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In which my gym becomes a whole new world of "ORLY?" - Tactical Ninja

Dec. 6th, 2012

10:33 am - In which my gym becomes a whole new world of "ORLY?"

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Yesterday DoomBoy added another 5kg to the bar. It feels kind of symbolic - I go down 5kg, the bar goes up 5kg. I don't know how much that adds up to now, but it nailed my arse. And my triceps. And my back. My arms, they are noodly.

In other health-related news, last night I got myself back on track by making vegetarian bean moussaka. With extra green beans on top. Because beans. It was yummy and surprisingly filling and I will definitely make that again. Then we noshed a bunch of strawberries dipped in yoghurt (which was way messier than anticipated) and totally didn't eat any more ice cream.


So my manager's partner goes to the same gym I do. Apparently my gym had a Christmas party the other day, and today I was regaled with the observation that at the party, the same people who clique at the gym stayed in their cliques at the party. This included the Frosty Faces (apparently a group of women who give everyone else the evils) and Jim Boone (who looks like Jim Morrison but dresses like Daniel Boone). And all the gym staff hung out together, so it was actually less friendly than being at the gym, without the social relief of having something to do.

Awkward.

However, the idea that there are cliques of people at a gym, and that other people notice them, is foreign to me. I was a bit gobsmacked actually. You mean, people at the gym are looking at other people? And judging them? Shit! What if they are doing that to me? I mean, when I go to the gym I'm not entirely oblivious, and there are people who I recognise and do the eyebrow thing with because I see them all the time - but mostly I'm focused on not throwing up, or remembering what I'm supposed to do next, or convincing myself that I actually can run up that hill, and I just don't notice other folks all that much.

Thus, I'm probably a Frosty Face. Because I know my concentratey-face isn't welcoming, and I'm not big on eye contact, and I tend to ignore people around me (mostly because I don't want to stare at folks doing something that I consider to be quite intimate).

And I just know that now, when I go to the gym I'm going to be looking around to see if I can identify these cliques, because I had no bloody idea that there's a whole social thing going on there that I had no clue about. Mostly I use the women's gym because it's usually less crowded and easier to get on the gear, so maybe that's why I've remained ignorant of this.

Speaking of Christmas parties, I'm not going to my work one either. Call me an antisocial fuckface. A friend of mine wrote yesterday about socialising with people you don't share values with and how to make decisions about friendships, including musing about where the line is between being discriminating and being discriminatory. And I wonder if my lack of interest in socialising with my colleagues is one of these. But on reflection, I spend a lot of time with these people already, and we get along well enough so that these interactions aren't just work - we talk about life stuff at work and know each other pretty well. And I'm completely happy with those relationships at that level - I've no desire to make them more intimate or try them in a different setting.

And to be completely honest, the 'social party' setting is one I really struggle with anyway. It feels very fake, like the gym party up there. What we at the gym have in common is that we work out - take away that commonality and you have a bunch of people standing around feeling awkward. And while some people are very good at lubricating that awkwardness into something else, that is a talent I lack. And unlike 90% of adults, I can't fake it with alcohol. I would much prefer to go and do something together than just mingle and make conversation. I can enjoy work social functions, but they aren't my first choice of ways to spend time with my colleagues. So in some ways, I am faking it at those things. Is it just me, or do some people actually look forward to the opportunity to get to know their colleagues in a different setting? And if so, how much does alcohol have to do with that?

I don't really enjoy house parties either - those ones where 30 people go to a house and hang out with music and food and booze.

And if you're now going "Yep, you're an antisocial fuckface", maybe you're right. But there are social gatherings I do enjoy. I like ones with a purpose, where people get together to do a thing. It could be anything from getting firewood out of a gully to playing laserforce or rock climbing or doing one of those silly treasure hunts through a city, but the purpose makes it much easier for me to be social. I also like small intimate gatherings where there's conversation you can hear and that everyone can participate in, rather than a number of groups of 4-6 standing in circles having conversations that you have to bust into if you don't want to be left standing by yourself. I really like dance parties where you can be with people without verbal interaction at all, and have fun conversations in the toilet queue.

But boozy house parties, networking parties, and work socials? Just not me. I have to make myself do them, and I choose not to hang out with people who see these as their main form of social interaction. Is there something wrong with me?


Huh. I guess that was on my mind.

*shrug*

Comments:

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From:pombagira
Date:December 5th, 2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
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i like afternoon Tea Parties with not lound music and more interesting talking on a variety of topics and cups of tea and cake.. so not so much a house party as such. i am not fond of alchole aspect of many parties..

also i am not so fond of staff parties or friday drinks..i don't alwasy want to hang out with the people i work with.. mostly because they are not my people.

so i don't reccon that you are anti social, more that your socialility (look i made up a new word maybe?) has a different face and a different focus to that, which is 'traditionally' accepted, so to speak. which in and of itself is not a bad thing. i believe it is a good thing, because it gives other permission? and understanding that what they think and believe is ok, with regards to not wanting to hang out with work people unless they want to. and sometimes that is the first step in changing the 'traditional' rules and mindset... *grins*

and i believe you will find that there are more people out there who are of a similar view, especially amongst our friends.

*Ponders things*

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From:tatjna
Date:December 5th, 2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
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Thing is, I'm not sure that's entirely the case. I think there are actually people out there who get a lot from this sort of thing, and that some of them are 'my' sort of people.

I find it hard to make friends but when I do make friends they tend to be very good ones. I have a lot of passing acquaintances, a few very good friends, and not a lot in the middle.

Often when new people come into my life, it's through other people, right? They meet someone, you get introduced, yadda yadda. And the people who bring in the new people, are generally those who do enjoy that sort of socialising, where they go out of their way to get to know people who I might not try to talk to.

So I ask myself, am I missing out on opportunities to meet and discover new friends through avoiding social situations that I personally find hard?
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From:goddessofchaos
Date:December 5th, 2012 09:59 pm (UTC)
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I am, quite openly, an antisocial fuckface :D And proud of it! But yeah, I'm much happier going and actually doing stuff with people rather than just standing around "socialising". What even is that? Most party-type events seem to consist of people having the same mind-numbing conversations about nothing in particular over and over again, until I want to scream.

I remember the previous office I worked for held a cocktail party for clients a few weeks before Christmas. After the tenth person opened the conversation with "So, are you all ready for Christmas?", I was on the verge of up-ending a table of canapes and making a run for it.

Sadly, the Christmas party at my current office is compulsory. *sigh*
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From:tatjna
Date:December 5th, 2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
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I wonder about compulsory socialising. Why do they do that?
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From:ms_hecubus
Date:December 5th, 2012 10:50 pm (UTC)
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My concentrating face isn't friendly either. People tend to think I'm angry when I'm thinking hard.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 5th, 2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
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"C'mon love, smile, it can't be that bad!"

*cough*
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From:rivet
Date:December 5th, 2012 11:24 pm (UTC)
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Ditto for me. I have a recurring (mis)communication pattern with my partner is which he'll espouse some idea, I'll scowl because I'm thinking about it, and he'll say 'I see you disapprove and hate this idea'. No, I'm considering it--just like every previous time we've done this.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 5th, 2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
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You pout when you're considering and I think it's adorable.

Which probably isn't the look you're going for either.
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From:laughingmagpie
Date:December 5th, 2012 10:53 pm (UTC)
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I am equally gobsmacked by the idea of cliques at the gym. An anxious introvert, this revelation has totally upped the anxiety quotient for me at gym too.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 5th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
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I think we should pre-emptively form a clique called Grumpy Old Farts, and wear our concentratey faces confidently in the knowledge that somewhere in the world, someone else in our clique looks just as unfriendly as we do but is actually nice.
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From:laughingmagpie
Date:December 7th, 2012 09:06 pm (UTC)
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I love this idea.
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From:thesecondcircle
Date:December 5th, 2012 11:00 pm (UTC)
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My policy is that if my work is paying for food, I will go and eat some of it. That is to say that attending work functions is a career building move that I choose to do. Sometimes they are fun and sometimes they aren't, but that's not really the point of it. I can usually find some area of commonality to speak with people about that's not uninteresting but also on the order of small-talk. Food is a great topic for me. I can happily chat about recipes, farmers markets, wine and cheese, great restaurants for hours without touching on any topic that would be inappropriate (religion / politics) or confusing (esoterics / memetics / comparative mythology). I also appreciate the aesthetics of dressing up without needing to take it too seriously.

Personally I like deep conversations and smaller gatherings.
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From:tatjna
Date:December 5th, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
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My work policy seems to be that they'll pay for my food but if I want to bring my partner, we have to pay for that.

Which is weird if it's supposed to be about getting to know each other better, you'd think making partners more welcome would be a priority. But I guess, tight times and all.. I hear some workplaces don't even give the option of bringing a partner.
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From:t_c_da
Date:December 5th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
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My workplace has the (supposedly) mandatory end of year customer function which is to me a total bore, given I have minimal to no customer facing functions, so I duck it almost every year.

However they also have a dinner each year with the company owner for those staff with 10 years or more service to which partners are also (close to mandatorily) invited. I'm a relative newbie in this group at 18+ years service, but there are only about 18 people at the dinner so it's not impossible to find something to talk about, even if it's only past hiccups and hilarity in the company life. The owners husband (who co-founded the company) was a work hard/party hard guy, so there's no shortage of anecdotes to keep the conversation rolling. Beyond that I have nothing in common with any one of my co-workers.
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From:thesecondcircle
Date:December 6th, 2012 03:22 am (UTC)
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Ick, now that I wouldn't like either. While I always attend corporate sponsored stuff I expect that after hours things should include partners.
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From:caycos
Date:December 6th, 2012 12:05 am (UTC)
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You're almost definitely not a part of any clique at the gym, particularly if you don't notice them. Cliques are almost by definition made up of people who jointly work together to look down on the others around them. When I used to go to the gym, there were people who would 'hang out' at the gym. There is a whole different set of people who go there to do their stuff and leave. And never the twain shall meet!

And, last Saturday night we had our work Christmas function, which was dinner out at a nice restaurant. Attendance was not compulsory, and neither were partners, but both were encouraged if circumstances allowed. So almost everyone went, those who had partners brought them along, and everyone had a good night. Some people drank (not particularly excessively) and some didn't, but we tend to be a bunch of people with enough shared background that we all get along quite well. Even my normally quiet partner had some good conversations - he's the kind of person who opens up after he's known someone for a while, and he happened to be sitting opposite my boss who he's known for some years now.

There was some alcohol lubrication, but that wasn't the point of the outing, and it was a nice night out :) I think it helped that work was paying for the dinner, but it also helps that generally speaking, we all have relatively similar (geekyish) backgrounds, and we're mostly customer-facing, so we're the kinds of people who can just start talking..

Slightly less looking forward to our customer Christmas function next week - that'll be more of the 'standing around with a drink' thing, and I'm not so great at that. Although I'll be able to start by saying 'so, I'm leaving!' and see who I can shock the most ;)

Edited at 2012-12-06 12:05 am (UTC)
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From:tatjna
Date:December 6th, 2012 12:39 am (UTC)
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I like the sound of your work function! Ours isn't horrifically painful or anything and I do like my colleagues. When pressed we can usually find something to talk about as well. But this year it appears I'm just not up for it.

Meanwhile, hanging out at the gym? Whoah. Like, just lurking about and not doing exercise hanging out? I wonder what the attraction is.

(thinking here about my gym which is noisy and smelly and has Permanent Sweat Miasma)
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From:caycos
Date:December 6th, 2012 12:40 am (UTC)
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Well I think they notionally do exercise - but for example they might do a class and after just sit around and chat..
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From:tatjna
Date:December 6th, 2012 12:41 am (UTC)
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Ah, ok. That makes more sense. But still, I don't think I'll ever choose the gym for hanging out in.
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From:caycos
Date:December 6th, 2012 01:03 am (UTC)
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And that's why you're not part of a gym clique :)
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From:richdrich
Date:December 6th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC)
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Would be so much easier if cocaine was readily available. You can like anyone on coke. Everything you say is interesting on coke. Everything they say is interesting on coke. Even going to the bathroom is interesting on coke.

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From:meathiel
Date:December 6th, 2012 06:31 am (UTC)
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Vegetarian bean moussaka sounds good ... :D
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From:tatjna
Date:December 9th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
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There is, but it's in a book. I will try to remember to look it up for you.
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From:fushia_darkness
Date:December 8th, 2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
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Social stuff IS hard! And OMG are there cliques of people at a gym one should try to interact with?! Then I'm a frosty face too, the thought hadn't even occurred to me to seek eye contact or try to socialise with people while working out. Tis sounds insane to me!
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