Summary: There was a recent article in a column by Carolyn Hax (the column is an advice column akin to Dear Abby) in which an adult daughter expressed disappointment with her mother for undergoing a plastic surgery procedure. The column brings to mind a dilemma that many plastic surgery patients go through: telling your family. Of course talking to your family about cosmetic surgery can itself be quite challenging. We’re offering some advice on how to have this conversation with your family.

The Difficulty of Talking to Your Family About Cosmetic Surgery

Plastic surgery can be a very personal undertaking. Indeed, deciding to undergo any kind of cosmetic surgery procedure is, ultimately, a personal decision. Only you get to decide what happens to your body, what you want to go through, how you want your face to look and so on. And most cosmetic surgeons are only concerned with one thing: are you happy with your results? They don’t really care if your spouse is happy with your results, or if your children are happy with your results. That’s beside the point, because the most important person in the plastic surgery equation is you.

This may seem, on its surface, a little selfish. But that’s okay. The person who has to be comfortable in your skin is you. This means that the patient is, simply, the most important person in the equation here, at least when it comes to satisfaction with the results. But people aren’t used to focusing on themselves, and, in many cases, they also aren’t used to articulating their own desires and needs. This can make conversations about plastic or cosmetic surgery particularly difficult and distressing. It’s difficult to let go of the instinct to make everyone around you happy. But it’s necessarily if you want an excellent result.

Should You Keep Your Surgery to Yourself?

Once you’ve determined—for yourself—that you want plastic surgery, it’s important to know that, to a large degree, you are not required to talk to anyone about it at all (unless you’re a minor, but that’s a different story, a different article all together). And it’s important to note that you should be looking into surgery for your own reasons—that is, you shouldn’t be looking into plastic surgery to make anyone else happy. You should be doing it for yourself.

That said, while you can certainly opt for a secretive procedure if you’re looking at something low-key, such as a non surgical nose job, that might not be possible with a more substantial surgery due to one simple fact: you might need help during the recovery. Of course, you can always arrange for some help from outside sources during that initial recovery stage. But that can be expensive. You’ll have to determine just how important your procedure staying secret is to you. Whether or not you tell your family is completely up to you, but I do have one piece of advice: don’t tell your family until you’ve settled on the procedure you want to have.

How to Have the Conversation with Your Family

Deciding to get plastic surgery is a personal decision, but it’s very likely that you’ll want to tell your family. Most people do. There are some ways that you can make this conversation go a little more smoothly, however.

  • Ask for support: Your friends and family don’t necessarily have to agree with your decision. In fact, they’ll probably mention how great you look and how you don’t need any kind of procedure to look good. That might be true. But this isn’t about how you look. It’s about how you feel about how you look. So, don’t ask them to agree with you, simply ask them to support your decision.
  • Listen: You’ve thought about your plastic surgery for a long time. But because most people still think of plastic surgery as superficial, most people also think about it as impulsive. So whoever you tell is going to want to make sure you’ve thought this through. The best thing you can do is simply listen, answer any questions they might throw your way, and be honest about how you feel about your procedure.
  • Be Specific about the help you ask for: Let your family know that there will definitely be a recovery period, and you’re going to need some help around the house. Be specific about what you’ll need help with and when you’ll need that help. Also be specific about who will be responsible for getting everything done.
  • Articulate Your Thoughts: Be vocal about how you feel, what you think, and what you want. Holding back these feelings will simply create confusion and mixed messages. You want to make sure you’re clear about what you want and why.

Of course, there will be conversations that you won’t anticipate. And you can’t convince everyone. Just make sure that you’re convinced. Whether you’re looking at a breast augmentation or a tummy tuck or a Botox injection, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting what you want. After all, it’s all about you. And that’s not just okay, that’s the way it’s supposed to be when it comes to plastic surgery.


  • Hax, C. (2015, December 15). Carolyn Hax: Mom’s plastic surgery triggers an ugly response. Retrieved December 16, 2015, from
  • Is counseling necessary before plastic surgery? – Cosmetic Surgery. (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2015, from
  • Weatherby, J. (2014, August 26). How Do I Talk to My Kids About Plastic Surgery? – Psychology Professor Answers the Tough Questions. Retrieved December 16, 2015, from

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