||[Jan. 11th, 2011|10:31 am]
The Question Club
A friend of mine is on a downward spiral regarding self-esteem, and it’s externalizing in a drinking and chain-smoking spree. What I want to address in this question is the chain-smoking.|
I want to be there for my friend to lean on, but I’m having a hell of a time being around him because of the smoke stench. I can normally handle being around smokers, as I used to be one and actually sort of enjoy the odor if it’s light. But my friend smokes in his apartment with the doors and windows closed, and in his car with the windows rolled up, so the smoke permeates his clothing and hair so thoroughly that the scent is literally sickening. I feel nauseated even writing about it because it’s that thick in my memory from last night. We went out, and we went in my car because I’m not a good passenger in his (or in many people’s for that matter... PTSD issues resulting from past auto accidents), and now my car smells like a giant ashtray.
I tried talking to him about it a little bit last night, and while he was open to listening, he was understandably a little defensive, as no one likes to hear that they smell bad. I know, having been a smoker, that smokers are unable to smell themselves the way other people do. You really don’t know what you smell like until you quit, and then it’s a shock. If he knew what he smelled like last night he’d be disgusted. My 11-year-old son literally smelled him coming up our front walk, 20 feet away, with our front door closed. My husband smelled him before I opened the front door. As soon as I opened the front door the odor permeated the house. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Not only do I not want to allow him into my car again smelling like that, but I also don’t think I can allow him to be near my children.
Anyway, I want to be there for him because he needs a friend right now in a bad way, but the cigarette/smoke/permeation thing literally makes me feel ill. I woke up this morning with breathing issues, as if my own lungs were once again filled with tar and crap (like when I was a heavy smoker), and it scared me a little.
The question: What would you do in this situation?
Oh, and I know this isn’t my problem specifically since this part doesn’t affect me directly, but I’m also afraid the aroma is going to affect him negatively at work (restaurant host). Should I mention that to him or not? Is that “being a friend” or “butting in”?