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Gym etiquette 8 December 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Life.
Tags: ,

I do not understand why so many people are rude in the gym. They often even avoid eye contact. I mean, I understand that you might be concentrating, and working hard, but a quick flash of a smile and an acknowledgement when I walk in, or, if I am already there, when you do, is not too much to ask for!

Exhibit one: the gym in my building is tiny. It is the size of a large bedroom, so having more than one person in there means that you are quite close to each other. There are two treadmills, a stepper, a stationary bike and a weights machine crammed into the tiny space.

One middle aged man whom I have seen in the gym on several occasions simply pretends I am not there at the same time. He does not look up, does not acknowledge my ‘hello’, and often just high tails it out of there soon after my arrival.

Exhibit two: I was on the only good treadmill in that same gym, when a young guy, maybe about my age, walks in. He walks in and does not make eye contact, no acknowledgement. I had set a goal for myself that day of 30 minutes, and was at perhaps 22 minutes when he came in.

He circles around himself a few times, clearly not sure what to do. He goes into the car park to do some shuttle runs. He comes back in, still no eye contact. He gets on the crappy treadmill next to mine, presses some buttons, but doesn’t start running. He finally grabs his gear and walks out again. Had he had the decency to look me in the eye, smile, and ask if I was going to be much longer, I would have happily told him he would get the good treadmill in less than 4 minutes. Instead, he chose to leave. How stupid is that?

Exhibit three: A friend of mine and I do a lot of training sessions together, to stay motivated. We arrived at the gym, and I decided to turn the TV on first. While looking for the music channel, a guy walks in. The lights had been on when we arrived, so I assumed that he was there first, but had just stepped out for a second. He makes no eye contact, walks straight through past us. I am obliged to step out of the way to let him pass, that is how small this room is.

While I am still changing the channel, asking my friend if she remembers what channel is the music channel, he pushes past again, walks up to the other TV, and puts on CNN. At this stage, I am still under the impression that he might have been there first, so I politely turn the sound off on our TV. My friend and I start discussing what work out we should do, when he comes past again, and says “What machine are you going on?”

Only at this stage do I realise he just arrived as well. No greeting, and quite brusque in his manner. I say to him that he is free to choose whatever he wants, we will go on whatever machine he doesn’t want. He chooses the stepper. He proceeds to put earphones in, listening to music, and watching the screen on the little TV (the one I had turned on, but without sound, whereas CNN is still blaring from the other TV). I go on the crappy treadmill, my friend on the good one. After ten minutes, she’s done, so I go over on the good one to finish my thirty minutes. When I have five minutes left, he’s finished his 30 minutes on the stepper. He throws me some dirty glances, before leaving in a huff. He clearly wanted to go on my treadmill, but did not bother to ask how much longer I was going to be. He left the other TV blaring, so we had to turn it off ourselves.

I don’t understand – what is going on? Why is there no courtesy extended on the gym floor?



1. lizeth - 8 December 2010

I thought just “oldies” like me observed this unfriendliness around us 😦 but I am afraid this fact is a global thing and probably a mix of degeneration and cultural traditions of human behaviour.
It is a pity that many people don’t realize that “acknowledging” another human being is an elixer of life.
Just don’t give up and continue to serve out this medicine. Love

2. Martin Strøm Nilsen - 8 December 2010

My expreience here in Poland is the opposite. Mind you, I don’t go to the gym that often, and I’ve only been to one of them in this country, but it was the most friendly experience I’ve had in Poland. At least concerning Polish strangers.

When greeting the owner with “dzien dobry” (formal greeting) he gave me a wide smile, took my hand and replied with “nie, nie, nie, CZESC!” (informal greeting). Everyone are equal, everyone are friends, everyone greets eachother at that gym.

The general public not so much.

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