I’m just going to ask you a blunt question, okay? Here it goes.
How often do you have to spend time in the gym with people you don’t like?
Think about the times, present or past, when you have to be around somebody you basically can’t stand. This might be somebody you have to train with as an athlete, somebody you coach, or maybe somebody you have to work with in some other way. Whatever the situation, this person bugs the hell out of you. I hate to bring this up because I know it’s a little on the negative side, but we all know it’s a fact of life. We might as well talk about it.
We know that there are all kinds of wacky personalities out there. And I can tell you from experience that almost every single one of them will pass through the world of weightlifting at some point. After you’ve been around for a long time, you sometimes feel the urge to put people in categories based on how they act. There are these little labels that people almost beg you to put on them. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about. Try to think if you know anybody who fits these descriptions.
Control-Freak Christy- This is the walking migraine that has to have everything her way. She basically wants to have the whole gym operate around her wishes…the music that plays, who trains on which platform, what kind of language people use, etc. She needs people to go along with her demands and she has a borderline panic attack if they don’t.
Better-Than-You Bill- He’s the horse’s a** that knows absolutely everything about any topic that comes up in conversation, especially weightlifting. He’s an expert on politics, snatch technique, the educational system, drywall, marriage, whatever. Bill doesn’t have conversations with people. He lectures them.
Horny Henry- This guy looks at all the girls in the gym like they’re a plate of hot wings. He flirts constantly, and he’s probably pretty bad at it. Don’t be surprised if Henry drives a Camaro and owns many gold chains. His favorite show is Jersey Shore.
Pathetic Patty- Patty doesn’t really do anything to bother anybody. She’s just irritating because of how lame she is. She trains like crap, shows no intensity or personality, and mopes around the gym looking like one of those abandoned puppies on the adopt-a-pet commercials. When the team goes out to dinner, everybody hopes they don’t get stuck sitting next to Patty.
Probably-Gonna-Shoot-Somebody-Someday Patrick- Nothing complicated about Patrick. He’s just a psycho. Guys like him are the whole reason girls buy pepper spray. He drives a van.
**Feel free to add your own categories if you can think of any.
Now, I firmly believe most of the folks you meet in weightlifting will be friendly, sane, enthusiastic, and easy to get along with. That’s been my experience. But we just can’t ignore the fact that there are some people you find it hard to be around. However, these people present you with an interesting dilemma.
You have to get in the gym and get your job done regardless of the personalities that surround you. First of all, you have to ask yourself a question. Are you sure they’re the ones with the problem? Think about that for a second. Are their personality quirks really that horrible, or do you just have a complete lack of tolerance for people who are a little different than you? I don’t know any particular circumstances regarding people you train with; I’m just mentioning this as a possibility. The reason I suggest it is that I know for a fact there are a few people I’ve trained with that I was too hard on. I wanted to shoot a potato gun at them because they got on my nerves so hard. But when I look back at it now, I realize that they were just human beings with some slightly odd habits, exactly like me.
It probably wouldn’t hurt any of us to relax a little and give others a break, and I’m including myself in that. Most of us train better when we’re in a good mood, right? I know I do. It’s hard to lift successfully if you’re irritated. Maybe there’s a chance to reduce some of that irritation by considering the possibility that people might not always be as awful as we make them out to be. I mean seriously, how bad can they be if they like lifting weights?
I’m not trying to preach a sermon to you. Just tossing a thought out there. Take it or leave it.