“I noticed you have acne”: Four steps for making That Conversation less awkward
Posted by Peter Matthews on
How do you tell someone close to you that they need skincare?
It’s time to talk about the ultimate taboo. Read carefully, because sometimes you’ll need to do this and without the right social tools you’ll hurt your friend or, even worse, get teased by all your buddies.
Wait, you mean I’m at risk here too?
Not if you know how to be tactful. It’s okay, I’ve got your back. There are four things to remember:
This isn’t a comment, it’s a conversation
You’re not just telling your loved one that their fly is down, or that their skirt is caught on their bag. Those things are a two-second cosmetic change. Skincare means going home and making gradual changes.
Be ready to talk and listen. Make sure you have five minutes to be there with them - they may have questions, worries, playful insults. Every friend is different.
Acquaintances pretend a breakout isn’t there. Friends talk about it because friends help each other. Society is polite, man. If you don’t tell them no one will.
If you have a bond with someone, you feel what each other feel. This means you get to set the mood here. Whatever tone you take when you speak to them will be part of their reaction.
2) Bring it up like it’s No Big Deal
When a kid hurts themselves, they take their next cue from you. If you treat it as a big horrific injury, they’ll act as if they’ve lost an arm. If you say it’s nothing and kiss it better, they’ll be fine in a minute. We never really grow out of that.
So, can you be both genuine and lighthearted with your friends?
It might go something like this:
“Hey listen, hope you don’t mind me saying, I see you’re having a little breakout. I have a treatment for that, if you’re man enough.”
“You sound like you’re about to sell me drugs. Really though, what’s wrong with my skin?”
“You look fine, I just noticed you have a little acne. I have breakouts too now and then.”
You’ll have to bring it up in your own unique way. I’m not going to give you canned lines like some dodgy pickup artist. The golden rule is to not overthink it. Every friendship is different, your friends will tolerate and punish different things. Since they’re your friends, you know what those things are.
Bromances are especially sensitive - if you say something the wrong way, your guy friends may tease you about it. Just trust your instincts and bring it up. Don’t even think about it.
Last month I blogged about skincare stigma. So many men take care of their skin, but a lot of them keep it secret because they believe they’re the only one. Whether they’re drinking more water or putting on makeup (or urban camo as companies like to call it), guys are looking after their appearance. It’s kind of a juicy topic. Talking about taboos is fun!
If you want to bring it up with someone you don’t know well, this is the most important step. Proceed with caution though. Their face is none of our business and hopefully they know it.
3) If they give you something, share back
Now, how will they react? Maybe they’ll feel relief, in that funny way we do when someone figures out a secret we’ve been keeping. They’ll probably be a little self conscious. Everyone treats these feelings differently.
Anyway, now they know. The weight is off your chest, they’re a little unsure of themselves. Stay with them, tell them about your own breakouts. By bringing this up you’ve forced them to share something about themselves, and now it’s your turn. How much do you share? About the amount they share.
Seriously, don’t overthink it.
Be genuine, but remember, it’s not a big deal. Treating it as NBD can be the difference between them feeling like they have a little scrape and feeling like a mutated beast.
4) Have a solution
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: SkinB5 is awesome. Of course we’re going to recommend our products, they’re just great. Our caplets are miraculous. Even the Extra Strength Tablets are made of all natural ingredients, produced under strict industry guidelines. How many acne treatments can say that? We offer a whole body treatment with an important message - good health will make you glow, and it starts with what you put into your body.
Our Five Minute Purifying Mask is award winning and works faster than it takes you to have breakfast. Why doesn’t your friend try it then?
But enough bragging. Think about how you treat your acne. You may think that someone with acne shouldn’t be sharing skincare wisdom, but you’ve been through it. You get it. If anyone knows what to do about skincare, you do.
So basically, remember:
Be ready to talk and listen
What they share with you, share back
Suggest a solution
Now relax. You've got this.
This blog is part of a really cool series about skincare stigma.
Peter Matthews is a runner, serial weight loser and trained counsellor. He really likes tea even though he lives in Melbourne where there is one tea house for every billion cafes (give or take). His favourite B vitamin is B6, the one that may give you vivid dreams.