In the 1980's the gym was the ultimate pick up scene but I was still too young to experience this phenomenon. I always imagined a woman earnestly rocking a hot pink leotard, leg warmers and a sweat band a la Olivia Newton John's "Let's Get Physical" music video while swooning for a guy wearing a similar outfit over by the Nautilus machines.
Nowadays, I think wearing that fitness outfit let alone picking up a lover at the gym is the farthest thought on our minds when sweating it out. However, what about making friends with that cool seeming person in your yoga class? I think we've all wanted to figure out how to make fitness friends without seeming like a stalker.
I got inspired about all the new friend potential in my weekly fitness classes after learning the story about how one of my favorite new bands--ASTR--met. The electro R&B duo of Adam and Zoe met 3 years ago in a Manhattan yoga class, and when they realized they shared a similar musical and artistic sensibility they decided to start their band. Check out their Soundcloud page to hear their music. You can download their awesome cover of the Drake song Hold On We're Coming Home that I heard them perform in Brooklyn, NY in October!
So how do you make friends (and potential business or artistic collaborators) at the gym?
Here are 5 tips to friend cool people with style:
1. The Age Old Outfit Compliment: Of course you should be honest and not just fabricate any old compliment. Next think you know you are telling the girl you want to friend that you like some old ugly ratty t-shirt that she threw on because she hadn't done her laundry. Find something that you sincerely admire that she's wearing and say "hey, nice Nikes, did you get them recently?" This is an automatic conversation starter that lends itself to a totally comfortable and not awkward dialogue.
2. Become A Regular: You are more likely to feel comfortable talking to people in class if you're a regular. First of all you will have more common ground if you have been going to the class for a couple of months with some other people. Additionally, you will feel kind of awkward if you just randomly start talking to the person next to you if you've seen them a few times previously in class. Also, you probably have something in common with other regulars.
3. Inquire about the Instructor: If you do become a regular and notice the same people in your class every Wednesday night, that means that a) you obviously like that instructor and b) so do all the people around you. Another great way to make friends is to ask someone if and when the instructor teaches other classes. This could easily lead to a plan to attend a different class elsewhere with your new friend from class.
4. Friends Beget Friends: Sometimes when you have a friend by your side in class you automatically feel more at ease and outgoing. Of course, this could backfire if you bring that friend who wants to tell you about her latest guy drama during the 5 minute set up time before class. That's why you should bring another friend who is equally interested in making new friends in class.
5. Smile and Find Your Inner Confidence...and New Friends: I know, this one sounds corny and obvious...but try it. If you have happiness from within it's infectious and especially in a healthy fitness environment people are looking for other confident and positive people. You probably won't have to do much more than stand at your mat before you find someone chatting YOU up in class.
So these are my tips for friending people at the gym without seeming like a weird stalker. Hope they work for you! I'd love to hear your ideas for making friends as well. Can you leave them in the comments section? Thanks!