We've all been stuck in an elevator or a small room with someone who has been overdoing it on his or her daily perfume application. As irritating as it is, it's typically a temporary situation so there's no need for any confrontation on your part. But what if that person is someone you spend a lot of time with? You'd probably feel obligated to tip off a friend who is rocking some B.O., so why would too much fragrance be any different? A good rule of thumb is that if peoples' fragrance enters the room before they do, or lingers a good bit after they've left, they're wearing too much. As the person on the receiving end of the eau de overload, it's tricky to know how to handle the situation diplomatically. If you're not sure, you can always come at it from a health standpoint. Fragrances are known to contain chemicals that can be irritating to certain people. They especially tend to aggravate breathing problems in people with asthma, so if a scent is truly overwhelming, it might be more appropriate for off hours.
Before you approach a co-worker, find out from management if there is a policy about wearing fragrances to work. Mandatory fragrance-free environments are common in hospitals and doctors' offices, but many regular office policies don't weigh in one way or another. If that's the scenario, then consider pitching a policy to your bosses. Print out some research before approaching them, both about the impact on health and some ideas for how to implement the policy. Not only will you save them the time of having to do it, but you'll look like a proactive problem solver rather than a complainer. And then, if employees understand the "If I'm smelling you, I'm telling you" policy that is in place, you won't look like the bad guy when you ask them to enforce it. But if it's a loved one's eau de cologne is giving you a grand headache, it might be time to stage a one-on-one fragrance intervention. Read on for important tips about performing this rather stinky task.