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To flirt or not to flirt … at the gym

THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of flirting with a woman at the gym is ascertaining whether or not to even try. While some women might be up for a little flirting, most others just want to be left alone. In fact, trying just once (and failing) could ruin you from any further advancement. Imagine you see the same girl at a crowded bar some nights later. You approach her, and the only response is “Oh yeah, I remember you. You’re that guy who hit on me at the gym.” Followed by the cold shoulder.

But hey, you might live in a big city. Perhaps the gym is the only place you have a realistic shot of even seeing her. Maybe you have to act right away. If you’re going through with it, there are definite protocols to follow. These three tips will fall mostly in the do-not-do category:

1. Do not approach her in the middle of an exercise: Talking to a woman while she’s having a light jog on the treadmill is one thing, but if she’s using a resistance machine or free weights it would be crash-and-burn city should you make your move in the middle of her lat-pulldown.

2. If she’s wearing headphones or earbuds, don’t start with verbal communication:
There’s nothing more annoying that someone trying to talk to you when it’s plain to see you’re listening to music. Try this method, and you’re likely to get either a chilly point to her ears or (even if she does bother to take them off) a short “what?” followed by immediately dismissing your comment. Instead, try alternative communication. A playful look, a smile or even a wave. Any of those, and she won’t be left wondering “What the hell did he just say?”

3. Don’t start by offering help: That’s a surefire way to either make her feel insecure or patronized. Sure, she may be a little confused and overwhelmed by the gym, and telling her she’s doing something wrong will only make her feel worse. There’s an equal chance she knows exactly what she’s doing, and you offering up an unsolicited tip might just piss her off. If it’s obvious she needs help, and you’ve successfully made “first contact,” wait until she asks for it.

Now, you know what not to do. You’re standing there. She’s there, what’s next? Your best bet is to find that perfect blend of caution and confidence. Also, take with you these tips from actual gym-going women:

“… I think the best way to test the waters is ask her a simple question (the time, how to use a machine, etc.),” one woman said on a popular question-and-answer Web site. “At the same time, please be respectful of her — I for one wish I was invisible at the gym and don’t really like to be bothered. However, I don’t mind if someone has an honest question. So I would say, go ahead and ask a neutral, non-pushy question.”

“I go to the gym almost every day … but I’m really not there to flirt and what not,” another wrote. “I guess you just have to be friendly and make yourself noticed. Don’t be over the top, but the first step you can take is getting the girl’s attention. If she’s interested she will find a way to let you know, even (in) that situation.”

Of course, some interactions are just doomed from the start, especially if you’re approaching the woman who wrote, “No girl is trying to get picked up at the gym.”

It comes right down to deciding whether or not to act. If you do, keep it simple. When asked about this topic, one woman said the absolute best pick-up line is a simple, “Hi.”

Photo credit: Flickr photo / Jessica Quinn, Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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