Going to the nail salon is supposed to be a fun, relaxing trip, but sometimes things can go awry. I love to be pampered, but sometimes a trip to the salon is just too awkward for me—the waiting around, the forced small talk while someone tickles the heck out of my feet—so sometimes it’s hard for me to fully enjoy the experience. That’s why I’ve come up with these tips to follow to ensure that your trip goes off without a hitch!

Find the Right Salon
Aside from the various health and hygiene risks involved in going to the salon—you can get some serious infections if the salon isn’t clean—you also want to find one with an atmosphere that suits you. Do a bit of research ahead of time, or physically go into a salon to book an appointment instead of calling so you can get a feel for the place.

Bring a Friend
Most things are more fun when you do them with a friend, and a trip to the salon is no exception. Book ahead to make sure you can go through the process together—too many time I’ve been separated from my friend while she gets her mani and I get my pedi. Not only do you have someone who you can talk to throughout, but if anything weird happens—like the time a salon worker scrubbed too hard at a callus and made me, then laughed at me when I flinched at the ointment he applied—then you have someone to laugh with.

Bring Entertainment
If you can’t find a friend to accompany you, bring your own fun. If like me, you find too much small talk a bit too taxing, then bring something along that is a clear signal that you’d like some relaxing alone time. A magazine, a book, or your iPod will let everyone know that you’re just interested in some silent, meditative pampering.