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The Economic Times

Frankly Speaking: How to break bad news to your best buddies

How do you tell your wife that you hate her new look? Or your best friend that he needs a deo, or even your co-worker that he has the worst breath ever? ET Panache comes to the rescue.

Beyonce’s new haircut is a test for Jay-Z. There’s no other way to explain that horrible half fringe. But spouses, friends, coworkers and family are often put in a spot when it comes to tackling socially awkward situations. Hopefully these guidelines should help you diffuse the crisis:

A bad haircut

When your spouse gets a bad haircut and asks your opinion on it, honesty won’t work. Your best bet is to blatantly lie. “The shorter style brings out your features better.” Remember, hair will eventually grow, the memory and subsequent punishment you receive for calling it awful will never be forgotten.

Bad breath

Nobody wants to be told that they have bad breath. It’s a touchy topic and often, the culprit doesn’t even realise they have a problem. If repeatedly offering mints or gum does not help, consider a more tactile approach. After a smoke, spicy meal or a cup of coffee, tell the co-worker, “I hate the breath I get after doing this. Let’s hide the evidence we smoked/ kissed a skunk/ ate a cartload of garlic for lunch and have a mint.” Or you could try the humorous approach, “I’m bored, let’s go brush our teeth.”

Body odour

With the heat and crowds, it’s not possible to smell as fresh as a daisy. While some of us can control the scent with perfume, others don’t have it easy. Extreme body odour is a medical issue and the best thing you can do is alert the person to the problem. Do them a favour and gently tell them in private that you know it’s hot so maybe it’s best they keep a spare shirt and some wipes handy.

Bad girlfriend

Telling your best friend that you hate his girlfriend is a delicate subject and you need to keep a few things in mind. If they have been in a long-term relationship, you say nothing and forever hold your peace. If he’s just started dating her and asks for your opinion (key word: asks), then tell him gently why you’re not a fan. Remember, being honest is good, but it can have a negative impact on your friendship. Follow up the negative comments with a generic statement such as, “Maybe I should hang out with her more.”
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