Some people wear perfume and other scents and some people seem to bath in them.  My problem with people who use strong perfume or even spray strong scents in a public place is that it does a couple of things to me.  Generally it attacks my nose and makes me sneeze.  It gives me headaches.  It makes it difficult for me to breath. 

If I’m unfortunate enough to have all three occur then I could end up having to leave work.  I get that you want to smell nice according to your standards.  I just want to be able to breathe.  I think that is more important than the aesthetic of a certain scent. 

I have to say I used to wear perfume and really understand the appeal.  However, once I had kids, my allergies changed and worsened I found less tolerance for the smells of other people.  How do you tactfully tell someone their scent makes you sick? 

It started with my daughters.  When they first put on their perfume, I can’t be around them.  I had to tell them to stay away until they had aired out a bit.  It isn’t just perfume though.  At one of my jobs, someone came in and sprayed disinfectant on a co-workers keyboard and work area who was out with the flu.  This is a great idea except that I was in the room and the smell of the disinfectant set off my asthma.  I ended up having to leave work. 

I’ve had to tactfully ask people to step back from me as their scent was strong.  In order to not embarrass them I always say I’ve got a sensitive nose and allergies to perfume.  Then I politely request that they sit/stand further away.  I almost always apologize and assure them it is my issue not theirs.  No one I’ve said anything to has ever taken offense as far as I’m aware. 

If you are a perfume wearer, I suggest you find out if anyone in your immediate vicinity has issues with scents and try not to wear too much.  The thing is when you love a scent you wear it often.  This means you get used to it and that you may feel like it hardly is apparent.  The best thing to do is ask someone who isn’t normally around it.  They can tell you how strong it is.  Also in a lot of work environments they are starting to ban perfumes and aftershaves.  You might want to just carry a small bottle of it so when you are going out immediately after work you can spray it then. 

No one wants to tell someone else that their very odor makes them sick.  It is uncomfortable but for some of us it is imperative to speak up.  The key is to do it respectfully and politely.

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