The fitness trend has taken off in America as more people are joining gyms around the country than ever before. A recent report claimed that almost 50 million Americans are members of 37,000 U.S. fitness centers which means that gyms are getting crowded with sweaty bodies where close proximity is often accompanied by temptation to initiate conversations. But, is speaking to a stranger a wise thing to do in the gym?
Hanging out in the gym, even before or after finishing the workout, is seemingly the cool thing to do nowadays, but just because fitness centers are getting more popular by the day, doesn’t mean that they should be considered a place for social gathering where one can look for a new friend.
In a perfect world, picking up strangers or trying to initiate a conversation with them in the gym may not be looked down upon, but we live in a society which has certain rules that must be adhered to if you want to retain some level of decency in the gym.
Is Talking to People in the Gym Okay?
Religious gym-goers will probably agree that its not cool to talk to people while they’re trying to work out. If you’re in a yoga or aerobics class where the instructor encourages you to socialize with other members, then it is probably considered acceptable to make small talk, but, if you’re in the weights section and you’re tempted to have a conversation with a person while they’re in the middle of a heavy set or have headphones on as a clear indication that they don’t want to be disturbed, you’re probably being offensive.
Many people come to the gym to get away from their own stressful lives, while others simply want to finish their workout and head to the nearest Taco Bell instead of engaging in conversations with strangers. People in the gym pay exorbitant membership fees to achieve their fitness goal, not to waste their precious time talking to others – neither should you.
Asking for Help in the Gym
Of course you’re allowed to keep the conversation at a utilitarian level, for example, if you want to use a certain equipment but aren’t sure if the person standing close by is using it, you can always ask, “Hey, are you still using that?” Or if the television is on and your favorite baseball team seems to be winning, it’s totally okay to let out a cheer and high five the person standing next to you.
If you’re not sure how to use a certain equipment in the gym, it is completely acceptable to talk to someone else who looks like they may know how the equipment works. Most people in the gym, who are passionate about fitness, will be happy to assist anyone who seeks out their help.
Of course, there is a point where this stops being true. For example, it may be okay to ask a person who looks fit for help using an equipment but if you’re trying to initiate a conversation with someone who looks like they haven’t been in the gym for more than two hours in their life, asking for fitness-related advice may not be a smart thing to do.
So, What’s the Bottomline?
This isn’t, by any means, to discourage you from making friends in the gym, but if you’re trying really hard to talk to someone who doesn’t seem interested in the conversation and simply wants to get back to their workout, you may come off as too thirsty.
If you continue to go to the same gym, you may eventually develop a natural relationship with other people whom you often see while working out. Sometimes, people just hit it off in the gym and find something common to talk about, but those instances are rare.
So, does that mean that you should simply put on your headphones and isolate yourself from the rest of the world? There’s no need to overarch the no-talking rule since gyms are public places after all and you can’t shut the world out completely and pretend no one exists while you work out. Try to be considerate of others around you, clean up after yourself and learn to share equipment in a busy gym.