Headphones and earbuds are everywhere.  Thanks to Beats by Dre, the old school earmuff style headphones are back in style which looks really ridiculous at the gym.  Many of us who like our ears to not be saturated with sweat and bacteria wear earbuds of various styles.  We wear them at the gym, on a run, shopping, and (illegally in California) driving.

I have an ongoing battle with my boys in regards to headphones.  They both wear the earmuff (over ear) style around the house while watching Youtube videos.  I find myself having to say everything twice which is very annoying.  I know they get annoyed by my interruptions, but to parent, I need to break in on their entertainment and give them information or direction.

When I workout, I always were earbuds.  Whether I’m listening to music or a podcast, I need to separate myself from the noise of the world to get lost in my workout.  Well, I can understand the occasional interruption at the gym by someone who wants to know if they can work in a set on the machine I’m on or to inquire if I was going to use some equipment near me.  I can’t understand the person who approaches me as if I’m not engaged in a listening activity for a nonsensical conversation.  For example, I like to powerwalk and catch up on a podcast or two when my sons are participating in homeschool P.E..  One day out of no where another mom crossed the field to join me on my powerwalk.  She ignored the earbuds and started to chat me up.  The previous week she approached me tentatively and I accepted her company.  I guess she thought the initial acceptance meant she could break my self-imposed cone of silence at will.  It was rude.

If you are someone who wants to engage with someone who is wearing headphones or earbuds, first get their attention with a polite wave of the hand.  Once you make eye contact, ask if it’s okay to interrupt them.  It may look like the wearer of headphones is doing nothing, but in essence they are listening to something.  If you’re in the gym, universal hand signals can go a long way without interrupting.


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