A woman's relationship with her hairstylist is often an intimate and complicated one. Whether you've been together for years or only connected recently, chances are you've shared personal stories and details about your life.
But what happens when you feel like maybe it's time to part ways and try someone new? Before you panic about how to break up with the person who possesses up-close knowledge of your scalp and more, consider the following advice from an expert at the art of direct communication.
Jodyne L. Speyer, author of Dump 'Em: How to Break Up With Anyone From Your Best Friend to Your Hairdresser, offers three tips to ease breaking up with your hairstylist.
More from The Stir: 7 Tips for Telling Your Hairdresser EXACTLY What You Want
1. Start the Conversation. While it's definitely uncomfortable, delicately bringing up the fact that you're not happy at least gives your stylist the "heads up" (pun intended) that you might be moving on, Speyer says.
"Gently ease into the conversation by acknowledging that it's an awkward one to have," Speyer says. "Then follow it up with a compliment, something like, 'You know I adore you...' or 'I think the world of you...' and then explain why you're thinking of moving in a new direction."
Remember, Speyer says, hairdressers aren't mind readers, nor can they remember the way they cut each client's hair. So if you don't let them know that you're not getting the cut or color you want, they might not have a clue you're unhappy. Speyer says sometimes simply speaking up can fix the relationship and you won't have to cut ties.
But ... if you've let your stylist know, "I'd like to go shorter, blonder, whatever" and that doesn't happen, they'll have a pretty good idea why you haven't returned.
2. Tell a White Lie. If it's too uncomfortable to just come out and let your stylist know you haven't been thrilled with the results of your last few visits, Speyer says telling a white lie isn't the worst thing you can do. The Dump 'Em guru says she recently advised a friend to tell her stylist that she got a gift certificate to another salon -- so not to expect her any time soon.
This also leaves the door open for you to come back should you not find anyone you prefer.
3. Give Closure. Speyer says that especially if you've referred friends or family to this stylist, it's important to end the relationship yourself so you don't put others in an uncomfortable position. Consider sending a card or flowers and thanking your hairdresser but letting him or her know you're parting ways.
"This way they won't be wondering what happened to you," Speyer says. "They have the answer."
Speyer says breaking up with your hairstylist "feels bigger than it really is."
"Remember, this is a professional relationship," she says. "While it might feel like a friendship, if it were your friend, they'd be cutting your hair for free."
What happens if you want to try out another stylist at the same salon? Speyer has a solution for that as well.
"Find out when your current stylist has the day off and try the new stylist then," she advises. "You may not like it better, but if you do, the next time you go, take a second to tell your former stylist that you came in, desperate for a cut or color, and you were happy with this new direction. Just get it out of the way."
Have you ever had to break up with your hairdresser? How did you do it?
Images ©iStock.com/diego_cervo, ©iStock.com/suslik83