How To Choose A Non-Cringey Matching Tattoo (That You Can Both Agree On)

Tattoos are an amazing way for people to express themselves. While they're certainly painful, anyone with a tattoo will tell you it was worth it. Although there are a lot of different reasons why one would want to get a tattoo, for some people it's less about the tattoo and more about the person they're getting inked with. These are the type of tattoos that go beyond just commemorating a place, a song, the Taylor Swift Eras Tour, or a love for pizza; these are the tattoos that show a deep commitment to a bond that's shared with someone else. A permanent bond in ink just under the skin, to be exact.

"Couples tattoos are best when they have actual artistic value and a reason to be kept in the event the relationship doesn't work out," Brittny Abad, tattoo artist at Rosewater Custom Tattooing in Portland, Oregon tells Huffington Post. "I always recommend that people avoid names at all costs because names are so difficult to work around. That being said, I've met more people who are actually perfectly happy keeping their couples' tattoos after a breakup than people who want cover-ups."

Whether you're getting a matching tattoo with your partner, your best friend, or a close family member, you want to make the right choice. Sure, you can have it covered later in life or you can even have it removed (although the remnants will always be slightly there), but that's no way to look at getting a tattoo. Do yourself a favor and be wise about the why and what of the tattoo, then go from there.

Talk about why

First and foremost, ask each other why you want to get matching tattoos. Is it because you both just ran the Boston Marathon and want to ink your pride on your skin? Is it because you're siblings and having the same blood isn't enough? Or is it because you and your partner truly believe you'll be together forever? It's important to consider what getting the matching tattoos mean to each of you and if the reason for it is enough to go permanent. Friendship bracelets exist for a reason, after all. 

"As a life coach, I would ask any client of mine to examine the personal meaning and/or implications of partnering with someone else to enact a very permanent form of self-representation," life coach and CEO of JRNI Coaching Noelle Cordeaux tells Elite Daily. "I do not think that the length of time that a couple has been in a relationship matters when a couple decides to get matching tattoos; rather it is the meaning and intent behind the decision that is important."

For example, you wouldn't get a matching tattoo with someone you just met in the bathroom, even if they did give you their last tampon. You want there to be some meaning behind the decision and the tattoo you two choose to get. Even if you do regret it and decide to have it covered up or removed, the memory of getting the tattoo together can't be erased.

Opt for small and discreet

As much as you may want to show off your matching tattoos, you also want to be reasonable — especially if this is a first tattoo for one or the both of you. A huge, bold tattoo in the center of your forearm may end up being regrettable even if the relationship or friendship never comes to an end. Instead, decide on something small and unique that will go somewhere that can be easily covered or isn't something that people will see right away. Although your bond with each other may be big and deep, it doesn't mean your tattoo has to be that way too. 

"There are places on the body that are great not only for first timers trying to tone down the glaring evidence of body modification, but for couples making their mark on each other's skin," Justine Morrow, a curator for Tattoodo says. "Spots like the ribs, ankle, hips, even the side of your foot; these can all be spaces that you may not immediately think of, but can work perfect for your piece."

While a great tattoo is definitely something no one wants to keep hidden all the time, if you choose the right spot then you can also choose if and when you want to show off. Also, a fun fact about tattoos is that if they're not very visible, you don't have to spend the rest of your life explaining the meaning of them to strangers. 

Listen to your tattoo artist

Even if you already have a bunch of tattoos, you still want to listen to what your tattoo artist has to say about the tattoo you're getting. The artist isn't there to talk you out of getting matching tattoos, but they are there to explain why size and placement matter, especially if you're planning to get a small and/or fine-line tattoo. "One of the biggest mistakes people make when getting small tattoos is getting them too small," celebrity tattoo artist Jesse Smith tells Insider. "You can expect the lines to double, triple, and sometimes quadruple in width over time, so it's best to keep that in mind when choosing a design."

Also, if you and your partner or friend have designed a tattoo that you want to get, be open-minded to the changes in the size and shape that the artist recommends. Because ink bleeds with time and certain areas of the body have a tendency to wrinkle or stretch more than others, the artist's two cents on a design you have in mind is going to matter. They're the expert and they've seen their fair share of beautiful tattoos and tattoos that have gone terribly wrong.

Consider non-identical designs

Instead of getting identical tattoos, you may want to get tattoos that match, like puzzle pieces, but aren't exactly the same. There are two reasons for this. For starters, you and your partner or friend are individuals with your own personalities. Another reason is because even identical tattoos might not end up being identical after they're done. 

"One of them might have a great experience and the healing works out well; the other one might be the opposite," tattoo artist Brandon Kemp tells Well + Good. "And now you've got a couple who's disgruntled because one person has a really good looking tattoo, while the other one doesn't. That's just the nature of it. Everybody's skin is different." The pigment of the skin also plays a big role in how a tattoo will look after it's healed. 

Matching tattoos can be a really romantic (and permanent!) way to show someone how much you love and care for them. But there are some things to consider before putting the idea into motion. You should absolutely consider all those things so you don't end up with a tattoo that, later in life, makes you wince every time you look at it.