When Your Friend Is Your Waxer

Back when I started this blog, I was plagued with the issue of whether or not I could befriend my waxer. Perhaps it sounds like a silly problem, but I was in need of company and the woman who does my waxing seems like a really fun person. From what I know of her. Which is not much.

The issue, at the time, was whether we could be friends outside the salon after all that she’s, um, seen.

I tried once, fairly unsuccessfully to pursue the friendship. I had done her a favor and when she said thank you—via text—I suggested lunch. She didn’t respond. Or maybe she responded and sort of danced around the issue. Whatever it was, she very clearly did not accept my invitation. Fine.

Yesterday the opposite issue came up. I was talking with a friend who has been doing a diet program. She wants to stop the diet, but doesn’t know how to break it to her “nutrition consultant.”

I hear stories like these all the time. People become friendly with their trainer, or hairstylist, or waxer, and then it gets awkward when they don’t need those services anymore.

Rationally, we all know that these aren’t true friendships (at least, not usually). They are business relationships. A nutritionist or a hairstylist is someone you pay for services. But during the time you spend together—which can be more often and more consistent than time with your BFF!—you get to know each other. You form a relationship. So even though you know it’s not an actual “break-up,” making the choice to move on can feel like one.

When I’ve encountered this problem in the past I’ve taken the wimpy passive-aggressive way out. I’ve just stopped going. I’m not proud. Especially when it got all awkward after I stopped going to my hairstylist for cuts, but then returned for color. Oy.

But how do you say to someone who you’ve gotten to know over six months or a year, “You know, I really like you? It’s just that I think you make my hair look a little too much like a poodle?” I mean, really.

Have you ever befriended someone from you buy services? What did you do when you wanted to change “providers”? My friend says she’ll do it by phone, which I imagine will make it easier than in person. Thoughts?

{Side note: Writing this reminded me of the Friends episode where Chandler wants to quit the gym, so I rewatched the scene here. It’s not totally related but man, that show holds up.}

11 Comments

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11 responses to “When Your Friend Is Your Waxer

  1. I can see this one from both sides: I went to the same hair girl for 8+ years, and even shared her with a close friend, so when my boyfriend treated me to a cut and color as a surprise with another salon and I liked it better, I was in a pickle. For that one, I copped out and had my friend tell her the next time she asked about me…

    But I have also been on the other side: my clients, by nature of my business, get really really personal with me. And it is part of my personality to make friends with clients. So I am very sensitive to signals a client might be sending that they want to “break up.” Like if a client ignores two emails in a row with direct requests for information or a meeting, my third email gently asks, “Are we done? If so, please know there are no hard feelings, but PLEASE let me know so I can stop bugging you.”

    Truthfully, only once has someone actually come back and said, “Yeah, we’re done. I don’t need your services anymore.” So do I have hard feelings about that person? Nope. I did my best for him, he compensated me fairly for it and there are too many fish in the sea for me to take it personally that one person found a better fit somewhere else.

    Remember, you’re probably not the first client that has moved on from your service-provider, so it is probably harder for you than it is for her. If she’s professional and you’re kind about it, I don’t think any harm will be done.

    Thanks again for another great post! They always get me thinking…

  2. JenD

    Why is it “wimpy” and “passive-aggressive” to just stop going to a particular service provider? Especially when she’s no longer providing a service you like?
    I spent over a decade behind the chair as a hair stylist and a colorist. Trust me, I’ve gotten to know lots of people from the inside out, but when it’s over, it’s over. And that’s totally okay. We’re fine and we understand . Any professional who tries to lay a guilt trip on a client is, well, unprofessional in my opinion.

  3. Suzannah

    I have had to change hairstylist, my reasons where more courtesy based….like, taking too many personal phone calls or between each step of hair having to wait 10 mins….ect….
    this stylist is this way with all het clients, she us very popular, because when she gets off the phone her personality is great….I just would get aggravated that a trim took my whole lunch break….
    But it was so hard to move on that…now I will not commit to a new stylist, I just keep myself a free agent!. I maybe back I may not!…I just don’t want to feel the obligation since I am unable to say ” ok if you are gonna talk on the phone for 30 mins, then cut my hair for 10 mins… I don’t want to sit here waiting with a wet head….”
    But the lady does the Best hair….I have yet to find someone as good, so I guess I would have been better off speaking up….
    Just hate those service provider friendships cuz to me they are real friendships….actually I plan to avoid them going foward…

  4. Kate

    Yeah, so…my husband and I actually went to the same stylist. He loved her, her hair cuts that is. I didn’t. We both had a great rapport with her, but my hair cuts continued to worsen but my hubby didn’t want things to be awkward for him if I fired her. We recently moved out of state, so I didn’t have to “break up” with her. But it was almost worth the headache of moving cross-country for the chance at a decent hair cut. And yes, I’m rather passive-aggressive.

  5. Amanda

    I’ve become friends with my hairstylist, beyond the usual catch-up-on-life-every-2-months-when-I-go-in. However, she’d been doing my hair for a good 2 years or so before we ever hung out outside an appointment. I don’t foresee myself dumping her on grounds of service – I’ve always been really happy with my hair, and I trust her with it. I also think that we’re still casual enough friends for it not to be awkward if one of us decided we’re not meant to be great friends.

  6. Lori Lee

    Funny video Or Sit-Com, Why Anybody Feel The Need To Walk Away From Anything That U Are Paying For. If U No Longer Want A Person Service U Should Be Able To Opt Out At Any Time, Without Quilt Or Any Regrets. U Are Not Friends With Peolpes Who U Pay To Work For U. I Always Thought That U Could Say Hello ‘N Good bye Just Like That, No Hard “FEELINGS”. After All As They Say Business Is Business, ‘N My Money Is My Money, It Goes Where I Go.

  7. katieleigh

    Oh, I love Chandler’s attempts to quit the gym. Pure gold.

    I have the opposite problem right now – my hairstylist back in Texas was a friend before she started cutting my hair, and now I really miss both her and her styling skills! I agree, though, these things can be awkward. It’s tough to tell someone you’re “moving on,” even if it’s your right as a customer to do so.

  8. I definitely don’t think it’s necessary to really say anything (just stop going) UNLESS you’ve hung out with this person outside of the appointment. Then… you probably owe them some kind of call or email. That’s probably why I wouldn’t extend this relationship to beyond the appointment – too much potential for awkwardness!

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