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How to tell your Friend her Breath Stinks

By August 2, 2017Blog
How to tell your friend her breath stinks
Because come on, no one loves talking with that one friend who just dined on a fish sandwich and an onion-garlic puree.
In the spirit of Fresh Breath Day, we wanted to help you delicately tell that fish-munching friend of yours that her breath reeks.
Here are six tips to help you have those tough feedback conversations while suggesting some oral hygiene tips.  

Be thoughtful in your delivery

Walking up to someone and telling them their breath smells worse than a fridge full of rotting cauliflower is not only mean, it’s ineffective. If feedback is malicious or inappropriate, it won’t help to improve the behavior.  If she trusts that you are being sincere and care about her, it is more likely she will listen to your feedback and it will have the desired effect.

Don’t skirt around the issue

When it comes to bad breath, we often think that subtly offering a piece of gum will help the person take a hint. But assuming she will understand the hidden meaning behind your actions dilutes your message and may lead to continued bad breath in the future. Worse yet, she could think that you don’t respect her enough to address the issue to her face.

Instead, it’s best to address the issue head on and in a timely fashion. Be clear and specific about your observations and assessments and articulate the behavior you’d like to see going forward. Onions McGee will hear your feedback much clearer if it’s told to them straight up, and they won’t feel disrespected from being hinted at.

Don’t assume you have all the information

It’s important to be conscious that you may not fully understand the background of the issue you are trying to address. For instance, did you know halitosis is a recognized medical symptom that people with certain medical conditions may not have as much control over?
The solution? Ask questions to understand what may be behind the bad breath. Perhaps she is going through some health issues. You won’t know unless you ask.

Create an action plan – together

Now that you’ve identified the area for improvement, you’ve got to figure out how that improvement is going to happen. This part should be done together. Giving her suggestions in how to successfully improve health or oral hygiene increases both trust and friendship.

Give feedback often

If the only feedback you ever got from your friend was that your breath was stank, you’d be pretty offended, wouldn’t you? But if the same friend noticed when you got a new haircut and complimented you on your new shoes, you’d probably be a little less touchy when she suggested a Tic Tac.

The same is true for feedback. Feedback is a gift so give it often, both positive and constructive! A study from the American Behavioral Society shows that the highest performing teams give feedback often and at a ratio of 5.6 positive comments to each negative or constructive one.

Happy Fresh Breath Day!

No one likes to be told they have stinky breath, but in the end most people appreciate that someone cared enough to tell them. Both giving and receiving constructive feedback can be tough, so use these tips and you can both leave these conversations with a smile – a nice, minty-fresh smile! Happy Fresh Breath Day!