Talking Points: what’s the nicest way to tell a friend they need to work on their hygiene?

Compiled by Sam Gusway

Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong. Today’s responses are from students at Workers’ Children Secondary School

Compiled by Sam Gusway |

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Nicole Chan, 16

I think the nicest way is to tell them directly, but in private, because if you tell them to work on their hygiene in front of a lot of people, they will feel embarrassed and hate you. Hygiene is a very personal thing, but you should still be very direct and serious with them, because it is definitely something that is very important in life.

Josephine Chen Chu-jun, 17

As a member of our school’s public-speaking team, I would use the excuse that hygiene is a topic that I need to discuss. While talking to my friend, I would ask his or her views on the definition and importance of hygiene, as well as ways to stay clean and healthy. Then I could simply finish by asking: “Would there ever be a reason why someone who knew all these facts would still not work on their cleanliness and grooming?” That would give my friend a chance to reflect on their own situation and improve their hygiene.

Kyoko Mak Hang-tsz, 17

Say it in a way that shows you could also have the problem. You could say: “If I had a body odour problem, I would use anti-perspirant and shower more often so I smelled less. What would you do?” This would make them think about their own hygiene problems and consider ways to solve them.

Ada Yin, 18

If my friend needed to work on their hygiene, I would tell them some stories about other people who ignored this issue, and how it became embarrassing for them. If my friend still didn’t get the point, I would check the internet for tips on good hygiene. Then I would share the links with my friend, telling them that I had found some interesting facts on the internet.

Justin Hui, 17

I think it is better not to complain directly to our friends about their poor hygiene. Instead, you could say something like: “I think having good hygiene makes someone more attractive.” Maybe your friend will realise there is a problem and decide to change their ways.

In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:

What is the best use of your summer?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.