Manners Matter: No Time to Chat at the Gym


Dear Mary Pat,

I just joined a local gym and although my time there is limited, it is still very precious to me. How do I let other gym-goers know that I don’t have time to chat? I’ve tried keeping my ear buds in but find that some people will stand there and wait for me to remove them so we can have a conversation. I don’t want to be rude but I also don’t want to compromise my workout time.

New Gym Rat

Fish Creek, Wis.


Dear New Gym Rat,

Congrats on getting to the gym. Schedules seem to be tight for everyone especially during the season. It is OK to set limits with friends, and most especially with acquaintances. One of the most common reasons that people don’t make it to the gym is lack of time (the second reason is sitting on a couch with a carton of Ben and Jerry’s, but we will save that for another column). Taking care of your health ranks higher than making chitchat, so you are going to have to be firm. If you say something like, “Hey, Joe (Jane, Jake, Josie, etc.) I would love to talk but I just don’t have the time right now. I only have 30 minutes to work out, then I’ve got to head to work, school, etc.” Most people are reasonable and will understand that.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

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