad personal hygiene. AntonioGuillem/Getty Images

"He goes to the gym at least three times per week, but never showers more than once per week, never brushes his teeth, and only does laundry when the clothes are completely stiff," she explained.

The Redditor explained how she is often embarrassed by her friend's hygiene and has even let it impact their friendship. "I've found myself no longer inviting him places because it's embarrassing when he shows up greasy, smelly and with an inch thick of plaque on his teeth," she said.

A month ago, the man told his friend that he had a crush on her newly single friend. In an attempt to let him down gently, she explained that her friend was newly single and wasn't looking to date right now. But he was persistent.

"He wouldn't take no for an answer and decided to contact her himself to ask her out. When she declined, she lied and said she was seeing someone. He knew that one of us was lying to him," said the poster. "When he confronted me I told him that everyone I know thinks he is disgusting because of his hygiene, they don't want to be near him much less date him."

Therapist and sex and relationship expert Rhian Kivits explained that personal hygiene is particularly important when looking for a partner. Kivits told Newsweek: "Personal hygiene is an extremely important factor for many people when it comes to dating and relationships. For those who rate cleanliness highly, it's unlikely that they'd choose someone who doesn't hold the similar values in this area. They may, understandably, interpret it as a sign of incompatibility."

"Many people are sensitive to the way a potential partner smells," Kivits added. "Body and breath smells can make or break sexual chemistry and at their worst can be a complete turn off."

After the woman had told her best friend the truth though, he did not take it well.

"He denied having bad hygiene, and said he does shower and brush his teeth. He left and hasn't talked to me in over a month—insisting I need to apologize and set the record straight to everyone we know," she said. "I think I'm doing him a favor in the long run and he should appreciate my honesty because he is the one who confronted me about why I lied to him about my friend."

In thousands of comments, the internet backed the woman for being straight with her friend and said she was right to tell him honestly about the hygiene issue.

"Words probably could have been more carefully selected, but I mean he asked and I don't think you were fully prepared to speak on it," said one reply. While another Redditor wrote: "I think you are NTA (not the a******). He asked and you answered."

"Sometimes people will poor personal hygiene may not be aware of how others perceive them, since their lack of personal care is habitual and they become used to their own body and mouth odors," explained Kivits. "It certainly is a difficult subject to tackle, since the person's feelings could be hurt and they could feel extremely embarrassed. Therefore it's best to be kind while also being honest, and make it clear that you're offering the person feedback because you want to help and support them, not because you want to express your disgust."

Kivits agreed that it was right to be straight with her friend, but suggested a slightly different method.

"In the case above, the person's mistake was to draw her friend's attention to the fact that everyone 'thinks he is disgusting' and even said that nobody wants to kiss him. This might have made him feel ashamed and unlovable," Kivits said.

"It might have helped for the woman to use the 'feedback sandwich' technique. For example, 'I honestly think you're a great guy with so much to offer,' positive, 'but I hope you don't mind me sharing that I think more women would be attracted to you if you could up your hygiene game', negative, then, 'your sense of humor is a bonus of course,' another positive."

Another reply on the post said: "Friends need to be brutally honest sometimes. I don't think you're the a******. There can be reasons for poor hygiene such as being autistic, as sensory issues and other traits can make showering and brushing teeth difficult. You need to have a frank conversation about why they aren't looking after their hygiene."

For the friends in a difficult point in their relationship, Kivits said that both parties would need to be prepared to draw a line under the incident and move forwards.

"Sometimes this needs to start with an apology and a conversation about what went wrong and why. When friends each take responsibility for their part in the disagreement, it helps. Once an agreement is made to move forward, it also helps for the two people involved to acknowledge the good things about their connection and demonstrate that they value each other," Kivits explained.

Newsweek has reached out to u/California098 for comment. We were unable to verify the details of this case.

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