Dear Kate: My co-worker stinks


Hello Kate,

I have a situation that I need help with. This coworker of mine smells funny and I want to tell her but still don’t want to offend her.

The thing is she is into this Rastafarian lifestyle. She wouldn’t wear makeup or perhaps no deodorant.

She told me that she uses coconut oil to lotion her skin and snake oil in her hair. I really don’t know how she does it but she even smells “fresh” sometimes. Like fish.

She is my friend and a very hard working and dedicated coworker and I think she’s fit for the job.

We work in a firm where we have to interact with people all the time and I am worried that people may be thinking the same way I feel.

How can I tell this coworker that she smells bad without hurting her feelings?

So Very Sad



Hello, So Very Sad

These situations are never really ones that people like to find themselves into but if you say this girl is your friend then I think you should go to her and speak with her.

Most times people suggest buying perfumes and deodorants for people like that but I don’t think this is a good idea.

I say this because you claim that she is a Rastafarian and it is pretty hard to get their beliefs out of them. But I know some Rastas who smell rather nice.

There are the various oils that they use that are quiet enchanting and even smells better than most of the designer perfumes others wear; and they are much cheaper too.

I suggest you have a nice sit down with your friend. A nice girl talk and bring in your concerns. Let her understand that it is because you care about her.


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  1. Hmmmmm…….imma jus skate pass this 1..

    Rastafarian Relegion is her choice everyone is entittled to what relegion you practice but it bcomes personal when you are now working in PUBLIC …

    And working in a public place doesnt give her the right to stink up the place n subject ppl to her body odor/s…

    You can ask MANAGEMENT to step in if its becoming unbearable….

    I work around AFRICANS N INDIANS …i feel ur pain
    What i do is bring scenting oils ( jasmine eucalyptus)n smell it when their odors turns my stomach….

  2. It’s quite normal for situations like these to pop up now and then. If this girl is your friend, I think you should have a one on one conversation with her. Indicate your observations to her and let her work on it.

    It’s a “WIN WIN” situation; she will smell better and you will feel better.

    Go get your friend girl……make it happen.

  3. U can research other natural products that she can use which would make her smell a little better than the norm and have the conversation with her out of office. If she is your friend as well she will understand. Let her know that you respect her religion as well u can do a Lil research on that as well.

    • I agree, sit her down and HV this conversation. If it turns out badly then management needs to intervin.

  4. Respect her beliefs. As her friend, you should sit and talk with her. There are non-chemical deodorants. I actually did some research and bought one for my child. I too am concerned about the chemical levels in these everyday deodorants and did not want them to affect my child. It has ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter, and baking soda. There is even lavender scented. It’s name is green tidings. I don’t doubt she may feel a bit funny, but you having a private conversation with her would be best. She would appreciate that more. You said she is good at the job. That shows you value her. Pray it goes well

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