My obvious question is: How can I tell if a woman is possibly interested in me or just being nice? I don’t want to ask a woman out and make it an uncomfortable setting if I see her again, or for the gym. I try to go to the gym five days a week.
My dating history is pretty much nothing. I had a girlfriend in high school; we were together for about 10 years then she found someone else, and, truthfully, we are both better off for it. That was about 15 years ago or more, and I don’t really get out to meet new people. I’ve tried a few singles things but nothing ever came from them.
WORKING IT OUT
My thought about gym crushes, in general, is that you probably need to have a lot of friendly conversation with someone before you consider more. If a woman talks to you — initiates — and is open to extending the conversation (beyond a simple compliment), you can ask about non-gym topics (like where she might exercise outside, the weather, what she’s listening to while working out, etc.). If she’s into that conversation and initiates yet again, think about what you would do to make a new friend. Then take those steps.
I would err on the side of caution and keep things simple and platonic until you get some pretty clear signals that a person wants to know you outside of the building.
If there are group classes at your gym, think about signing up. Sometimes that’s a great way to have organic interaction with a lot of people.
I know it’s possible to meet someone at the gym, but try to think about other places where you can go to find a new audience. Right now your gym experience is a lot like working in an office. It’s part of your routine five days a week, and you need it to remain a safe space. It’s a dicey place for romance. Exercise is a huge part of your life, but you have other interests. Maybe books? Movies? Recreational sports?
It sounds like you’re in a better place to try singles events and activities, in general. You have a different mind-set about dating — and yourself. Try more things.
Hitting on someone at your gym is like doing so at work — if the interest is not reciprocated, all of a sudden going there becomes less comfortable. I’d push friendly, outside topics like Mere said — and make sure to include what she did over the holidays/weekend. If she has a significant other, she *should* mention that she spent time with him/her. If none is mentioned, then sure, ask her out.
Maybe sharpen your skills with some online dating. If you want to try the gym market then maybe just mention you are doing X (going out for a protein smoothie or a hike or whatever gym people do) and see if the friendly woman wants to join you. At least then the conversation will move outside of the gym. If no then you know to keep your relationship centered on the gym.
Why is it awkward to be around someone who declined your offer for coffee? Just don’t be weird about it afterward and you’re fine.
In general, people need to not overcomplicate things. If you decide to ask one of them out, remember that you’re not asking her to marry you. There is nothing wrong with simply saying “Jenny, you seem really cool. Would you want to grab a drink sometime?” What makes it awkward is when you blurt out “I’ve been watching you from across the gym for months and those 30 seconds when you’re within 30 feet of me are the highlight of my day, unless it’s those days when I use the equipment right after you and find one of your beautiful, long, brown hairs on the monitor and can put it in my pocket to bring home and add to my collection” immediately before or after asking her for the date.
^Very good advice; lol.
Send your own relationship and dating questions to [email protected]. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.