Hairdresser. Awkward small talk time. Do you just keep quiet? Do you wait for it to be over? What can you talk about? Here are some things to make getting your haircut done less awkward.
Consider it practice
A hairdresser is in a sense an expert in smalltalk. Generally they are really good at talking about nothing at all. They have to do that all day. This means that while they are working on your hair you can learn from them.
Besides, they are not people that you deal with on a daily basis, so if something gets awkward then so be it. At least you know it’ll be over in 20-60 minutes anyway.
Try to switch from “omg this will be awkward” to “practice time, let’s see what I can learn”.
Ask hook questions
The key to keeping conversations going is to ask “hook” questions. These are questions that get you a bit of info about the other person.
Topics like holidays or vacations are always good topics. Since people seem to go away on vacation fairly often this is a safe bet as you can ask both about future and past:
So, did you go away on vacation this summer?
So, where are you going to on vacation this summer?
Now it can go either of two ways: they can say they stayed home or they’ll tell you where they went.
They stayed home
“No we didn’t go away this vacation”.
Ok, that has a reason. Maybe they had something on their house done which cost money so they couldn’t go? Maybe they don’t like going away?
Follow up question: “How come?”. And sometimes you won’t even have to ask this, since they will tell you immediately.
They went to <insert their destination here>
“Yeah we went/are going to destination”.
Follow up: “Oh nice! Why did you pick that spot?”
Let them talk
This is usually enough to keep them going for quite a while. You don’t need to talk about yourself most of the time. Just ask a question about something that interests you.
And maybe you find out that your hairdresser already went to a spot that you want to go, or that you’ve already been to where they’re going. That’s a nice shared interest to keep talking about.
Sometimes they might reply that they’ve been going to spot X for 5 years. That means that they really like it, but also that they’re quite familiar with the area. Ask them for advice, as people generally love to give advice.
“Sounds like you know your way around there! What should I see/visit if I go there?”
And again, let them talk and let them give you advice.
Most people go to the hairdresser every 6 weeks. If you really want to make a good impression then make a little note in your phone about what you talked about.
“Sandra is going to Las Vegas this summer”.
Next time you see your hairdresser you can ask how Vegas was. It will be fairly unusual for somebody to remember their hairdresser’s plans or past conversation, so this will immediately make you a more interesting person for him or her.
Again, consider the hairdresser practice in smalltalk. These people don’t do anything else all day generally, so see what they talk about, how they talk about it and what gets them going. And just keep practicing 😉.