Oh no, here she comes again: the woman who smells like a dusty vitamin. Every office has one, even yours. So how do address it without being rude? Here are four ways to break the news to your dusty vitamin-smelling coworker that she smells like a dusty vitamin:
Use the “Criticism Sandwich”.
This classic teaching technique can also apply to your cubicle mate who smells like a purple Flintstones Complete. The trick is to “sandwich” the fact that she smells like a dusty vitamin between two compliments. Try, “I loved your presentation yesterday, but if you had smelled less like a dusty vitamin, it would have been even more engaging. I love your shirt.” See? She didn’t even notice your critique and is excited for the opportunity to improve, probably. So easy!
Follow it up with an invitation.
You want to make it clear that you still want to be friends with your coworker, even though she smells like a dusty vitamin. Try this one on for size: “You smell like a dusty vitamin. Are you coming to the staff barbeque next weekend? I hear there’s going to be kickball!” She’ll know you’re still down to hang out—once she figures out how to mask her natural odor, that is!
Suggest an alternative.
You know what they say about constructive criticism: It’s necessary when dealing with colleagues who smell like dusty vitamins. Present your coworker with an alternative scent. For example: “Hey, I noticed you smell like a dusty vitamin, so I picked up this sample of Tom Ford Black Orchid for you! Black orchids smell way better than dusty vitamins in my opinion.” So thoughtful!
Remind her that she’s not alone.
When pointing out your coworker’s dusty vitamin-like aroma, mention a loved one who also smelled like a dusty vitamin before he passed away in a nursing home in 1996. That way, your cubicle-mate will know that smelling like a dusty vitamin isn’t the end of the world. Try something like, “You remind me of my Uncle Bruce. He was a good person who smelled like a dusty vitamin.” She’ll be grateful for the inspiration!
So maybe you’ve tried all the techniques above, but your pal still smells like a dusty vitamin. It’s time to take the high road and remind yourself that smelling like a dusty vitamin isn’t all bad. Next time you see your coworker, smile and say, “Wow, I bet you eat a really balanced diet and own many books.” Good move!