As an introvert, I appreciate it when my hairdresser doesn’t strike up a conversation

Some people love the chitter-chatter and buzz of a salon, but personally I can’t hack it. Surely I can’t be alone in this?

Mollie Quirk
Saturday 21 May 2022 17:42
Comments
<p>‘Are you going away anywhere nice this year?’ is a classic question</p>

‘Are you going away anywhere nice this year?’ is a classic question

Last week I went to the hairdressers for the first time in around a year, and it’s safe to say I was dreading it. Not because I hate the boredom that comes with sitting in the chair for upwards of three hours, which I do, but mainly because I am painfully introverted.

Yes, I’m the kind of person who will go to any length to avoid seeing someone I know in the street, let alone chat about my life and times with a total stranger. Don’t get me wrong, I was very much looking forward to getting my hair transformed, balayage brightened and split ends snipped off, but it was the awkward conversations about the weather and what I’m up to over the weekend that I wasn’t looking forward to.

Going to the hairdressers has always been an awkward event for me, mainly because of my crippling social anxiety and aforementioned introverted personality. Trust me, I’m not the best conversation starter with strangers. Moreover, for some reason I feel more naked sitting in the chair than I do when I’m at home sitting in the bath. Glaring into a mirror for hours on end while donning an unsightly black gown, my hair pulled back in foils, and my mind criticising every inch of my face – and then it begins.

“Are you going away anywhere nice this year?” is a classic question I have been asked on almost every occasion. Not taking into consideration that some people might not be able to afford lavish holidays away, or that they aren’t keen on going abroad, sometimes the questions seem somewhat presumptuous, which causes discomfort and anxiety once more.

Not to mention that it seems all hairdressers have read the same book on conversation starters – all incredibly drab, extremely monotone and unoriginal, not to mention anxiety-inducing – for an introvert. Yeah, sure some people love the chitter-chatter and buzz of a salon, but I can’t hack it and doubt I ever will be able to.

When answering questions fired at me by a stylist, I stumble and mumble my words, tripping over my tongue and trying to make my answers sound way more glamorous than they really are. Hard enough to speak fluently without a mask on pre-pandemic, but now while wearing a mask it’s even harder to communicate which amplifies my anxiety tenfold.

Desperately nodding and smiling way too big under my mask so my eyes light up in interest, and looking at my phone as much as I could to avoid any ounce of conversation – for me sitting in the hairdressers is excruciating.

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When I was at the salon last week, it was like most trips, but my hairdresser didn’t strike up conversation, clearly getting the hint that I wasn’t too fussed about chatting. I’m not a rude, arrogant client – I smiled a lot (albeit with my eyes thanks to my mask), laughed when something cropped up that was funny (like all of the foils falling on the floor with a big crash), and then thanked her profusely for doing such a great job on my hair.

She made me a coffee, only asked questions about my hair, and didn’t mind that I’d rather look in my lap at my twiddling thumbs than say what I was getting up to later that day. God knows what I’d have done had my hair been cut wonky and coloured wrong – I’m guessing I’d have walked out smiling and thanking her nonetheless.

It’s safe to say I’m not best pleased about heading back to the hairdressers in around six months’ time, but hopefully my next visit will be just as plain sailing as this and I won’t get asked a bunch of questions or have to endure too much chatter.

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