Preparing Others for Your Big Chop

big chop

So you’ve decided to Big Chop – now what? There are many resources available to help you find a salon, select a style, buy products and prepare yourself mentally. But what about preparing those around you?

Although rocking natural hair is not a new phenomenon, it is new to you and therefore new the people you encounter every day. Here are some helpful tips on talking to the people you care about.

SIGNIFICANT OTHER

Give your significant other advanced notice and be prepared for every possible reaction. We’d all love to believe that relationships are based solely on communication and compatibility, but let’s be honest here; appearances play a significant role in attraction. Your partner may not have a say-so in “if” you big chop, but they should have fair warning “when” you decide. They will have questions and maybe voice some fears, but this transition will be smoother if concerns are addressed before you make this significant and worthwhile altercation to your physical look.

Your partner may not have a say-so in “if” you big chop, but they should have fair warning “when” you decide.

FAMILY

Family can be difficult; you can keep it simple. No matter what the subject, your family will always want to give their two-cents, especially when it comes to hair. One possible approach – tell them you plan on cutting your hair to go natural; you’re nervous, but confident, and you’d appreciate positive support. If that’s TMI for your family, keep it even simpler – “I’m cutting my hair and don’t need your mouth.” Or can find a happy medium between both approaches. Also, it is easier to tell small groups than to make an announcement at a big family dinner. You’re more likely to get kinder feedback when the conversation is intimate – GroupThink is real, ya’ll.

It is easier to tell small groups than to make an announcement at a big family dinner.

CO-WORKERS

Help educate the masses and avoid nosey awkward looks. Out of convenience, you will most likely schedule your Big Chop for a weekend. If you’re like me, rock your new TWA in every mirror and take plenty of selfies, but Monday will be your major debut. That can be a bit nerve racking. So although you definitely do not need pre-approval from your co-workers, it can be helpful to talk about your fore-coming change to help prevent awkward and unnecessary reactions. Bring up the topic of natural hair in a casual conversation; you might be surprised what people do or do not already know. This provides an opportunity to address questions and show pictures of other Naturals and recent BCers. Think of it this way – you might got mixed reviews all weekend, so it will be nice to receive normal, unweighted responses. But even with all this preparation, on Monday still expect a few questions, comments, and (of course) looks. Hopefully, they will all stem from good natured curiosity or… insert #FistEmoji

Bring up the topic of natural hair in a casual conversation; you might be surprised what people do or do not already know.

FRIENDS

To be honest, friends are just as difficult as family, if not more, but still keep it simple and straight forward. Friends don’t have romantic investments like your significant other, they aren’t far-removed like co-workers and they don’t have to “like you anyway” the way your family does. Responses from your friends can vary from awesome support to hurtful gags at your expense. Prior preparation gives them an opportunity to ask questions, make jokes, and get all unnecessary responses out of the way. Let them know you need their support as you prepare to BC because you are still nervous. A good set of friends will get behind you, regardless of their opinion. As with anything in life, you’ll want to develop a thick skin, but be honest when a comment has gone too far or a joke has run its course. If someone still feels obligated to voice a negative remark, remind them that they can keep their mouth all the way shut.

As with anything in life, you’ll want to develop a thick skin, but be honest when a comment has gone too far or a joke has run its course.

GENERAL PUBLIC

Warning: If you cut it, they will come! People will want to touch your hair, and why wouldn’t they, it will be so fly! But decide if you care or not. Your Dynamic New Do will attract a lot of attention, but that doesn’t mean it has to attract hands. There is no reason to feel bad about a Hands Off policy.

Your Dynamic New Do will attract a lot of attention, but that doesn’t mean it has to attract hands.

Main Photo: Nikia Phoenix/Model Liberation

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