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'AITA for telling my flatmate to get her nose checked out after she said I smelled bad?' MAJOR UPDATE

'AITA for telling my flatmate to get her nose checked out after she said I smelled bad?' MAJOR UPDATE


Being told you smell bad is one of the worst insults someone can hurl at you, as it feeds into a common paranoia.

"AITA for telling my flatmate that she should get her nose checked out after she said I smelled bad?"

I (30sF) share a flat with two other people (flatmates), one of whom is someone I consider a friend (30sF). We keep our bathroom windows open 24/7 all year round to keep I dry/reduce mould. Recently my friend asked me a couple times to leave the bathroom door open as well.

It's been winter the last few months (only just moved to spring),temps often around to 4°c/39°F so I said I prefer to not to as it makes the rest of the house cold.

A few weeks ago, she messaged me in the morning after I had used the bathroom to get ready (TMI but relevant, all I do in the morning is pee, brush teeth & apply makeup, I already have deodorant on, as I shower at night).

She told me to leave the bathroom door open after using it, as the 'smell was so bad' that morning that she had to turn on the fan, leave the door open and exit the bathroom because she couldn't stand it. She also said she has noticed a bad smell coming from my bedroom the last few months when my doors open.

I was completely taken aback, I have perfectly normal hygiene habits (shower nightly, wear deodorant, frequently wash clothing and bedding, etc). I contacted family & friends I had recently stayed with, all confirmed no bad smell. My sister came to the house & confirmed my room did not smell bad, nor did the bathroom after I used it. A couple close workmates also said I had no smell.

My other flatmate also said there's no smell from my room. When my flatmate had messaged me, she suggested I see a doctor for this supposed odor problem. I took the accusation very politely (despite feeling pretty anxious and embarrassed), didn't get mad at her etc, but for complete reassurance, I got checked out by both a Dr and a Nurse.

Both confirmed I was 100% fine & had no bad odors anywhere.

I replied to my flatmate all this, that its been confirmed theres no odor issue. I said it's very puzzling what she could be smelling, & suggested that covid may have affected her sense of smell so maybe she should see a doctor about that.

I didnt see her for a few days after, but when she got back I said hell and she dashed over to me & said rapidly & angrily (no hello) 'so what am I meant to tell the doctor?!' & I was taken aback and said 'sorry, what?' She snapped aggressively 'what am I meant to tell the doctor, you said I needed to see a doctor about my nose?!'

I was completely surprised so just kind of shrugged & said 'I don't know?' Loudly/angrily she snapped 'well you said I needed to see someone about my nose, I can't believe you said that! Thats so rude! I can't believe you said that, thats a horrible thing to say, I'm so mad at you right now!'

She stormed away & slammed a door.

She accused me of stinking, and I've established I don't, hence my genuine thought that C*vid may have affected her sense of smell, and her response is to get really mad that I dared to suggest her nose is the issue. So reddit, AITA here?

Commenters did not hold back.

Stranger0nReddit wrote:

NTA. Wow. It's laughable she got mad at you for suggesting she see a doctor when SHE DID THE SAME F#CKING THING TO YOU. What you suggested could be true, she may have developed parosmia after having the virus (it's a thing that happens to some) and makes things smell foul.

She sounds overly dramatic, but I would stand your ground on this one and hopefully the other flatmate has your back and can confirm they don't smell anything bad from you.

OP responded:

Originally she had said she's noticed the 'bad smell' from me/rooms I'm in for 'a few months', and she had covid a few months ago so I thought the timeframes fit.

But after she confronted me I messaged her explaining my shock at her angry reaction, how I took her comment that I smell bad and suggestion to see a doctor with grace and politeness and would appreciate the same, she replied snarkily and said she noticed the odor 'issue' months before she had covid.

Apart from checking in to confirm he's noticed no bad smell from my room I haven't involved my other flatmate. I'm waiting for the 'nose' flatmate to get back from another trip (I havent seen her since the angry confrontation) to see how she reacts, if it's super tense then I'll probably need to let him know that we're having issues as an FYI.

rbollige wrote:

The way she’s reacting I’m wondering if she thought you were suggesting she needs a nose job. BTW, I think C0VID smell symptoms are usually a reduction in sensitivity to smell. Increased sensitivity to smells nobody else can smell is more often a pregnancy symptom, isn’t it? EDIT: Apparently I was way off about C0VID effects on smell, thanks everyone!

OP responded:

Hmm I don't think so, the part of my reply to her re: her nose was as follows (it was a message so this is word for word, this was after I explained to her all the investigations I had done to confirm no odor issue on my part): 'I dont want you to be uncomfortable or worried for my health, so wanted to let you know that all is well with me and no odor issues are present.

This means I'm very unsure what your nose is sensing, but it isn't apparent to anyone else so bit of a mystery - maybe your senses are playing up post-C0VID? You might consider checking in with your Dr about that if it continues.' Would you interpret anybody that as meaning a nose job?

-fly-on-the-wall wrote:

NTA and sinus issues can cause bad smells! i have had bad sinus infections that cause me to smell bad things. (not all the time but especially at certain times of day) one time my chronic sinusitis developed fungus and when it would drain I would smell the most horrible metalic gag worthy smell. Ugh!!

Also a bad tooth or her own gingivitis. Or she could have a sensitivity to some chemical and her nose could interpret it as bad! All kinds of reasons she could be smelling something bad that is from her own body in unexpected ways.

Also you did so much to prove that you weren't stinky that surely she isn't still going to try to say its you?! And it's so ridiculous that she insulted you so bad and then gets offended at your comment!!! Loony.

OP responded:

I'm glad it's not just me that think's it's a pretty bizarre reaction, especially given her comments to me - but sometimes it can be hard to have perspective when you're in the situation so appreciate the confirmation of NTA! :)

Annoying_Details wrote:

NTA. You went above and beyond to prove you weren’t the problem here. She is being overly sensitive about it. Also to add, I once had a coworker INSIST that I stank. She first politely came to me and asked me to change my smell, assuming I wasn’t wearing deodorant or that I wasn’t washing myself or something - she did it with an air of concern.

I did like you, checked with others and I got new deodorant that I would apply throughout the day. She then insisted it was WORSE and that I was doing it to spite her. Until she came in sheepishly a week later and announced she was pregnant, and that she was told it was her hormones/she was the one reacting strongly to my smell.

I talked to her about everything I had tried to change my possible smell and she understood and just requested to sit further away from me - her nose sensitivity went away about two months later. (And was replaced by deciding she LOVED the smell of pickles and crying about almost anything.) So…is it possible your roomie has had a sudden change of hormone?

OP responded:

Oh interesting! I don't think that would be it though, she had C0VID a few months ago and she clarified after she confronted me that she believes she noticed an 'issue' with me smelling 'for months' before she got C0VID, so at least 4-5 months ago (so defs no pregnancy).

I hesitate to bring up any other suggestions to her her though, given her reaction to me mentioning her sense of smell could be the issue. She feels asking me to 'leave the bathroom fresh' via leaving the door open 'isnt much to ask', and I've replied to her that as it gets warmer I dont have a problem leaving the door open.

But when it's cold I don't like to as it makes the rest of the house cold (early spring is often still chilly here, for example right now its 9°c but 'feels like' 4°c with wind/rain so to me it's silly to leave the door open when the window is also open letting all the cold wind whistle through the house). The joys of flatting!

mrsmoose123 wrote:

It's not a product you use is it? My husband's hair wax makes me go ew when it's fresh on, and it stinks out the bathroom as far as I'm concerned. I started thinking it was him, honed in on the hair, and realised it's because something in the product gives me nausea and a headache. But my initial reaction was eugh, husband smells bad.

OP responded:

Hmm interesting, could be possible - main thing I can think would be my deodorant, I wouldnt say its strong smelling, but I've used the same one for years, I've lived here 11 months and she said issue has been 4-5 months so not sure that fits either...

OP jumped on over two years later with a definitive update.

Sadly, the situation with my flatmate (aka 'crazy flatmate' or CF for short) never got better, only worsened over time. I was reluctant to move, as I was saving for a house deposit & didn't want the hassle of moving multiple times.

CF continued to maintain that I had an odor issue (never could tell me exactly what, & every other person in my life continued to reassure me there was no such issue), & she escalated to slamming doors whenever our other flatmate was not home to show her annoyance.

She also started to verbally attack me about it, yelling at me increasingly frequently (again only ever when we were alone in the house). She started to find other things to nitpick about, & just generally made it a very tense & unpleasant living environment for me.

When she wasn't slamming doors or yelling, we otherwise completely ignored one another (I never started any interaction with her, she would just yell at me & then literally run away before I could respond most times). All very bizarre & increasingly unhinged behaviour.

She was still normal and pleasant with everyone else though. Anyway, in December 2023 I got bank pre-approval to start looking for a house, & then spent nearly 4 weeks away visiting family over Christmas/New Year (summer holidays where I am). When I got back in mid-Jan, I started looking for a house to buy.

However, when I got home, our other flatmate was traveling overseas. This seemed to embolden CF (as she knew for sure our other flatmate wasn't around) & she got even worse, yelling at me daily (generally insults about me &/or my family - noting she doesn't really know my family...), & the tipping point for me was when I was leaving the house for work one morning about a week after I had been back home.

While I was locking the front door, she ran passed & slammed her fist on the door from the inside (after yelling at me from upstairs). This show of violence indicated to me that she appeared to be escalating, & I no longer felt safe. My sister & BIL who live nearby very kindly offered for me to move in with them while I continued to search for a house, & after that incident I accepted their offer.

So, I am now moved out & have ended all contact with her. It's a huge relief, though a part of me is still sad that a friendship has ended (for those who may not have read my comments, I have known her for over a decade (nearly 14 years), we've traveled together etc, hence why I had moved in with her in the first place).

But, in happy news, I have just bought a house & can move in two weeks time :) I live in a pretty HCOL city so buying on my own has left me pretty chuffed. The silver lining is that all her craziness really kicked me into gear to buy a home, & I always try to be glass half full, so it's nice to end this saga on a good note methinks.

The internet was deeply invested in the update.

queefer_sutherland92 wrote:

I had a housemate like this. She had a personality disorder. Assuming the flatmate wasn’t having a psychotic episode, the smell thing is all about undermining OP’s self worth. The flatmate got angry because it didn’t work. Nutjob.

umbrellajump responded:

If that's the case, it's probably a lot to do with OP being ready to buy their own house. They've known each other for over a decade, but OP is in a position to get on the property ladder and flatmate isn't. Sounds like crab bucketing to me. Can't criticise anything else, drag her down by saying she stinks and making the house hostile (I.e. you might be buying your own place, but this is my house).

PleaseBeChill wrote:

This isn't OP's problem but I wonder what happened with the ex-friend. Like are they having a manic episode? Or has a resentment that turned to hate grew for a long time until she basically couldn't stand OP's presence?

l3ex_G wrote:

Sounds like a mental health issue. I kinda hope OP is able to tell someone in her flatmate's life about the behaviour. Now that OP is gone, the flatmate might turn on someone else.

Big yikes all around, it's a good thing OP is far out of that situation.

Sources: Reddit
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