8 Stages Of Deciding Whether To Get A Tattoo

I can't handle about 90% of life's stressful, permanent decisions. Not saying I'm completely opposed to marriage but like... marriage sounds BIG. Too big. Moving across the country? I've done it once but everyone else I know reacted terribly to the idea. Children? I actually have trouble putting into words just how much I'm not ready for children. Basically, what I'm saying is the biggest commitment leap I've taking thus far is permanently tattooing ink on my body. Not saying I'm a complete commitment-phobe (okay, that's exactly what I'm saying), but a tattoo is just as far as I've gotten.

I'm pretty convinced I'm not alone in that category. Making a permanent decision of any kind is daunting. Even when there isn't a beautifully big, expensive ceremony or a human life in the picture. That being said, if you're down for ~taking the leap~ and getting ink of any kind, give yourself the time to be sure. It needs to be entirely your decision, because it's not permanent on anyone else's body. Whether you're getting your first tattoo or are contemplating a sleeve after a few micro tats, you're destined to go through these 8 stages of deliberation:

1. Interest

This is when you're still flirting with the idea of ink. Things that spark interest: Every tattoo article ever, your friends getting new ink, walking by ANY tattoo parlor. Point being, when you're considering getting a tattoo, you suddenly see them EVERYWHERE and ask everyone about their ink.

2. Bargaining

Like, do you actually want to spend the money? Or be in pain? Even the most decisive people aren't so sure.

3. What Ifs

What if the tattoo artist makes a mistake? What if I hate it in 50 years? What if I DIE?! What if it's too painful halfway through and you can't go through with it? I've never seen anyone walking around with half a tattoo because they truly couldn't make it any longer. But when you're actually making an appointment to get a tattoo, this concern seems rational.

4. When you completely change your idea

Someone once told me that if I wanted a tattoo, I should wait two years and then, if I still wanted it, I could get one. She made a fair point: If you're going to keep something permanently on your body, wait it out and see if you're still completely sold on your idea. But even if you decide spur of the moment, when you end up in the tattoo parlor EVERYTHING starts to look awesome and you start on the, "well, maybe I should get this instead..."

5. Nope, forget it. Not happening at all.

This always happens after the appointment is actually made, but before it's time to do it. You still have time to cancel, and to be honest, it's sounding pretty tempting. Especially if you're getting a larger tattoo, or if it's your first. Yeah, canceling sounds good. You can just, like, sit on it for another 6 months or so.

6. Level-headed, reasonable, clear thinking about the whole thing (from a friend because you cannot)

What you really need is someone to confirm that getting this tattoo is, in fact, a good idea and not the most shameful mistake of your life. So you find a friend who already has ink, explain your idea and they give you a look that's says, "Why are you freaking out? This is normal.", that it actually calms you down. All someone has to say is that it's your body and you can do whatever you want with it, and you'll feel pretty golden.

7. Actually getting the damn tattoo

Once you show up for your appointment, people rarely walk out. You made it this far. And if you wait until you're IN the parlor to change your mind, you wasted someone's time and every knows you're the one that left. So, yeah. You're doing this.


Post-tattoo is a great high. Maybe it's your post-pain haze, but you feel great, it looks amazing and you can't wait to show it off to literally anyone who will listen, including but not limited to passerbys on the street.

Images: Getty Images; Giphy (4)