Thursday 29 September 2016

The five people you encounter after a hair change

Girls and their hair. It's a special, intimate relationship, isn't it? For many of us, it's part of our identity, and changing it can be more traumatic than it should be. After all, "it's just hair", and as everybody is quick to point out, "it will grow back".
Since the decision to sell our farm I have been living in a permanent state of anxiety and impatience, and the only way I could think of to relieve some of the stress was to either tear my hair out or to cut it off. I chose option B, which seemed like the lesser of the two evils, but I may have made a mistake. The cut is okay, but I'm not loving it. The disturbing part about this is that I had a sneaking suspicion that this might happen, and I still went ahead with it. There is some self-sabotage at work here, and I don't really have any other explanation than stress for it.
Stress, and that I don't always make smart decisions. Oh well.

An amusing/insulting side effect of the new style is the reactions of other people. Changing your appearance in a somewhat obvious manner is not only hard for you, but also for the people around you. If it's a drastic change for the better, it's easy: They can all just tell you how fabulous you look, and everybody wins. However, if it's a change that's at best okay, but in reality worse than before, you set them a difficult task. Should they lie to you? Ignore it? Be honest?

I found five common reactions since my chop, and laid them out for you:

1. The kind liar
So well-intended, I want to hug them. I've encountered it several times, because Canadians are kind people. The reason I know that they are lying is because apparently most Canadians are also terrible liars. Here are the key tells of a kind liar: The moment they lay eyes on your new 'do, their eyes widen in surprise and shock. After a 2-second delay, they hastily plaster a broad grin onto their stunned face. "It looks - cute!", they say somewhat shrilly. I can read the pity and concern in their kind eyes, silently imploring me why I did that, but simultaneously reassuring me that they, too had bad haircuts at one time or another, and that "it will grow back".

2. The passive aggressive
"You cut your hair", they state. And after that, nothing. They leave an ominous silence, which you immediately fill with all your insecurities: How horrible it looks, what a mistake you made, what a fool you are.
Did they intend to fill your mind with these images? Did they want to say something scathing and stopped themselves just in time? Or are they simply the kind of people who regularly state the obvious?
If you have a good day, you may confidently say that, "why yes, I did! It was time for a change!"
But since you are now doomed to months and months of bad hair-days, you will most likely react in a slightly hysterical manner, mumbling defensively that "I know it doesn't look great, but it will grow back, and why don't you leave me alone!", before running to the bathroom for a quiet cry.

3. The "honest" one
"Whoa." That's their first reaction, paired with a look of disgust on their face. That look quickly morphs into condescension. "I would never be so stupid", their face is clearly telling you. You must have silently communicated your hurt feelings, because they add, "well, it's just that I liked your hair better before." Thanks for making that clear, Regina George.

4. The believer of "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all"  
They take one quick look at you, taking in the new development on your head, and then move on like nothing happened. It's an unspoken agreement between the two of you that you both know that what happened was a mistake, but neither of you will ever mention it. I like this approach.

5. The one who truly likes it
The beauty of people is that we are all so different. No matter what you do, wear, or say, there will always be people who disagree with you - and others who agree. There actually will be some peeps who like your horrible-to-you new hair.

Lesson learnt? It truly is "just hair". It will grow back.
And at least I got a blog post out of it ;-)

I asked myself which approach I choose most often, and it's usually #1, with the occasional #4 thrown in. Unless it's #5, which happens surprisingly often - I like people who go for something different!

Which one is your usual go-to approach when faced with a friend or co-worker's physical change?



  1. Well, I like it. If I didn't, I would just pretend like it never happened.
    I do have a male coworker who freaks out and gets anxiety if I would even mention the thought of cutting my hair any length that does not pass my shoulders. 😂

    1. Really? How bizarre. Do you think he might burst into tears if you ever walk in with a chin-length bob? It's almost worth trying it out ...
      I don't really feel that bad about my hair, I may have slightly exaggerated in this post lol 😉

    2. I once chopped it all off into a short do that was all flippy in the back (popular in the early 2000's) He didn't talk to me for days! Haha

    3. I once chopped it all off into a short do that was all flippy in the back (popular in the early 2000's) He didn't talk to me for days! Haha

    4. Wow, there is a person who really doesn't handle change well. Too bad for him, but funny for the rest of us!

  2. Have I seen your new haircut? I bet I'd genuinely like it.

    1. It's a bob. Not my favourite. But I can live with it! After all, it's just hair 😉

  3. How funny as I have been thinking of cutting my hair too and am dealing with similar types of stress!

    1. I say just go for it. You never know, it may be your future signature hair! We only find out these things when we try them out. I don't regret cutting it, despite not being a huge fan. I think I just have to find ways to style it, it has the potential to be very versatile.
      Good luck with your hair adventures!

  4. I have to admit I loved your super short hair and I loved it super long. I'm going to have to see this in person to make an official decision! ;)

    1. I hope I will see you! Not just for your opinion on my hair lol.
      I just checked, you're working on Monday! I'm off at 5, but I will hang out for a while. Yay!

  5. I think it looks great! My go-to approach is just to say, "Oh wow you cut your hair!" And then immediately after, I ask the other person if they like it. If they like it, who am I to tell them I don't like it? I'll agree with them! If they don't like it, I can commiserate with them and make them feel better about it :)

    1. That's a smart approach! You can't go wrong with it. Win/win!


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