What Would You Do: Should I Tell Clients About My Divorce?
WWYD: Should I Tell My Clients About My Divorce?
Divorce can be messy, difficult and draining—especially for hairdressers who are expected to give 100 percent of their energy, positivity and support to every person that sits in their chair. So when your client asks, “How are you?”, how open should you really be about your problems? Should you keep it real or professional? Are there ways to talk about divorce without dragging others (and yourself!) down? Someone from the BTC community reached out with this message:
“I am going through a divorce. It sucks. But it’s life. How do we in the industry go about our day when life gets in the way? I haven’t told any clients yet, coworkers know and they are an unbelievable support system. But I guess I’m worried to dump my life on my clients when I feel like they’re used to me always being so positive and happy and really listening to them.
I want to add that I’m not worried about their reaction or judgments, I know they will also show amazing support. Just any tips on ways you’ve dealt with sharing (I imagine its a lot 5 + clients a day) and what has helped others? Thank you!”
Keep scrolling to read what other hairdressers had to say! And if you’re personally dealing with this situation, you’ve got this! 💕
Be Open With Clients. They Will Understand & Support You!
“I can speak from very personal experience here. Honestly—just be open with your clients when they ask about you and how you’re doing. People in our chair are there for the connection oftentimes as much as we are. We all crave authenticity. It feels good to be honest about ourselves with others. It may actually provide some healing. Hopefully your clients are magical humans like mine are and they become even closer to you during this time. All the love to you!” – @studio_wolf
“I usually find clients to be some of my biggest support systems. You don’t always have to go deep to the nitty-gritty but clients love to see we are real and human also. I’ve cried on my clients shoulders just like they have cried on mine.” – @ashleymcolorist
“Honestly I got most of my divorce advice from my clients. The dos and don’t of divorce, and also custody. Most of my venting went to specific clients that wanted to vent back.” – @ragan_capozzoli
“To me, our clients come to us 10% for how we actually do hair and 90% of who YOU are. And your divorce is part of what makes you YOU. You know your clients and their personal lives. You are not a robot, they want to build a relationship with you. When you’re comfortable with it, share your truth. It will build a deeper connection IMO. Just know when to change the subject and get back to the hair.” – @ashley.topknot
“My clients are a HUGE part of my life. I have become close friends with a ton of them. They share their personal life with me as I do them. For me, I found it hard to put a huge fake smile on my face when the majority of them could tell I wasn’t myself. It was so much easier just to tell them and get it out of the way. They would’ve eventually realized on their own via Facebook I’m sure. I’m glad I let my clients into my life personally. I have created bonds that will last a lifetime.” – Sheena Rainey
Keep It Professional & Stay Focused On The Client.
“Honestly just keep it short and simple and then change the subject back to them. Positive responses like, ‘We have chosen to go our separate ways, but still have respect for each other.’ As much as we want to talk about our divorce, clients aren’t here to hear about our problems.” – @variancehair
“Learned this the hard way. Your clients will bring it up every appointment making it the center of attention which will make it harder to deal with. Just don’t say anything, keep the focus on them.” – @kayyjay14
“Personally, I say keep it professional and don’t say anything. We are here for them, not the other way around. We don’t want to put stress on them as they are there to be stress-free. And as someone mentioned, you don’t want them thinking you are going to mess their hair up because you’re not all there. As far as your super close friend/clients, maybe you can mention it if they ask which I’m sure they will, since they will notice something is not right.” – @carolinamasterstylist
“Don’t talk about it…work as hard as you can stock pile money. When all said and done, don’t look back…move forward…a fresh start. Love yourself…you got this.” – Paula Branam-Eads
“I’ve been through it! Be professional and NEVER let your client think that you’re distracted from their hair. They are paying you for your complete attention. Good luck.” – @haircolorbyalisonsassoon
“I worked with someone who told everyone that walked in the door about her divorce. Clients would often recoil, and coworkers got annoyed. While it was always on her mind (obviously) and I felt for her, I saw the reactions of people around her. Some who only see her in those short moments for a haircut…let’s just say it wasn’t good. Although it’s good to vent and sometimes necessary, I don’t recommend doing it at work…timing is everything.” – Jo Lucas
“It’s not about you, it’s about them. Leave your baggage at the door as best as you can. Short of someone bringing up your spouse, don’t say a word! I’ve known stylists who overshared, told every client everything, and it became a lot! Some people love it, some don’t.” – Theresa Dudeck
“My first mentor/boss in the industry gave me the greatest advice I’ve ever had. She said, ‘You have two hats, a professional hat and a personal hat. Don’t ever walk through the salon door with your personal hat on.’ It’s hard sometimes, but it needs to be that way. The service always needs to be about the client. Hope things start looking up!” – Amy Schierman
You Can Be Honest & Still Protect Your Privacy!
“From personal experience only share with people you are closest to. If you talk about it with every client, it makes you feel completely drained and horrible by the end of the day. Reliving every dirty detail with each client prevents you from healing. Also it’s OK to give a very shortened answer if someone says something about your spouse, you can say we are currently divorcing—and if someone says what’s happening?!? Its OK to say, ‘You know, I don’t feel much like talking about it, why don’t you tell me how your (kids, trip, dog, whatever) is?’ It’s a good thing to start boundaries from the beginning otherwise it can be really hard to put them up later! Good luck.❤️” – Jenn Voss Jones
“This is very hard, because when we share and talk about it, it brings up all the painful feelings. It’s hard to take care of others in that head space, for sure. Personally, I kept my divorce to myself until I felt in a strong, positive place to share the experience. Know your boundaries and respect your own privacy.” – @katekentnicehair
“Your clients will know something is up. Divorce is hard and we are human. Share with your closest clients but don’t overshare. Don’t let your issues be the talk of the whole appointment. However keeping the clients informed will give you support and them understanding. God bless.” – @bbknutson
“I always keep my conversation balanced. I share my life with them but then I say, ‘Enough about me, this is your hour and I want this to be time for you to escape any heavy topics.’ (That is if we are speaking about something that isn’t uplifting and empowering.)” – Frank Sibillo Dattilo
“Keep it classy, keep it light. If it’s too messy for you to pull out and show off, just keep it in your pocket.” – @the_real_mwhitted
“Been there. It’s rough. Don’t share until you’re ready. Definitely be careful what you share with which clients. There were some clients I never told! And when I got remarried and pregnant again, they thought it was still with my first husband. 😆 My point is, some clients want to know about our personal lives, some don’t. Do your best to put your stylist face on. But know it’s OK if u need to cry in the bathroom some days. Clients dump their problems on us all day everyday. Stylists are people too and we go through life things. It’ll be OK.” – @adrienneworley_bombshellstudio
Most Importantly, Don’t Forget To Take Care Of Yourself ♥️
“I would say take care of your emotional and mental health before you hit the salon each day. Journal, find a therapist so you have someone to talk to before your clients talk to you all day. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so having what you need first before you hit work and doing a mental check list of what will keep you joyful during this difficult time may help. That way you can feel like yourself behind the chair.” -@sonya_dolcevita
“I was separated during my pregnancy and I kept it a secret for a long time. It’s hard feeling like you are living a lie—that’s why a support system is so key. If you are unable to say it without getting emotional, wait. Once you are ready, you will be able to say it very matter of factually. Keep it brief, follow it with something positive, and then change the topic. I told people in rifts, all at different times and when I was ready. Also—get therapy!!! It helps so much when paired with your support system. Best of luck.” – @danaeairielle