After a co-worker returns from being away a few days, it doesn’t seem polite to say, “Gosh, your breasts look bigger.” That is the situation more and more people are faced with as plastic surgery continues to boom in the United States. What is the proper thing to say to a friend, colleague, neighbor or even a family member after a cosmetic procedure by choice?
By: Dawn Tongish
Tricky Talk: What To Say To A Friend, Co-Worker, Family Member Who Has Just Had Plastic Surgery
Without a doubt, every person in an office cubicle or in a grocery store aisle has encountered that awkward moment when a workmate or friend returns after a few days away and doesn’t look the same. Perhaps “Pam” is sporting an enhanced look in her bosom and it is clear that she has had breast implants.
Maybe “Phil” doesn’t look the same because the nose that he broke several times playing football no longer shows the signs of his old days as the high school quarterback. Usually, there are those that are reluctant to speak out because it doesn’t seem tactful. It is a good question: speak up or stay quiet, even though the general thought is Pam and Phil look great?
In 2011, Americans had nearly 14 million cosmetic procedures; according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons so there are plenty of people trying to maneuver the tricky line between what to say when someone close to them choses to go under the knife. For instance, with breast augmentation there is no hiding the fact that the chest is larger.
Unsolicited Comments Can Make Plastic Surgery Patients Feel Uncomfortable
“Some of them feel uncomfortable when someone they haven’t seen comes up and comments on their new look,” says Dr. Brian Reagan, a board-certified plastic surgeon from San Diego. Dr. Reagan says it important to be discreet when approaching someone following cosmetic surgery.
“Wait until you have a private moment. Don’t say anything in front of others, because some people may not want others to know that they have chosen to do something to enhance their looks.” Dr. Reagan says to be sure the person you are approaching wants to talk about the surgery before you unleash a bunch of questions the patient may or may not be ready to answer.
Why Are You Asking?
Approaching a patient following cosmetic surgery may not be any different than asking someone about recent weight loss. It isn’t easy to say, “Wow, you dropped 100 pounds. You look good.” The comment could imply the person didn’t look good before.
Experts say it may appear you are questioning the recent patient to point out previous flaws when that really isn’t the case. Be careful! You don’t want to make someone who is already a little fragile and trying to recover even more emotional or self conscious about a new look.
Keep It Simple To Get Answers
The best approach may be to let the plastic surgery patient reveal, at will. No amount of prying will make someone tell more than they are willing to talk about, too soon.
“If it is someone who you are not that close to and they aren’t sharing, I would be wary of stepping over that line,” says Dr. Brad Calobrace, a plastic surgeon who practices in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Calobrace recommends an even-handed approach to talking with a plastic surgery patient. Dr. Calobrace says to let the patient decide how much or little he/she wants to share.
“You can make it very simple and general. You can say,”you look great” and then the person may say that they “had their eyes done” or they may say “they have just been sleeping well.” Then you will know it is time to step away from it.”
The Big Reveal
For those patients willing to share not only their stories, but much more; doctors say expect a big reveal. Once the scars heal and the new look has settled in, a patient often wants to “show” others just how much better she/he looks. Doctors say a woman pleased with the results of her breast augmentation often wants to be the first to share her new bosom with her girlfriends.
“They often tell me they are at an establishment with friends and they look great. They go into the restroom and that is where they reveal “the breasts,” according to Dr. Brian Reagan. “I say show as many people as you want. I think it is good marketing for the good surgeons.”
The best approach, experts say is to always use tact and know when to keep quiet.