Hello and Happy New Year to you all.

We’re back again with our monthly edition of our Agony Aunt column, brought to you by our very own writer, Jade Benn.

We hope that you’ve had a fantastic start to the year so far and we hope you continue writing in to us with any concerns, issue or questions you or a friend may be dealing with.

We are here to support you and provide the best information possible to help you deal with a problem. Alternatively, you can also visit our section on Services which will provide you with information on a variety of organisations or community group that may be able to hep you further if necessary.

The questions below are a reflection of the most popular issues that our readers have written in to us about, this months topics are Personal Hygiene & Past Relationships.

Q: There’s this girl I work with and we get along great, but she smells frowsy a lot of the time and it’s really bad. Work colleagues talk bad about her to me and do silly things like opening the windows or doors in the office whenever she’s around and laugh about it. I want to confront her, but I don’t want her to think i’m judging her.

What should I do?

Do you know how to keep clean?

Do you know how to keep clean?

I know it is a tough and uncomfortable situation to be in, and understand every aspect of your discomfort and reluctance, but unfortunately, it’s something you’ve got to do! I say this because the vast majority of people would want to know if they smelt funny; I most definitely would! I question friends when they don’t tell me I have crumbs on my face or my hair’s out of place. On occasions I’ve thought do they want to look bad? or is their silence coming from a place of embarrassment or awkwardness – I would LIKE to assume the latter, LOL.

I guess the the older we get, it’s hard to believe that a young adult doesn’t have the skills to manage their personal hygiene. But unfortunately in some cases this is true. This young woman may shower daily, but fails to change her clothes, or she may even wash her clothes, but fails to use enough soap powder. Maybe there could even be a bigger problem at hand, such as not having money to do washing or buy toiletries, not having stable accommodation or even dealing with a personal problem which causes her to neglect her self care and personal hygiene.

Instead of being mean or nasty – like your other colleagues – I would advise you to confront and assist this young woman. I would say to approach this situation over the phone. You don’t know how uncomfortable or awkward she may feel if you’re in her face. Also, assuming you see her at work mostly, I think it would be unhelpful to tell her at work – she’ll just feel uncomfortable and self-conscious on her shift.

Since she is a young adult, I would not volunteer suggestions to her unless she asks for some. If she decides to confide in you and expresses she has trouble with her personal hygiene, then by all means make suggestions. For example: using lemon when bathing; using lemon on sweaty areas of the body, leaving the area to dry and then applying antiperspirant; using more effective antiperspirant such as Sanex or Sure; ensuring that her tops and bras are being washed effectively (e.g. smelling the armpit area after washes to ensure the garments are clean). Don’t tell her about what other work colleagues do or say regarding her B.O. They will stop once the issue is resolved and telling her would only serve to make her feel more alienated and embarrassed.

Q: A friend of mine is going out with my ex. I told him I was fine about it, but lately it’s all I think about. We ended on bad terms and it’s a bit awkward me seeing them together, laughing and having fun. I don’t know if it’s jealousy or if I really still have feelings for her. I don’t want to bring it up because I said I was cool with it and I don’t want it to look like i’m hating on them. But I don’t feel right about them two being together. I feel he’s crossed a line, I thought it was an unwritten rule that your friends should never date your ex.

What should I do? 

Be true to yourself and your past relationships.

Be true to yourself and your past relationships.

I understand how you are feeling. The thing is you can’t go back to your friend and say “actually….I’m not fine about this” because he has already embarked on some sort of relationship with the girl. When you say you feel he has crossed a line, maybe he has. But you approved of him crossing the line, because you said it was fine. Maybe you felt differently at the time, and your feelings are unexpected at the moment, however, for future reference, the heart is a strange thing and it does not always cooperate with our head, so take your time when making decisions!

There are a couple of things I think you should do:

1. Think about your friendship with your boy overall. You did say he could, but in reality, if you think it’s overstepping the mark and you wouldn’t do something like that yourself, it may be a good idea to distance yourself from him now. I don’t think it’s always necessary to confront people – your actions don’t always have to be announced, but you can be aware of what you’re doing and why. Doing this may make you feel better about the situation because it won’t be in your face and give you the opportunity to forget about it to an extent.

2. If you think you have to confront the situation because you feel too strongly about it, I would say write down what you want to say. This will allow you to revise the message you intend to get across and how what you say may or may not improve the situation afterwards. I’m sure you don’t want a negative reaction or response from him, nor do you say you want your ex back, or to see your friend break up with her – so be clear and wise in what you opt to say.

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