Social quandary: My boss has offensive body odour

His smell is so offensive that she can can barely focus at meetings. How can this reader get ahead in her career if she can't even be in the same room as her boss?

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This post as originally posted in July 2013 and has been updated.

Have you found yourself in an awkward situation? Has someone irked you and you’re not sure how best to proceed? If so, you’re not alone! Every week, we feature a reader-submitted quandary so that you can weigh in with your best advice. What would you do in their situation? If you’d like to submit your own quandary, click here.


My new manager has really bad body odour. Even though he sits on a different floor from me, I still work pretty closely with him and I see him on a regular basis. When I do interact with him, the smell is so offensive that I want to turn my head away. I’m not exaggerating. It’s particularly excruciating when I’m sitting beside him at a meeting — all I can think about is his smell and I can barely focus on what’s going on! I’m a new employee and really want to do a good job, but I find it difficult to be around him when all I can think about is escaping his smell. I’m afraid to approach him about it because he might take offense — and I don’t want to piss off my new manager. Plus, this could be a medical issue, so I wouldn’t want to bring up a sensitive topic. What should I do?