When we meet someone new, our first impression of them is inevitably based on their physical appearance: clothing, facial features, visible scarring. In that moment, we can’t help a train of thoughts from running through our own minds, comments and questions based on our observations. However, few people utter these thoughts aloud. Whether these observations are positive or negative, it’s ultimately understood that it would be inappropriate in most settings to begin an outward onslaught of internal impressions. Should we consider the same when it comes to a stranger’s body art?
When someone chooses to get a tattoo, there’s no doubt that it’s often a very personal decision. A tattoo is something that the owner values enough to live with for their entire life. It’s likely that they have a deep emotional connection to it. That piece of art becomes an extension of a person, and as a result could be difficult to talk about with someone they barely know. Does this mean that the discussion of tattoos is taboo and that they should never be mentioned openly? Hardly.
When someone gets a tattoo, they have decided to manifest their own passions in physical form, applying them directly to their body as a symbol of their individual identity. There aren’t many people who are open or outgoing enough to launch straight into a conversation about their strongest passions with any old stranger. However, humans are naturally social beings. We want to talk about ourselves, our experiences, and we want to share those stories. We want to talk about our tattoos, but for many people, that takes time and the right kind of person, someone we feel we can trust with that information and who will understand it fully.
Of course, there’s no rule to asking someone about their tattoos. There are plenty of folks out there who have no problem taking anyone else through their journey outlined in ink. If you feel comfortable enough with someone to bring it up, it’s entirely possible they feel they can talk to you too. Who knows? Maybe they’ve been waiting for you to ask.
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