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8 Small Talk Topics That Will Make Conversation with Your Barber or Hairdresser Way Less Awkward
On a busy day, your average barber or hairdresser is going to do around 15-20 haircuts.
That’s a lot of small talk (and small talk topics that are likely to be covered), and while they’re probably used to having the same old conversations about the weather and vacations, over and over, for the person in the chair, that half an hour can be awkward as hell.
Fortunately, at Groom+Style, we’ve been in the chair enough times, thought about it enough times, to have come up with some less obvious, more interesting topics of small talk and conversation you can have with your barber or hairdresser.
That is, if you want to have small talk.
Often, it’s totally ok to sit in silence and let your hairdresser or barber do their thing. In fact, they’ll probably appreciate the silence and the opportunity to just cut your hair.
That’s small talk topic suggestion number one, in fact…
1. Don’t Talk About Anything
You’re not being rude by explaining how you’d like your hair to be cut, then clamming up.
You’re there for a haircut, not an interview.
If your barber or hairdresser asks you the typical small talk questions, answer them, but most of them are pretty good at gauging when a client wants to talk, and when they’d rather keep to themselves.
So, if you’re not up for making small talk, then don’t. It’s alright.
2. Talk About New and Classic Movies
The first thing that usually comes up when you engage in small talk with your hairdresser is vacations.
If you’re planning on going back to the same salon or barber again and again, then building a rapport about something which you can both share is a great idea.
That’s why movies are a good call.
Pick something that’s playing, or that’s been out for a couple of weeks, and ask your barber if they’ve seen it. Watched something cool on Netflix recently? Tell them about it. If it’s something super popular, you might even kick off a conversation with the other barbers, and when your barber likes you, you definitely get a better haircut.
3. Ask About Products and Treatments
Barbers and hairdressers love to impart their wisdom about how best to care for your hair.
They’ll have their favourite styling methods and products, and by asking about how best to care for your hair type, and which products to use, you’ll not only gain genuinely valuable knowledge, you’ll create a bond of trust with the person cutting your hair.
When you show that you’re willing to take their advice, they’re going to speak much more openly about things with you, because they’ve got a better sense of the kind of person you are.
Try asking which shampoo or conditioner is best for your hair type, or how often you should wash your hair.
Related: Top 5 Best Hair Loss Shampoos Review
4. Ask About the Photos on the Walls
Most places will have artwork or photos on the walls.
Often, it’s stock imagery of classic hairstyles and barber shops from way back when. Those you don’t need to ask about. But, if you see something that catches your eye, if you recognize the shop you’re in, in a photograph, then ask about it.
It probably has some history. Maybe the shop belonged to the current owner’s grandfather, in which case, we’re sure that the person cutting your hair will have a little or a lot to say about what they’ve chosen to decorate the walls with.
5. Be a Tourist
Make your small talk topics fun – like this one.
Try asking your barber or hairdresser where’s good to eat in town.
Even if you know the good places to eat, they might have a favorite, and letting them tell you about it is a great way of making genuine conversation about something they’re interested in, other than the weather or where your next vacation will be.
If you happen to follow through on their suggestion and actually go to one of the places they suggest, then you’ve got ammunition to use as a talking point for your next haircut. Pretty sweet.
6. Avoid Politics (especially these days) Unless You Know it’ll go Over Well
You might have some strong opinions, and so might they, and while debate can be good, when you’re sitting in a chair at such close quarters with someone who’s cutting your hair, or shaving you with a cut throat razor, rocking the boat too much just isn’t smart.
If you are going to bring up politics, get a sense of the place first, drop some hints and see what sort of feedback you get. We don’t really recommend this one, though.
7. Inspire Some Nostalgia
If you and your barber or hairdresser are around the same age, then bringing up something you were both likely familiar with as kids, can be a good way of putting a smile on both your faces.
It doesn’t have to be anything serious, just say, ‘You know, I was thinking about […] the other day. Remember those?’
Pogs, tamagotchi, Blockbuster video, there’s loads to talk about, and once you get set foot aboard the nostalgia train, you could be in for a long trip. Guaranteed to put a smile your face.
8. Ask How They’re Doing – and Really Listen to the Answer!
Your barber asks how you’re doing and what you’re up to because it’s polite and good for business.
You can do the same.
Ask how they’re doing, what they’re going to be doing at the weekend, what movies they’ve seen recently.
Asking questions to your barber or hairdresser is one of the best ways to practice making small talk, and it’ll transfer well into other aspects of your life. You’ll get better at making conversation with your friends, your partner, and at job interviews.
Use your trip to the barber or hairdresser as an opportunity to practice asking questions, and then listening, responding with more relevant questions.
Don’t waste the time you have there talking about the weather (although of course if you are desperate this could be small talk topic suggestion number 9), and like we said at the start, if you can’t think of anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.