YOU ARE THE ADVICE COLUMNIST: My Friend Has Terrible Breath

It is at the point where it’s affecting the way I feel about our friendship.

Jan 30, 2014 at 6:30pm | Leave a comment


I have a close friend who has had an extremely rough time lately, and as a result of a whole series of life events, she has become very depressed.  Thankfully, she has decided to seek help for her depression and has started seeing a therapist and taking medication, and she seems to be doing better, which is of course fantastic.
However, as part of her healing process, she wants to hang out with me more and to be completely blunt about this, she has terrible, terrible breath.  Like to the point that I smell it in my hair after a night of hanging out with her.  I have a sensitive nose as it is, and even my much less sensitive-to-smells partner commented on how it was making him sick after the last time we hung out with her.  
The smell is so consistent that I’m guessing it is a health issue as she is not the kind of person to not take care of personal hygiene (even in the worst of her depression, she was still taking fairly good care of herself), but I can’t/don’t want to diagnose her.  In addition to this, we normally hang out in bars and places where loud music is playing and so she’s usually talking really close to my face, and I just cannot handle it anymore (for reasons that are too long to go into, hanging out other places isn’t an option). 
It is at the point where it’s affecting the way I feel about our friendship- I am happy to be her friend via text and email (that’s both our preferred method of communication, honestly) but in person, I don’t know what to do, because I really cannot be near her without gagging. Telling her to her face is not an option at this point, because I think she’d break down and frankly I’m not sure there’s much she can do about it. I don’t know of any ways to make my nose less sensitive, so I’m at a loss.  So- any ideas on what to do?

How would you handle this smelly issue? Let her know in the comments below. 

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