How to Be a Bad Workout Partner

Modern Manners Guy’s 3 tips for handling a bad workout partner.

Richie Frieman,
June 27, 2013


The other day a friend of mine asked me to go running with him. I hate running, but I do like exercising, so I figured it would be fun to hang out and get a workout in. The run started out fine, but then out of nowhere, he took off on a sprint, saying, “I’ll meet you at the end!” He slowly became a smaller dot in the distance, as I was left very confused. Isn’t the point of asking someone to workout with you to actually run together? Had I known that he would be long gone after two minutes, I would have stayed in the air-conditioned gym to work out by myself. Maybe he thought I would keep up? Or, maybe he realized I couldn’t and decided, “Screw Richie, I’m out of here!” Sadly, I think it was the latter.

When someone asks you to work out with them, or do anything that would lead Person A to believe that Person B intends this to be a social activity, the expectation is that you will start and end the activity together. If Person B bails, it shows highly improper behavior. It’s like if someone says, “Come to this party with me, tonight,” but when you arrive together they take off on their own, leaving you to nurse a drink in the corner, alone. Ugh!

I understand that when it comes to working out, you want to get the best burn and sweat going as possible. But if you have invited another person to work out with you, you have to be there for the entire time. I know this isn’t a date or anything, but it isplans. And you planned to be with them – not just in the same zip code.

If you find yourself in the position of being ditched as I was, I recommend 3 things:

Never work out with them again.

This friend is not a bad friend per se, but a bad workout partner for sure. Save yourself the trouble of trying to keep up with them and enjoy a workout that you prefer, either alone or with someone else who grasps the concept of togetherness.

Alert them of their snafu.

There is nothing wrong with telling someone they let you down.  You don’t have to be rude about it, but you should let them know you felt the burn (and not the good kind). Try something like, “Hey, the next time you say you want to work out WITH me, remember that means we are together, not just doing the same thing at the same time, but in different places.” Hopefully they’ll laugh at their mistake and understand. But if not, remember Tip #1 and find a new workout partner.

Plan ahead.

Before accepting any workout partner “proposal,” plan out what you’re going to do. If you feel you can’t hang with something they have planned (lifting too much weight for you, or running at a speed not meant for humans), let them know ahead of time that you may not be the best person for this particular workout. Save the partnership for when you find something you can do together, at the same level.

Do you have a great story about a bad workout partner?  Post all the details in the comment section below or on the Modern Manners Guy Facebook page.

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

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