Study Partner has BO. Help!

April 14, 2017

First day of classes I formed a study group with 2 other people. It feels like a good fit bc we get a lot done and I trust their work habits. The problem is that one has a slight BO {sic: body odor} and it makes me not want to be around them at times. I'm not sure what to do. We aren't really friends so I don't want to offend and possibly lose out on a good study partner.

Hmm, this is a tough one. I noticed that you described the person as having a slight body odor. Is it bad enough to not want to study with this person? I would suggest to really weigh out the pros and cons of in the this situation. You said it yourself, you guys make a good team and you trust their work habits. Personally, I would keep it to myself if I feel like the individual may be the type of person to be offended. When it comes down to it, the person is responsible for their own BO, but if it's not hurting anyone or anything, then why bother to actively change something? I understand the smell may be different and you may not necessarily be used to it, but I don't think it should have to interfere with you two being study buddies. I can suggest some tips you could use that might help you avoid smelling the BO: 
  1. Suck on mints while your group is studying together
  2. Work in a more open environment like the FSM or a cafe 

The difficult thing about this is that you are not close with this person. If it was your BFF, this would be different. If this person seems like a pretty open person, I would bring them to a private place and tell them nicely. If not, then it may be best to keep it to yourself, unless it becomes extremely bothersome. Good luck!


Hi there!
First off, good for you for forming a study habit so early on in the semester and sticking to it! When approached with a situation like this, I find it best to frame the conversation on yourself rather than on them so that it doesn't feel like you're calling them out. For example, mention the name of a certain deodorant/perfume/cologne that smells good and say that you love it and that your study partners should try it out. That subtle hint can go a long way. If you want to be even more straightforward, but still not offensive, say that you have a super sensitive nose and that when people have strong BO or wear too much perfume, it bothers you. That way they might realize that their own odor is strong. In both of these examples, you are the subject and therefore your study partner won't feel as if their odor is the center of attention. 
Good luck,