Everyone has a different level of comfort when it comes to transparency. The decision to have elective cosmetic surgery rarely happens easily. It’s hard enough to make the call for a consultation; let alone being naked in front of the surgeon for the body examination. After you become comfortable with your decision to have surgery, you are then faced with the perplexity around who to tell. While cosmetic surgery is becoming less taboo as more people undergo procedures, the decision to tell someone remains uneasy. Religion, politics, family dynamics and societal norms play a role in how you feel about your decision and who you want to tell. The anxiety stems from feeling exposed and judged by nay-sayers. Keep in mind, surgery is not something you want to hide from a close loved one. It is extremely important to tell your spouse or partner with whom you share a home and finances. The recovery process impacts all family members, not just the patient. Your close family is responsible for your care and well-being during recovery.
Deciding who to tell outside of your nuclear family doesn’t need to be tricky. First of all, attempt to better understand yourself, audience and the reasons behind wanting to communicate your surgical plans. Figure out your “me, who, what, and why”. We have created some simple questions below to help you determine what kind of communicator you are and how to go about choosing your “safe” confidants.
-Am I a private person?
-Am I a transparent person?
-Do I lead a high profile lifestyle?
-Would I be devastated if a close friend found out about my cosmetic surgery?
-Do I have more serious or more superficial conversations with my friends?
-Is this person a close friend, family member, co-worker or acquaintance?
-Will this person be helpful to me during my recovery process?
-Do I respect this person’s opinion?
-Do I trust them with my feelings and my personal information?
-Do I want emotional support?
-Do I need reassurance?
-Am I in constant contact with this person?
-Do they need to know for my safety?
-Do I need their help?
The truth is, you will never be 100% sure of the other person’s reaction to your news. However, you can be sure about how you feel. Take some time and concentrated effort into answering the above questions. If you are an extremely private person make sure you tell someone you trust as you do not want to feel alone during recovery. If you tend to be an open book, make sure you don’t tell people who aren’t worthy of the information. Keep your plans to yourself if you are not sure of your audience. Knowing your communication style will give you more confidence when sharing sensitive information. Identifying your “me, who, what and why” along with your reasons behind the need to communicate is a safe strategy for personal information sharing.
Kari Roland, Patient Counselor