Cosmetic Surgery Etiquette for Beginners

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There’s no denying that cosmetic surgery is more popular than ever. Botox injections, tummy tucks and breast implants have become a pervasive societal norm. But when it comes to cosmetic surgery etiquette, a gray area still exists – how should you react when someone noticeably changes his or her appearance?

Mary M. Mitchell, who has written several books on etiquette, recently wrote a Reuters story about what she views as proper etiquette regarding cosmetic surgery. If you know someone who is considering or has recently undergone cosmetic surgery, an appropriate reaction will make the situation more comfortable for everyone. Here are some suggestions from Mitchell:

1) Remain Neutral

If a coworker, friend or family member confesses to you that he or she is considering cosmetic surgery, resist trying to talk the person out of it. Cosmetic surgery is a very personal decision. It’s right for some and wrong for others. Either way, it’s important that you remain neutral and respect his or her final choice.

2) Don’t Say a Word

Though you may be tempted to ask, it’s simply bad manners to bring up a person’s recent cosmetic procedure. Unless he or she brings it up first, you have no business talking about it. If you feel compelled to comment, offering up a vague compliment like: “You look so great lately,” may open up the conversation door about the topic.

3) Avoid Judgment

If someone tells you about a recent cosmetic surgery procedure, remain diplomatic. Ask the person how he or she feels about the final results, but don’t offer up an opinion on them. The best way to respond to someone’s omission of dissatisfaction with a physical flaw is to say something like: “I see what you mean, but only after you pointed it out.”

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