Sunday, March 27, 2011

Three Steps to Stopping Suzie Social

by Kris Pitcher

This is a difficult issue to talk about. The gym is a very social place, some more than others. True, certain gyms have a specific vibe. Some are known for being the singles hang-out, others are flush with families. Those things help us decide which gym is right for us. Even so, when you're in the zone sometimes you just want to do your own thing.

So, what do you do when you only have a certain amount of time to get your workout done and you run into Suzie Social, or Chatty Chad? Like I said, it's difficult. You don't want to be rude. And some people just aren't aware of their tendency to monopolize your time.

Here is a three step approach to help you end a conversation...that's going nowhere r-e-a-l s-l-o-w. First, smile and acknowledge the chatter. "Hey, Cathy thanks for stopping to talk."

Next, place a hand on their shoulder or elbow, "I don't mean to cut you short, but I'm going to let you get back to your workout. I've got to get going myself, but I'll see you next time."

Finally, as you begin to walk away, "Have a great workout Cathy. Take care."

Don't be afraid to take the three step approach to take back your time. Then get on with it. I know women who leave their headphones in even though they're not listening to anything. Others adopt a "no eye contact" rule. Those things work to a certain extent, but you've also got to be able to talk your way out of a chatty situation.

We go to a very social gym and love that about it. The atmosphere is great, the energy and people are great and we are hardly ever in a big hurry. Surprisingly people rarely come up to us mid-workout and intrude with questions. There's lots of conversation back and forth, but every one's in their workout groove. So, there's an ebb and flow. Everyone "gets it".

What makes the three step approach successful is you are voicing what you need in an assertive way. You are taking control of the chatter by physically touching them, and you're smiling letting them know everything's good. It works. Chat at ya later! I've got to get back to it!

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