Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Handling unpleasant people
When I first started attending a local yoga class a month-and-a-half ago, I went once a week. I have been enjoying it so much that I decided to double my attendance rate to two classes per week. I also decided to purchase a concession card rather than just paying casual rates.
I went to my additional class yesterday morning. It is at the same place, with the same teacher (she is so good – a perfect mix of being gentle, firm, and fun, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the physical body and yoga). The only thing that is different are the people. I have gotten to know the faces of the folk in my Thursday class, but the Tuesday class are not the same faces. That’s fine, I don’t go to chat. There is a nice atmosphere but everyone is there to do their own yoga workout. Perfect.
Just as Stephanie is working on dealing with awful workmates, so I found myself yesterday morning at my new yoga class with some unpleasant and attention-seeking class attendees. Because there were only about eight of us at the most it was particularly noticeable. One of the women thought she had the right to disturb everyone else’s peace by saying such stupid things out loud as ‘this is excruciatingly painful’ and ‘oh it feels like my fingers might snap off’.
Sure most of the other people including me were probably thinking these things, but we didn’t feel self-important enough to decide that the others wanted to hear about it. She first drew attention to herself near the start of the class when she declared to the teacher ‘last time we did this pose you told me to do it differently as I couldn’t feel anything’ and then later on as the teacher walked around tweaking our poses ‘don’t stop doing that, it feels great’. It seems she treats the group class like a private lesson.
Now, unlike Stephanie, I don’t have to spend five days a week with this person (and her friends who giggled and laughed at her proclamations), but I pay a not-unreasonable amount to attend this class and enjoy the peace and quiet of a small group of people all with the same goal of bettering their physiques in a relaxing and gentle way.
I sincerely hope she doesn’t come to this class too often. And if she does then I suppose I’ll have to work on ignoring her. When I was walking back to work I saw her and her two friends heading into a cafe no doubt to call out inane observations loudly. At least the noise of the coffee machine would drown them out. No such luck in a quiet yoga class.
I thought to myself ‘that figures’ when I saw who one of the friends was. She was a late arrival to the class. We are asked to come five minutes early to get set up with our mats and props so we are relaxed and can start on time.
Last week I arrived dot on time (stressfully so, not a great start to the class) – I grabbed everything I needed and made as little disruption as possible. Not this one yesterday, she complained in a loud whisper (so we could all share) about her two children being sick, she was half-sick herself, and on and on. Meanwhile the whole class waited.
I remember a similar type (they’re scattered around carelessly everywhere unfortunately) who used to attend the same Weight Watchers meeting as me. She came along every week with a friend or two and would loudly claim she wasn’t losing weight and that Weight Watchers didn’t work, and asked how could you tell the size of a medium apple. When told it was as big as would reasonably fit in her hand, she snorted and said ‘I can fit a bloody big apple in my hand, so it must still be a medium-sized one’.
Yeah love, it’s a large apple that’s making you fat, not the giant bag of M&Ms you went on about eating last week. Do such people realise how tiresome they are? It’s a shame I have wasted mental energy on remembering this woman, and it must have been about twelve years ago if not more.
I have been wondering what Sabine, my ideal French girl would do in the yoga situation. I was quite shocked at the main loudmouth’s rudeness yesterday, and I admit I did give her a small ‘look’ at one stage. My plan will be to ignore her (these people love any kind of attention, good or bad) and focus on my own thoughts as well as the teacher’s voice.
Sometimes I find myself listening to a person’s cellphone conversation and just because you can hear it, your brain starts thinking about it. So tuning out her boorish honk is my goal.
That was always my mother’s advice about annoying people at school – ‘just ignore them and they’ll go away’. Here’s hoping.
Thank you for listening.