approaching introvertsDON’T

(joking, well, not really, but …)

I went to the gym this morning (yay, go me) to do my workout routine – cardio, weights, squats, abs – I sometimes go to classes but usually I want to get my workout done earlier than the class times. Sometimes I wear headphones and listen to music or a podcast but today I didn’t.

So, I was there, on the resistance machine thingies strengthening my muscles when one of the trainers, who I don’t know, came up and criticised my positioning.

Note : she may have been right, I may have my seat too low, I will check that next time

It wasn’t that she was wrong, or that I felt I knew better that made my hackles rise and my fur bristle (no I don’t have fur, that was just for effect) it was two things that she did that as an introvert I really, really have a problem with.

  1. she approached me when I was busy working out, interrupted me in my quiet time when I was concentrating
  2. she criticised me in public and directly

It was not that she was wrong, and I am sure her intentions were good, however her method was totally off-putting.

Here’s how I would have preferred and appreciated her advice being given.

Note : if I had been doing something that would have led to injury then she should have totally done what she did

Instead of interrupting my concentration for a small problem I would have been more receptive if she had approached me after my workout, while I was leaving and open to conversation, and done it in a space that wasn’t as noisy so she had to raise her voice. I would have also reacted better if instead of direct “don’t you think your seat is too low” she had led into the criticism with “I saw you working out on XYZ machine earlier and couldn’t help wondering if you’d get more targeted results if you raised your seat a little”.

[Tweet “It’s all about the approach and the words.”]

Yes it’s her job to help people in the gym, yes she was probably right, yes I shouldn’t be so sensitive (it’s my prerogative though and I will if I want to 🙂 )

But if you want people to be receptive to your ideas, thoughts, and actions then you have to approach them in the right way to open up dialogue and minds. 

Her approach immediately shut down my receptiveness. I politely told her I was fine thank you very much rather than being open to the constructive criticism she was trying to give me.

So next time you approach anyone, online or in person, introvert or not (we don’t go around with signs on our foreheads), then please be aware how your words and actions could be construed and act accordingly.