Confrontation is uncomfortable. It’s even more uncomfortable when it involves telling someone that you don’t like them. My theory is: avoid confrontation at all costs. If you are quick enough and have a stream-lined system, you can still enjoy your favourite places, like the gym, without running into or having to face the seemingly inevitable uncomfortable situation.
Hypothetically speaking, let’s say you unintentionally caught the eye of someone at your gym. How did this happen? This is your happy place! Your escape from the world! You just renewed your membership for another year and now you have to quit! No, you don’t. Okay, let’s call that Plan B.
I’m here to tell you, there’s a better way. I call it the “get in/get out” approach. At the gym (hypothetically speaking), there are some people looking to chat. Some might even go out of their way to find you and start up a conversation when you’re clearly trying you pretend you didn’t see them when you walked in.
Earphones provide a great “La, la, la, I can’t hear you. I’m listening to music/ I’m in the zone” kind of vibe. I recommend one of those handy arm straps so you can continue to work out without having to also hold your phone/Zune/music listening device of choice. You don’t actually like listening to music when you work out? Not a problem. Handy tip: listening to music and pretending to listen to music look pretty much exactly the same. Maybe bop your head a few times so it looks like you’re really jamming out.
Focus is also key. Keep your eyes from straying and accidentally catching said person’s eye who might then notice you looking at them and take it as you wanting to talk to them/be friends in real life/outside the gym (or wherever). When you’re on the treadmill, look at the screen or your phone. When you’re walking from the treadmill to your locker or weights, look at the ground. You can also try looking down at your phone and pretending that you’re checking an important message, but this takes a skilled individual with a keen sense of their surroundings. If done incorrectly, you could accidentally walk into said individual and your carefully thought out plan goes straight in the garbage.
If you’re as stealth as an anvil and you’re not willing to bite the financial bullet of Plan B, there’s always Plan C. Write a blog post about your current situation and hope that said individual happens upon it and realizes that you’re a nice person who just didn’t want to break his heart and/or crush his dreams. Hypothetically speaking, of course.