Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Offer mint to friend with bad breath

Kathy Mitchell

Dear Annie: I have been attending meetings of a wonderful craft group each week. Women sit at tables of five to 12 to work on their current projects and chat. It is a lovely way to spend a few hours.

The problem is with a new lady who recently joined our table. She is very nice, and we enjoy her conversation, but her breath is enough to knock me over. I thought the first week that it was simply something she had eaten that day, but the next week was just as bad.

None of us knows her well enough to feel comfortable saying anything. I have considered slipping an anonymous note into her craft bag, but am not sure what it would say. We don’t want to make her feel unwelcome, but sitting next to her is torture. What should I do? – Holding My Breath

Dear Holding: Please don’t write an anonymous note. She will feel terrible and worry that every person she sees is the one who wrote it. At your next meeting, bring some breath mints. Put one in your mouth, saying that you get so dry, you worry about your breath, and then offer one to all the other members at your table. (Don’t say, “Would you like one?” Say, “Please take one.”) It’s also possible the woman has some kind of gastrointestinal disorder or dental problem that makes this a more difficult issue for her. But nonetheless, keeping mints or water handy should help. If not, it would be a kindness to take her aside privately and tell her the truth.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.