DEAR ABBY: I am wondering what the rule is for socializing at the gym. I work out twice a week with a friend, and we usually do part of our workout on the treadmill.
While we walk, we will chat. We don’t talk loudly, and we never use offensive language. It’s just general chit-chat about kids, work, etc.
Twice, one woman (the same woman) has ordered us to stop talking because we “bother” her. She wears headphones while she watches TV, but she says she can still hear us.
Abby, when I wear headphones (even on a very low volume), it tunes out almost everything. By her strong reaction, I am assuming this woman is unusually sensitive to noise, but this is a gym, not a library. We never monopolize the machines.
I don’t think I have ever been called rude in any other situation, and I always try to be pleasant and accommodating, so I would appreciate your thoughts. — CHERYL IN HOUSTON
DEAR CHERYL: I do have a few. When people work out at a shared facility, they have to expect there will be other people there. Treadmills make noise, and sometimes it’s necessary to speak in a louder than normal voice in order to be heard.
If the woman complains again, suggest she move to a treadmill farther away or increase the volume on her headphones so your conversation won’t disturb her. However, if that doesn’t satisfy her, mention that she might be happier if she worked out at a different time when the place isn’t as full.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend died unexpectedly a few months ago, and it has been a struggle to get through my sadness. We had been through a lot in the year and a half we were dating, including some infidelities on my part.
Aside from my sadness and guilt, I’m struggling with the fear that I’ll never live down my infidelities or be able to make it up to him. It is clouding the positive memories I have of him. I don’t know how to stop my thoughts from going all over the place. Please help. — SAD IN SACRAMENTO
DEAR SAD: Much as we might wish to, none of us can change the past.
I assume that you have now learned that it’s best to remain faithful in your romantic relationships. That’s a step in the right direction. The next step is to resolve that in future relationships you won’t stray, and if you are tempted to, you will discuss with your boyfriend what you feel is missing in your relationship.
As to how to disrupt the intrusive memories that keep flooding back, a technique many people use is to REMIND themselves to stay in the moment each time an unwanted memory pops up. The technique is called “mindfulness,” and it works.
DEAR ABBY: Most everyone appears to be fighting over politics these days, and there’s even in-fighting within each side. Will it ever stop? — BAFFLED IN THE EAST
DEAR BAFFLED: Perhaps. But it won’t happen until people stop shouting (literally and figuratively), decide to bring civility back and start listening respectfully to each other.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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