We’re all for online dating as a way to meet a partner, but there are a few other hot spots you may want to consider. Pack your bags and to head to the gym.
These days it’s not unusual for someone to walk right into you on the street because they’re staring down at their smartphone instead of watching where they’re going. This is not just a sidewalk navigational problem, it’s emblematic of how disconnected we’ve become from the world around us. Ask people to describe their favorite app and you’ll likely get a long, detailed response. Ask them to describe that 200 year old elm tree in front of their building and you’ll likely get a blank stare because they’ve never paid any attention to it.
Connecting in a Disconnected World
The rise of the digital realm has been a tremendous boon to long-distance communication and the political and economic empowerment of people around the globe. Ironically, what it hasn’t been so good for is facilitating communication with those in our immediate vicinity.
I was recently riding on the elevated subway on my way to see a friend. As I looked around the crowded train I noticed that I was one of only two people who were not staring down into or talking on their phone. The other person noticed this too and gave me a flash of her eyebrows, a wry smile and an almost imperceptible shake of her head as if to say “Do you believe it?” (And yes we did talk for a few minutes on the platform afterward and we did exchange *gulp* phone numbers.)
Something’s Gained but Something’s Lost
All this emphasis on the world of the smartphone screen has pretty effectively killed off the art of flirting. That’s a shame because in flirting we create tiny worlds of the imagination where anything is possible and where life’s cares, responsibilities, and problems have no sway.
Flirting is where our ideal self meets that of the other person and where, without words or physical contact, we sometimes have micro-relationships that linger in our memories for a lifetime. Most relationships, in fact, start with some degree of flirting; but in order for flirting to exist, someone has to be on the other end flirting back… and finding that person today is not easy (in spite of my subway experience).
The Fitness Class to the Rescue?
Given people’s affinity for all things virtual today, the fitness class is often one of the few places where people will put away the phone (or at least attach it to their belt and plug in a headset) and look at the world around them. The world where you just happen to be in all your amazing glory.
Which brings us to the next hurdle: turning (wanted) attention into real-world interaction.
Dos & Don’ts of Meeting Someone at the Gym
Make no mistake, there are some definite “dos” and “don’ts” you need to be mindful of when it comes to approaching someone during fitness class or a workout in the box. These dos and don’ts will not only impact the outcome of your interaction, but ensure you don’t get a reputation around the facility for being “on the make.”
Keep these in mind and you may just wind up opening the door to a new chapter in your life.
- Do: Be Patient
‘Outgoing’ and ‘aggressive’ may share some surface characteristics but they’re two entirely different things. You want to be the former and avoid the latter like the plague. Say “hello” and lead with a smile, but be mindful that even if someone finds you interesting, they may be so focused on their CrossFit WOD that they’re simply unable to engage in chit chat. So unless they’ve called for security, just relax. You’ve broken the ice and made a good first impression. Now make a good second impression and show that you know the value of patience. Believe it or not people notice such things.
- Don’t: Creep-Out
Not that I’m Adonis or anything, but even I’ve been the recipient of unwanted attention at the gym. And so, I speak the truth when I say that few things are as unsettling as hitting the ground after a grueling series of pull ups to see someone lurking in the middle distance staring at you like you’re a rotisserie chicken and they haven’t eaten in a month. Strive to be normal when showing interest in others. Drop the occasional glance, sure. Say “hello” if you find yourself in the person’s presence, sure. But save the stares for when your 10-year old nephew tells you he’s “accidentally” let the air out of all your tires.
- Do: Let It Go
If you’ve made your intentions known through a few flirty glances and a friendly “hello” and yet you don’t seem to be getting the desired response, let it go. Even if your first hello was met with a big smile, the person may have just been acting friendly. If the next time you find yourself in their company they make a beeline for the door with their head down, it’s not a sign that they want you to pursue. Just chalk it up to experience and let it go. Everyone will be better off.
- Don’t: Get Clingy
If the apple of your eye makes it known they think you’re “kinda neat,” don’t take that as an excuse to get clingy. Take your time. One hello and a smile or two in passing is not a green light for calling the wedding planner. Life is not an event, it’s a process, and so is any relationship worth its salt. Keep your expectations in check and go with the flow and remember: the real joy is in the journey.
The fact that you’re reading this on MeetMindful indicates you’re a thoughtful person seeking fulfillment through healthy lifestyle choices. So you likely already know the chance of meeting someone during a fitness class is much greater if you don’t arrive at each session expecting love.
Maybe something will happen, maybe it won’t. But trying to force the issue is a pretty sure way to have your hopes dashed and perhaps become persona non grata at the gym in the process.
About the Author
After leaving the military, Jake Watkins became a writer and blogger. He contributes fitness articles to Garage Gym Builder as well as a range of other community blogs. In his spare time, Jake enjoys hiking in the hills with his dog Gunner.