The gym locker room could be compared to a school dance; some people are extremely confident and get right down to business, while others stand in the corner and have an anxiety attack because of the discomfort of the situation.
If you think you could be categorized as the person in the corner, take a deep breath—it’s going to be all right. Take a moment to review our advice about locker room etiquette and ways to handle awkward situations.
1. Understand Everyone’s Body Is Different
During your teen years, your body is “blossoming into womanhood.” Each person is unique and matures at different ages. Some girls may have developed breasts or body hair, while others have not. It is important to understand that whether you’re a late or earlier bloomer, it is okay to feel comfortable in your own body.
2. Respect Boundaries
You would not want anyone staring at you while you changed in the locker room, so try not to stare at others. Although it is normal to be curious about bodies, you should be cautious and respect everyone’s boundaries.
Also, it is certainly acceptable if you want to continue a conversation with your best friend while in the locker room. However, to respect her privacy and avoid any discomfort, do not spark the conversation until you are both fully clothed. A conversation is almost impossible without any eye contact, and making eye contact at the wrong time—well, it can be awkward.
You should never make comments about anyone’s body that could embarrass or humiliate them. Your words may have a strong impact that could hurt her feelings and damage her confidence. If you think your comment could embarrass someone else, please keep it to yourself.
3. Allow Yourself Some Privacy
If you want extra body coverage while changing—no problem! Store a towel in your locker and use it as a “curtain” to cover yourself when switching clothes.
If using a towel to cover up doesn’t do the trick (and you still want extra privacy), it is recommended to change in the bathroom stalls. You are guaranteed to avoid any eye contact or awkwardness.
Because you are changing in the stalls, it is advised to wear flip-flops or some type of protectant on your feet. The bathroom is filled with germs and you never know what kind of bacteria could be embedded into the floor.
4. Stay Clean
Trust me, you’re doing yourself and your peers a favor by washing your gym clothes. Otherwise, the sweaty smell and bacteria may start to build up. Take home your gym clothes home to wash at least once a week to stay clean. Also, bring deodorant—always bring deodorant.
If you’re still concerned about awkwardness, remember to follow the locker room etiquette. You’re allowed to have your privacy and it’s important to respect others—good luck!
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.