Undergoing a cosmetic procedure can be nerve racking. Often, patients are nervous about friends’ and family members’ comments about the changes. Ideally, we want loved ones to be supportive, especially regarding cosmetic changes that may be sensitive.
For loved ones of those undergoing procedures, there’s plenty of ways to support your loved one—and plenty of ways to “botch” your comment. Recently, Dr. Fishman sat down with Considerable to give her advice on the best post treatment comments.
DON’T: “But you looked so good before!”
While you may mean this comment as a compliment, it can come off as hurtful to your friend. This offhand comment is easily taken as “Why would you do that? What a waste of money!”
INSTEAD: “You look great! Did you get some retouching done?”
It’s much better to bring up a change in appearance in a subtle way. Addressing cosmetic surgery as a natural, normal thing will make your friend feel more comfortable to open up about their procedure. The best thing you can do in this situation is to be supportive!
DON’T: “I wouldn’t do it myself, how much did that cost?”
This comment might come off as condescending and it isolates your friend. The last thing your friend needs is to feel isolated when they need emotional support most.
INSTEAD: Unless you are interested in a similar procedure, it’s best not to ask probing questions. However, if you are interested and your friend is open to it, they can be a great resource for learning about the details of a treatment! Knowing that you are considering the same thing helps to dissolve any judgement your friend may feel. Still, unless you are strongly considering the procedure, it’s probably best to avoid the topic of cost.
DON’T: “Wow, you look so different!”
In cases of cosmetic procedures, it’s best to not be overt. Getting plastic surgery is a personal decision and everyone has their own reasons for doing so. Surgical procedures involve both physical and emotional recovery, so negative comments can sting!
INSTEAD: “You look so refreshed!”
For the most part, cosmetic procedures should look natural and simply elevate a patient’s look. If it appears your friend has undergone a procedure, it’s best to be supportive, but not pry. Some may feel more private about their treatment and not open to invasive questions about the details of their procedure. In Dr. Fishman’s words, “In most cases, I think a neutral or positive approach works best.”
DON’T: “It’s going to take so long to get used to your new look!”
Your friend’s decision to have a cosmetic procedure is just that—their decision! At the end of the day, what matters is not how you feel about the look, but that they feel comfortable in their skin.
INSTEAD: “You look great!”
A simple, but general compliment is always a safe way to go. In these situations, less is more. During recovery and post-surgery, your friend will need your support, but they might not want to talk about or address their treatment.
In general, err on the side of caution. Although cosmetic procedures are much more normalized, not every patient wants to discuss their treatment with friends and family. It is important to recognize that your friend made this decision for themselves, to make themselves feel more confident and comfortable. And isn’t that what matters most?