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Etiquette expert Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, knows a thing or two about the rules of the road—and the descendant of the famous decorum diva is a runner too!
Q: A co-worker who sits next to me runs at lunch but doesn’t change out of his sweaty clothes. I’ve joked to him about being smelly—he hasn’t got the message. What can I do?
You have two options with this one. You could say, “Tom, I know I’ve joked with you about this before, but I have to admit that after your runs, the sweat is a bit overwhelming for me.” Much like the ol’ broccoli on the tooth, you want to address this one in person and privately. “If the situation were reversed I’d want you to tell me, so I hope you understand when I say that it would be great if you could change out of your sweaty clothes after your lunchtime run .”
While polls have shown that most people would rather hear this type of request from someone they view as a friend at work, if you are really not comfortable communicating this, you could bring it up with HR or an office manager. Even if Tom isn’t interacting with clients, his body odor is affecting your workday, and you’re within reason to push for a change.
Have a question for Lizzie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @womensrunning with the hashtag #ProperForm.