Conversation openers

An opener leads one conversation to another and the relationship grows with time.

I have been a member of a gym for nearly three years. My wife joined the same gym a couple of months back. One fine morning, the lady owner of the gym walked up to me and said that while I am very conversational with all the other members, particularly women, she had yet to see me converse with my wife. Even when she was using the adjacent treadmill, I would keep my counsel and keep looking at the TV set. In my defence, I just smiled. 

How could I tell her the truth? Where are the openers, dash it, where are the openers? Openers like, “Haven’t seen you in the gym for a while,” and the person responds that she had gone on a holiday and what a good time they had in Thailand. With an opener, one thing leads, I mean, one conversation leads to another and the process develops with time. You know what I mean. Can you do that with your wife?

Or, there is a strange face you see and you have a very good opener and ask her this simple question. “Joined recently?” Out of this simple and innocent inquiry starts a very natural flow of conversation. 

The lady tells you about her recent move from San Francisco and then you start saying something about your last visit to the same place and soon you discover that you have some common friends. Again, one thing leads, er... to another. 

The other day, I found a young and inexperienced one jump on the treadmill, set herself a speed of 10 km an hour and soon after started having cramps in the calf muscles and stopped running. Now, here was a good opening for me to tell her during the break how I had suffered the same way as she did and now I knew the importance of stretching before and after running. 

Out of empathy, during the next session, I found myself giving the young one some basic tips on stretching and the gymming relationship built up. You get my point.It is not one way traffic for openings. It works both ways. One youngster asked me that he noticed that my heartbeat was showing throughout my run on the screen of the treadmill. That gave me the opening to tell him about the runners’ watch I was wearing on my wrist and the heart monitor on my chest and that is what did it.

 “You have lost weight”, “your muscles are showing” and “my BMI has gone down by one or two points” are amongst many other openers that are readily available for one to strike conversation while waiting for the treadmill. 

What do you tell your wife in the gym that you have not told already? You have both said it all and repeatedly. The runner on the next treadmill can excite you to run faster. Try competing with your wife.  

So, when I was walking out of the gym after my workout, I pointed out to the gym owner that how my wife was enjoying conversation with a complete stranger. And she said, she understood.

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