Hey everybody! This is a little bit different than what I’ve written about in the past… This is a basic step by step guide for people with extreme social anxiety on how to go to a salon and get a haircut. Hopefully this finds the right people and is useful! Read on:
Alright, so, credentials: I have social anxiety, and other forms of anxiety. I have had trouble all my life finding jobs, staying employed, etc. because of social anxiety and I often long to just work in a truck bay by myself in a warehouse on the night shift or something. So this advice comes from my own personal lived experiences.
Also, I apologize for the copious amounts of bold text, it just helps your eye navigate a wall of text like this.
Also also, this is actually something I posted on Reddit, hence the “lol”‘s and lack of grammar. I could have fixed it but I chose not to. Because I’m evil.
Go in, find the reception desk, say hi and that you have an appointment for ____ o’clock. They’ll be like “Ok, have a seat” and then you just wait. If you have a jacket and they have a closet for them, put your jacket in the closet. They’ll probably offer you something to drink, you can just say no if you want, it’s just what you’re supposed to offer if you’re a salon. If you get a drink, just leave it on a little table or anywhere when you’re done, someone will come get it. There isn’t a place for you to leave it to be polite most likely, so don’t worry about it.
Someone will come and get you, the stylist or an assistant, and you might be asked some questions about what you want to do with your hair, or just taken back to the sinks to get your hair shampooed.
When stylists ask you questions about your hair – we deal with people not having any idea what to say all day, we KNOW you don’t know what to say lol so don’t worry about it. That’s why we ask so many questions, because eventually we can get an idea.
If you just want them to do something, you could tell them to do whatever they want, and then repeat it a few times like “Yes, I know that I said do what ever you want, go for it” because hairdressers are a little cagey about that because sometimes people say that and then after they’re like “OH NO YOU CUT MY HAIR SHORTER” or something and we be like “MOFO YOU SAID DO ANYTHING”. So stylists ask a few times to make sure you know what you’re saying.
You can totally say “Don’t take much length off, but other than that do what you want”, if you want to keep your length.
Then they do stuff, and often chat with you, but here’s the thing… We talk to different kinds of people all day, we KNOW that some people aren’t into chatting! We already know that. So if you give a few minimalist answers and let the conversation die off naturally, they’ll usually do the cut and not chat, and that is totally fine.
Sometimes it’s nice for the stylist too, who has to chat constantly with no quiet time. Lol
Remember sometimes that when you’re in one of those situations in the chair where you’re quiet and you’re like “omg I’m supposed to talk what do I say how does talking work omg more time has passed and I still haven’t said anything omg wtf people are looking at me because I stand out omg” that you’re the only one that feels uncomfortable.
Seriously, unless the stylist is an annoyingly chatting person (which happens sometimes), then nothing is going on while you’re sitting there. There’s no tension or awkwardness outside of your mind – they’re just cutting hair, everyone else is just doing the stuff they do during the day. So try to relax, clench your fists under the cape or something if it helps, but it’s fine. Trust me!
After the cut is done, the stylist will show you the cut. Whether you’re a guy or girl, this is the same part of a haircut, it’s the comments and criticisms portion. Look at your hair in the mirror. We’re not expecting you to have some sort of insightful, technical comments or requests, you just touch your hair with your hands and go “Oh this side feels a bit thick still” and they’ll go “Oh ok, lemme fix that”.
If you need some advice for that, look dead on in the mirror and compare each side of your head (if you have short hair), if you’re a guy with really short hair then look at how much skin shows through the scalp and if it looks like a smooth, even gradient that gets darker evenly. Run your hands through the top of your head – if they styled your hair, don’t worry about messing it up. Trying to not mess your hair up and keep the style they just did isn’t a thing – it’s normal to play with your hair to see how it might react to you styling it.
If you’re a guy, (or girl) with shorter hair, just grab the hair at the front and see if it seems ok. I.E. not too heavy, not to long. Mess your hair up and see if it looks messy on top, or like a brush on top – if it looks like a brush, ask for it to be texturized a bit so it just looks messy.
If you’re a girl (or guy) with longer hair, run your fingers through your hair on the sides and see if it feels light and airy enough. If it’s heavy it’ll hang down like dog ears. Same for the back, it’s often heavy at the back because there’s just physically more hair there. If you wear a ponytail often, see if it will pull back into a ponytail.
Feel free to mess up your hair! Like I said, they style your hair but that doesn’t mean you perfectly keep it when you leave, you can play with your hair.
For longer hair, basically unless you came in wanting a specific look, then just feel your hair and if something feels off, mention it, otherwise you’re golden.
Then you go “Looks good!” and they go “Great, I’m glad you like it!” and they (or someone) will walk you up to the front. Get your jacket if you had one, and ask how much it is. It’s normal to leave a tip (at least in Canada and the US – in Australia they don’t do tips at all, which is weeiiiirrd), and a $2 is sort of the budget-tip but still a polite gratuity, $5 for a haircut is a very nice tip. If you got like a whole head of highlights and a cut, $10 is a nice tip and $15-$20 is like a “I love it!” kind of tip.
They’ll ask you if you want to book another appointment, just say yes or no. It’s literally a yes or no question, you can say no and it’s not a thing. Then you leave and go have a drink at home in your bedroom while eating comfort food! Haha
Dunno if there was any point to writing this, I’m just remembering all of the scary things from before I did hair, and I like…was too scared to even ask where the bathroom is so I would be pushing my thighs together super hard under the cape needing to pee soooo bad. Ah, life.