November 02, 2011

Is he interested in me?

"I have recently signed up for a personal trainer at the gym and he is cute and I wanted to know if he may be interested in me.  

He is extremely friendly, and touchy… Now I know that they are supposed to be touchy but it's a lingering touch, like he will touch my elbow to get the right movement, but even if I am doing the exercise correctly his hand will stay there...or on my back... Or he will stand face to face with me so close it makes me nervous but he doesn't move or anything... I get nervous so I am the one who ends up moving back! He is always smiling and what really distracts me is how he is constantly smiling when he talks to me...  Sometimes he'll get lost in his thought and forget what he was doing, and once he even said that he forgot what he wanted to say. He says stuff like "you and I are gonna have a great time here at the gym". He tells me random stuff about himself too.  Other trainers when watching him with me say: "oh make sure he doesn't work you TOO hard" and then laugh... Maybe that's just a men’s thing...

I know trainers are supposed to be friendly / flirty to keep their clients sign for more sessions but I've already signed up for 3 months… Is he flirting with me? Or just being nice? I tried reading body language clues but tam not sure."

I get this question all the time, from men and from women. In today’s dating culture most people want to know if the other person is interested. They want to know it to avoid rejection because they are afraid to get hurt. But without risking there's no gain! Both genders need to understand how their confused ideas about gender roles play a critical part in their frustrating dating experiences.

My advice

You are right to be confused! It used to be that when a guy found a woman attractive he would make a move which she could safely interpret as a sign of interest. But how can a woman tell that the guy is interested if he doesn’t make a move????

She can’t. Whether he is very friendly or flirts with her makes no difference. Bottom line is: he still has to make that first move to show his romantic intention. 

So when you’re describing what happens between you and your trainer at the gym, and you want to know if this is flirting or just being friendly, I have to ask you: why does it matter? And if he flirts with you, would you ask him out? Would you ask for his phone number? Why is it important for you to know if he may be interested in you?

If you were a guy asking this question, I would give you a very different answer. You see, a guy does need to know if the woman is interested in him, because if she is, he feels there is less risk for him in making that first move that he knows he is expected to make and that he really wants to make too. So for a guy, distinguishing between a flirty and a friendly behaviour of a woman is very critical. It may signal to him to go ahead, or to abort action. 

As a woman you choose the man. By flirting with him. And he then chooses you back. By expressing his intentions. If you want to signal to your trainer that you are interested in him, then you should be the one flirting with him. He should then make a move. And that’s it – peace on earth. The only way for a woman to know that a guy is interested in her is to be asked out by him!

Your trainer probably feels at ease flirting with his clients and has been doing it for a while, and he may use the gym (his work) environment as a safety blanket. If he met you at a bar I’m not sure he would be so flirty. He may be flirting with you to keep you as a client, or he may be flirting with you to get your attention. But he shouldn’t flirt in any case!  To keep you as a client all he needs to do is provide an excellent service, and to get your romantic attention he should pursue you, not flirt with you. 

Flirting leaves the initiative to the other person, which in this case is you. By flirting with you he surrendered his masculine role of making the first move. This initiative, of making the first move, is extremely important to men, because when the woman says yes, they feel successful, and this further builds their confidence, which in turn encourages them to make a pass yet at another woman.  Women, on the other hand, need to know that they are attractive, and the only way to know it, in the very initial stage of dating, is when they’re asked out.

I don't recommend you make the first move, even if you're interested.  Eventually, even if he is shy (many guys today will flirt with a woman but won’t make the move) he should get past his shyness and ask you out. Otherwise you'll never know if he responded to your initiative, or was equally attracted, but just shy.

If you are not interested in him, I suggest YOU decide that you only go there for training, and that you don't let his behaviour make you feel uncomfortable. Just relate to your workout as a workout, and don't attempt at interpreting his body language. Another thing you could do is switch to another trainer. You can tell your trainer (as a tease) that you decided to do this because you want to focus on the workout...  and see his reaction. This may motivate him to make a pass at you after all, since if he is interested in you, the best way to get him into action is to show your interest in him through flirting.

Women flirt; guys pursue!

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