In a recent Facebook post, a male acquaintance asked whether or not he should ask a cute girl out on a date. They both went to the same local gym where they worked out. He asked if:
- he should just jettison the idea because it was too invasive
- venture a smile and a hello
- or stride forward boldly, trying to snag her phone number.
In short, while there was no actual disagreement, the comments varied. Could it be confusing? At the end of it, I don’t think so. In fact, some very clear suggestions emerged. Most of it has to do with rapport. Is there rapport? Or not? Consider the following.
Jettison the idea
For those who said jettison the idea, they explained as follows: They (women) were going to the gym to focus on working out. In some cases, it was precious time to spend on self-care. In other cases, they wanted to simply focus on the workout, nothing else. They didn’t want to be interrupted by unwanted attention or need to fend off advances. These are also the women who make little to no eye contact. At the end of the day, it’s absolutely not personal if they’re not interested.
A smile and a hello.
What happens if you get a smile or a hello—or give a smile or hello? The following was mentioned:
First, don’t approach a woman who has headphones on. She’s in the groove of her workout and not open for connection. She has literally stopped up her ears and is connected elsewhere. She may have given some brief contact, but she’s also in her own world. If she chooses to reach out of this world, then let her do it. If she doesn’t, then don’t reach in. The ball’s in her court. Let her swing or not.
Make eye contact first. Is she sustaining eye contact? Looking away? If she’s looking away, that means she’s not open for connection. If she’s sustaining eye contact, she might be interested.
There’s sustained eye contact.
This is a great sign. If this happens, try the following:
Move forward and see if she is also interested in engaging verbally. Short responses indicate a lack of interest. If you begin to engage more, you could also check in verbally to make sure you’re not interrupting her workout. This plays out in your favor as it shows you’re interested in her experience and not just bulldozing ahead.
Helping or “helping” with workouts.
One way men can approach a woman who has engaged in sustained eye contact and is friendly is through the shared activity of working out. By that, I mean, chat about the workout itself. That said, consider the following: one woman mentioned she’s had men be incredibly helpful with her workouts, and another one had exactly the opposite. Along these lines, Don’t assume she doesn’t know what she’s doing. If you want to approach with help, just do that. If you want to approach with help and want to connect, consider the following:
Ask first if she’s open to suggestions about the exercise/activity she’s doing. If she’s receptive she’ll ask for more. After all, do you want unsolicited advice about your workout? If it prevents an injury, probably. If it comes from a know-it-all attitude, probably not.
Consider whether you’re connecting because you simply like sharing shoptalk or you want to connect with the possibility of getting a phone number or both. If the conversation seems to be rolling along with flirtation, then a phone number might be appropriate. If the conversation is purely focused on the workout, then asking for a phone number may or may not be appropriate.
Approach boldly, but honor a no.
Perhaps you’ve been chatting for a bit and working out side by side . . . you ask for a number and get a lukewarm response. Honor that. Consider asking with words like: If you were into it, it might be fun to workout together and then grab a bite to eat afterwards. What’s your take on that?
Further, some women on the Facebook thread did want a man to approach them. They said they found it flattering and delightful. However, they also wanted men to honor any sort of no around getting a phone number, asking for a date, or offering unsolicited workout advice.
See if there’s a connection before approaching, especially at the gym. No eye contact, no smile, and headphones indicate her attention is likely elsewhere. Honor that. A reciprocated smile and eye contact means there might be possibility for connection. Short responses to offers for connection or advice mean she’s not interested. Lastly, if this is someone you’ve seen at the gym multiple times, also take note about whether or not she’s been approached multiple times. If so, you might consider not being that guy. The gym might be a great place to meet potential playmates and partners, but then again, it might just be the place for a woman to get her workout on.