How To Get Your New Boyfriend/ Girlfriend To Hate Your Sport

You love snowboarding. Or climbing. Or mountain biking. You’ve been doing it for so long, you can’t remember what your life was like without it. But your new boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t — yet. So you need to teach them. Here are some tips to guarantee they’ll never understand you or want to go with you, and most likely won’t want to date you anymore afterward.

1. Don’t start on beginner-level stuff. What, are you supposed to wait around on the bunny slopes, or some birthday-party toprope crag because your new love interest has never skied or climbed before? Pffff. Baptism by fire. Go straight to the Slickrock Trail, fuck the practice loop. You can’t even remember what is was like to not be able to climb 5.10s, so start at 5.10, or 5.11.

2. Consider the learning environment. The best time to teach someone how to take down a sport climbing anchor is when they’re at the top of the route and you’re at the bottom, preferably when there are lots of other people around to listen to you yell instructions. The best place to teach mountain biking techniques is not at the trailhead, but at the steepest spot of singletrack you can find — hopefully in the middle of the day on a Saturday, when other riders can pile up behind your hesitant newbie girlfriend/boyfriend.

3. Get them to buy all the gear before they’ve tried the sport. Nothing puts the pressure on to learn and immediately love something like spending $2,000 on a bike, or $1,500 on skis and a season pass. This works the same way having a baby, or buying a big house, can save a failing marriage.

4. Invite all your friends to accompany the two of you on his/her first day. Think about it: When you’re learning, and having a hard time, nothing beats having six or seven people waiting for you to get down a blue run as you keep falling, or having an audience to perform for when you’re already nervous.

5. Remember that their first day is about them experiencing what real climbing, or skiing, or riding, is like — not learning. It’s important to have them tag along on something you want to do — your project, or your ride. Instead of wasting your time teaching them footwork on a 5.5 toprope route all day, drag them up a multi-pitch 5.10 with lots of hand and fist jams. Powder day? Perfect! No friends on a powder day, and that includes girlfriends and boyfriends. See you at the bottom, get some face shots, if you know what that means. Also, nothing builds character like a good crash on your first ride.

6. If you can’t get them to buy all the gear beforehand, borrow ill-fitting gear for them to try. Nothing beats having a first day with ski boots that are a size too big (even better, a size too small), a climbing helmet that tilts sideways with every move, or a bike that smashes your balls every time you try to step off it.

7. Focus on the negative. Your BF doing something right? Ignore it. Point out what he’s doing wrong, so he can work on it and suck less. Sigh loudly when you’re doing this.

8. Tone is important. When teaching someone something new, be sure to begin all instructions with the word “just,” to drive home the point that it’s so simple, a 2-year-old could do it, why can’t they? Examples:

“Just put the edge of your shoe on that little dime-sized nub and push off.”

“Just link your turns, like I do. Are you watching me? Just do what I’m doing.”

“Just grab the jug. Just grab it. Just grab the jug. Right there. Just grab it.”

9. When you get tired of waiting for them, repeat “come on,” as if you were talking to a dog. You have other shit to do today besides teach them to climb or ride. Let’s go. I mean Jeeeeeeesus Christ.


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50 replies on “How To Get Your New Boyfriend/ Girlfriend To Hate Your Sport

  • Dave Sandel

    I especially like to do these things when training a new client. I don’t start with basic squats and lunges. I just go straight to Olympic Weightlifting, the most complicated lifts. I mean, they’re their own Olympic sport, but certainly someone that is used to sitting on the couch all day should pick it up in less than a warm-up session. “Like, dude, just stand up explosively and catch the bar at your chest. Then heave it over your head. It’s simple. Just watch me. See? Easy. Nevermind the 15 things you need to keep in mind. Just do it.”

  • Laurel

    10. If, despite your best efforts, they end up liking it, refuse to teach them anything. You don’t want to them to be better than you, do you?

  • Kerry

    So True!!! I was very lucky that my boyfriend, who is a 5.10+ climber was patient teaching me to climb with him. After 3 months of patient teaching we were able to do a 10 day trip to Red Rocks and I loved every minute of it. Now I am learning another of his favorite sports – Fly Fishing, and again he is showing that he is patient and willing to give me the time to learn. This kind of thing can make or break a relationships, we’ve been together 2 yrs, and have been having a ball.

  • kraemer19

    “you just gotta lean back and feel it” … reminding your partner to “lean back” is an important part of teaching any new sport

  • Cristal

    This is spot-on. I am indeed the one that bought the bike and wasn’t allowed on the Slickrock practice loop. Yes, we are still together. No, I’m still not that fast on my bike. Or that great at clipping out. sigh.

  • Jill Homer (@AlaskaJill)

    I was one of those girlfriends who got dragged onto the Slickrock Trail big loop at age 18. Spring snowstorm the previous day, mud, rental bike, boyfriend sprinting ahead without waiting for me to catch all the way up so I could plead with him to turn around, impatient motos, endos into the sand, sandstone rash, limped out six hours later covered in mud and bruises and blood.

    I didn’t try mountain biking again for five more years.

    I’ll never, never go back to the Slickrock Trail. Don’t care how awesome it is.

  • peteypablo

    I know what satire and sarcasm entails, but this is just despicable. It’s important to share common interests and hobbies in any relationship. And having kids will not bail out any marriage. In fact in will only make a bad marriage worse and your kids will be left the bare the consequences.

  • Katie

    I used to sell ski school lessons and one member of a couple would come in asking if their newbie partner “really needed lessons” since surely they could teach them, right?

    Then we’d ask if they wanted to stay together with/married to the other person. If the answer was “yes,” we’d recommend a lesson.

    Great list!

    • Brittany

      My favorite ski school sign said “friends don’t let friends teach each other how to ski”. I told them that they needed to add some relationship ones too. I once went with two friends who were a couple to Mammoth. I had snowboarded enough, he had snowboarded a ton, and she had never done it. Halfway down the mountain he was pissed, she was crying, and she grabbed me. Because I was 19, I went with her back to the cabin after paying $80 for a lift ticket and only going down ONCE. I would never do that again, ugh.

      (He is now a teacher like me, and our ability to teach teenagers without making them cry translates pretty well into our ability to teach partners without making them cry. Took new girlfriend skiing, no problems!)

  • Abe

    We’ll always have country dancing, it’s foreplay.
    As long as the music is live and hot! Bluegrass is my favorite. Skiing I’ve mostly done alone for decades, can take the dog with the bike.

  • Elle

    Oh my goodness!! I was dying of laughter the entire time reading through this! My husband has done every single one of these things to me over the years! He’s lucky I still like him. 🙂

  • Sean R

    10. Intermittently talk about how awesome your ex was at given activity while your new significant other struggles. Recall fond, vivid memories of those experiences with the ex to provide an example of what your hopes are for the current relationship. For full effect, use the ex’s name and combine this conversation with #4, especially if those folks are also mutual friends with said ex.

    • Chelea B

      My ex boyfriend did every single thing on the list. But out of all those obnoxious things, comparing me (unfavorably) to his ex was by far the one I hated the most.

  • Bob D

    I think it would be awesome to take someone who has never run trails on a 10-miler with tons of hills and highly technical singletrack. And then wait impatiently as he/she picks themselves up off the trail, bloodied, for the 10th time after tripping over an unseen rock/root/stump. That always gets ’em rarin’ to go again.

  • Caleigh

    “No friends on a powder day”
    In the early days of my parents marriage, their planned ski date (my dad: a lifelong skier, my mum had only been a few times) happened to coincide with a huge powder dump.
    Thus, my mum had to survive a day of driving up early to be first in the lift line, struggling through black diamonds with my dad calling back “isn’t this great?!” and eating squished sandwiches from my dads pocket on the chairlift. Because “you don’t stop for lunch on a powder day”.

    Fortunately she was a trooper and stayed with him, still skiing occasionally. But she still enjoys reminding him of how that was a great way to turn your new wife off his favourite sport forever!

  • Kat_CO

    Ha! Hahaha. When The Mr. and I participate in sports together (trail running, mountain biking), doing it “together” means he’s way ahead of me doing his thing and then he stops and waits once in a while.

    10. If you don’t convince them to buy all the gear, make sure you at least show up totally kitted out with pro-level stuff so that they feel inadequate mountain biking in running shoes and t-shirt. Talk often about how awesome your sweat-wicking, woven-with-unicorn-hair clothing is and say often that they absolutely can’t go out on another ride again wearing “that cotton stuff.”

  • josh nash

    10. Make sure the approach is well over two plus hours. Make them really feel “wilderness” all about them. Approaches should include but not limited to: massive amounts of cross country, brush crashing, high flowing creek negotiating, high angle forested up hill with fallen logs everywhere, sketchy boulder and/or talus field negotiating. Also make them start at least 3 hours before they normally get up on a saturday. The approach or decent should include a large portion be done by head lamp.

  • BearEndz

    F’ng all these things happened when I learned how to snowboard the first time. The second time I went Lone Wolf style to Loveland, put the headphones in and made serous strides without the worry of seeing 4 people standing at the bottom of the run “cheering” me on.

  • corey

    SPOT ON! hahaha. oh man i have so many stories of friends and (sadly) myself in many of these situations. Coming back off the big loop on Slickrock last year watching a guy and his GF trying to navigate down the first steep section on a hard tail mongoose , no padded shorts, and a skateboard helmet on and the look of sheer terror on her face I had to be the guy to say “are you sure you dont want to do Fins n THings???” .

    side note: if you are from back east and want to teach your significant other how to snowboard. FORGET IT. there is no good day to teach them. Ever. It’s always -10 and blue ice moguls with snow blowers blowing angry hale directly into your face. You will learn many wonderful things about your new gf/bf during that time.

  • Jim McAllister


    I’m still laughing! Great suggestions! What better way to make friends and influence people!

    It’s good to see you are enjoying the great outdoors in the Rockies. The “Independent” seems like a hundred years ago. Keep having success, my friend.

  • Jayson

    Bouldering. Introduce your girlfriend to bouldering as her initiation into climbing. Have her climb the down climb from the boulder. When she tops out hopefully she asks, “What is this route called?” Then you can inform her it doesn’t have a name, nor a rating because it is too easy. Hopefully she struggled getting up it so that she can really enjoy climbing down it. Maybe there are some sweet V0- problems for a beginner. I know the V rating system always makes me feel great about my climbing skill. Someday I will be able to climb moderates.

  • Julie

    I read this out loud to my boyfriend who said: “Its okay. I’m used to it.” Actual quote from our relationship: “I think a 50k would be good for your first race, so I just signed you up for one. That way you don’t have to run as fast as for a shorter distance.”


    Humor is an excellent teacher! Living in Colorado, I believe every single or newly non-single person from my state should read this article. It’s true that those who play together stay together, but those who are miserably strained and embarrassed together…break up.

  • Shawn Seattle

    As a parent,I have put my three daughters through lessons on the popular sports such as skiing, sailing, windsurfing, climbing, even flying. I wanted to make sure they grow up to empowered ladies who can hold their own instead of being ‘whiny victims’ scouting for sympathy by blaming their bf.

    • Kindar

      I’m glad your daughters are going to be tough and awesome, but I think this was supposed to be about the awkward experience of being a beginner at something your partner is a pro at, or vice versa, which can be universally embarrassing even if you were raised to be capable in many arenas. As a woman I’ve had to be thoughtful, patient, and graceful while introducing beginner boyfriends to mountain biking and I’ve had boyfriends who had to be thoughtful, patient and graceful while introducing me to new things. Learning new things as an adult, especially under pressure, can be a humorous experience, and I hope your daughters won’t worry about whether or not they embody the whiny girlfriend stereotype.

  • Lisa

    Hahahaha, brilliant! This happened recently at the new climbing gym in Colorado. Guy and girl were clearly on a date and guy was loudly spraying beta at girl. I wandered over to him, leaned in and quietly whispered, “you’re excelling at douchebaggery.” Later, we convinced the girl to climb with us instead. Rockblocked!

  • Steve J

    I love to ski and so does my wife. But when we met I was all about duck hunting. She said she wanted to try it. Did I start her off shooting a small shotgun like a 410, 20 ga. or even a 16ga… HELL NO! did I even give the relief of firing the gun with light loads for target shooting… NOT A CHANCE! Gave her my 10 gauge Bennelli Super Black Eagle (known to kick like a mule hit with a cattle prod) with extra powder shells for turkey hunting. Yep! that did the trick, never asked to hunt or touch a shot gun again! I’m a horrible person.

  • Haley

    After teaching your significant other how to belay, have them immediately belay you on something you’ve never climbed before. When you fall and they get sucked into the wall or they panic and almost drop you, promptly freak out and yell “Babe! What the hell?!”

  • Bevin Morgan

    This was SO great and I think the ample commentary shows that we’ve all been here. Unfortunately, it all comes down to good old proper communication and patience which can be a struggle for the saintliest among us. My husband and I more or less learned to climb together, but when his skill quickly outstripped mine I started getting the sighs and the “justs”. Let’s just say that while I still enjoy the occasional trip out, I’m not the die hard I used to be. At least there are always bad 80s movies on Netflix to bond over.

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