Every office has one schmuck that everyone hates. He or she is either sweating all the time or complaining about a job/life predicament or just generally being an annoying bastard who gets paid to make you depressed at work. As always, our crack accounts receivable manager Ron is here to the rescue.
I don't like the guy I sit next to at work. He tries to talk to me all the time, eats stuff like pickled herring for lunch (at his desk!), and either farts all the time or has armpits that smell like assholes. My workplace is really white-collar and conservative, so I can't just tell him that he's a fucking fuckface and to leave me alone. Do you have any tips on how I can discreetly get the message across?
First thing I would do is try to talk to the guy and say, “Hey listen. Not to be offensive, but do you mind eating that food once a week or twice a week and not every day? Do you mind doing this when I’m out to lunch? While I’m talking to you about this, is there a way you can just not speak to me while I’m at work? I’m paid to work a certain number of hours, so let me work my hours. I’m not here to be your friend, I’m here to get a job done. If you want friends, call your niece and nephew—you can talk to them all day. But leave me alone.”
Around Christmas time, buy the guy one of those all-in-all kits from Bed Bath & Beyond that comes with the deodorant and the bubble bath. And then you buy him an extra bar of deodorant, just to really push the point home, and throw some Tic-Tacs in there because I’m sure his breath stinks if his body stinks because he’s not taking care of his hygiene. Nobody wants to sit next to a person who smells like a wet dog. That is nasty.
Before Christmas, though, you could still give it to him and say, “Out of the kindness of my heart, I wanted to give this to you.” But if he asks what it's for, your answer depends on how honest you want to be. Personally, I think honesty is the best policy, but if you can’t fight and he’s a lot bigger than you, you don’t want to come to work the next day with a black eye. So you can just say to him, “My girlfriend works with this other girl who constantly stinks.” Bring it up to him as another scenario; see how he answers. And then say, “That person I was talking about? It’s really you.” You’d be surprised—some people don’t realize that they stink.
If it’s really uncomfortable, you go to Human Resources and say, “I’m having a little problem with this gentleman. I tried speaking to him several times and it is not working. I asked him to cut down on eating that food at his desk. His desk is not the cafeteria.” If it doesn’t work, then you leave notes on his desk: “I’ll see you after work.”