Thursday, July 17, 2008

When Someone's Breath Leaves You Breathless

"I had to tell him. I liked him and I thought that he needed to know that I was concerned about his halitosis," explained a friend.  She was careful to make it a health issue and not a social issue. He thanked her for the information. Afterwards, he didn't rush to return a few emails and when they saw each other at an event, the meeting was awkward but the good news is that there was an improvement.  She didn't feel the need to back up all the way to the other side of the room.

The poor guy was probably mortified and wondered how many other people felt the same way. I, Yvonne, told her that he's probably very appreciative. "He's not the first person I've worked with or knew who had bad breath, but I cared about him," she explained. 

We've all had onion or garlic breath. Cheap red wine breath can be unpleasant. Cigarette breath is downright nasty but at least we know what we're smelling. The highly enlightened will probably pop a mint in his/her mouth.  If you know someone well enough, you can offer a mint or say, "I don't know about you, but I know I have garlic breath after that meal."

When it comes to wretched breath, that' another story. Yvette has a friend with an issue and she wouldn't dare say anything. "I wouldn't want to lose the friendship. I don't see him that much and when I do, I keep my distance."

I agree with my sister. If it's a close friend, I wouldn't say anything.  I would keep in touch via phone calls and emails. Scheduled lunches,  dinners and drinks appointments would constantly be rescheduled (this could go on for years) and I'd still have a friend.  I'm happy to say that I don't have a bad breath friend in my life at this time. 

Telling someone they have bad breath is a difficult task. You have to really weigh the situation. Imagine if someone told you today that they were concerned about that awful whiff that comes out of your mouth, would calling it halitosis help? Or will you see right through your dear friend's heartfelt tip and know that this isn't about illness? It's about you and your bad breath and they can't bare it anymore.

If this happens to you, we suggest you take the high road. Hurt feelings are understandable especially if it's an old friend. You should thank them. If you are evil, say that every time they talk they spit in your face and add that you've been wanting to tell them that for years.

Just kidding.

Thank them, lick your wounds, go to the doctor to see if you have a sour stomach. If there is a problem call your friend and let them know that they've possibly helped you save your life or something like that.  This way, everybody wins and you can whisper sweet nothings forever.




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