Difficult conversations I’ve overheard while at the gym 


I don’t know what it was about this week, but it was a rather long one. Obviously, it had the same number of days as all other weeks. Yet, this felt interminably long.  And while I have felt worn down by the week, apparently others have felt even worse. Or so I have overheard.


People nowadays feel free to air their problems in public for all to hear and see (yes see). Couples openly fight on Facebook. People hold business discussions while in the car, train or bus.  At one point, it used to be that gyms were a place of peace and quiet. Well, except for the grunts and the sounds of the barbells falling to the ground. Now, though, you hear people talking all the time at the gym. The voices are often onesided. Everyone is on their phone now while at the gym. And they will say whatever comes to mind and talk about very personal matters. At times, I flinch at what I overhear and try to blast my music to the max.


This past week, in particular, I overheard three different people talking about a cancer diagnosis.  Whoa! The conversations were so matter of fact that they were chilling in a way. I heard one person disclose to an apparent close other. I heard one person discuss treatment options with a doctor. I heard another discuss life plans with a friend. Are those conversations you want to have while running on a treadmill? I suppose, every moment counts mentality seeps in to the moment.
Is it wrong to feel it’s a cruel world in which people discuss illness and dying while at a gym with strangers? It seems so alien, cold and unnerving. I want to maybe hug the person but I’m not a hugger. So, I don’t. I do what everyone else does in the gym during such overheard conversations. I kept running.  Maybe that is the point of those type of out loud personal conversations in public spaces.  People may have those types of conversations so that they can vent and get a moment of sympathy and then just have everyone go  onabout their normal business. Often you don’t even see those people again. Well, not in my gym. I see the same people repeatedly. But you still have a moment of venting to an audience and being able to move on.


I myself have had weird conversations on the elliptical or treadmill. I have counseled staff. I have had conversations where we tried to get someone to agree to a particular deal. I may have even sounded like a paranoid executive at times while running up a sweat. That’s the trouble with answering the phone while working out. With all the adrenaline coursing through your body, who knows what you will say and how you will say it. That’s why I hate talking on the phone now. I rather stick with texting.

14 replies »

  1. Finally a fellow human who hates talking on the phone I loathe it lol. You know where else you hear crappy conversations? The hairdressers. So much gossip I walked out with a headache.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What is it about the gym? recently I heard the worst racism, spewed out in a too loud voice, in the gym. I went to the front desk and complained. How did that person know if I was a member of the group he was speaking of with such hatred.


  3. That’s one of the reasons I like to swim. All I hear is bubbles and my breathing and the splashing. There are older men that swim in the afternoon, they always like to stand and talk about their lives, and their illnesses as well. I just go underwater.

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  4. It’s become sort of the norm these days to hold intimate conversations anywhere. I overhear the most bizarre conversations waiting in line at Starbucks, using the office bathroom when people have conversations on their cell phones in the next stall, even when putting gas in my car. I suppose we live in such a “let it all hang out” society that most people don’t think about it, or care. I personally hate talking to human beings in general, so I prefer to have all my conversations like a normal person – via text message. 🙂


  5. Life goes on, and maybe these particular conversations offer proof positive(?) that no matter how hard you work to stay in shape and as healthy as possible, you still can’t prevent certain diseases. Like Tim McGraw sang, in light of that truth, maybe we should all just try to live like we were dying.


  6. OMGosh! That is my number one pet peeve at the gym…people having phone conversations while on the equipment. Although, a cancer conversation seems like something one might have in private, I’d say ALL conversations should be had in private. Sheesh! Okay…rant over lol

    Liked by 1 person

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