In the global community of social dancing, every interaction is a learning experience. Whether you're an experienced dancer or a novice stepping onto the dance floor for the first time, navigating social dynamics can be as challenging as mastering a complicated turn pattern. One such situation we've all experienced or will definitely come across is giving and receiving “no's” on the dance floor with dance invitations. Let's take a deeper dive into this aspect of our dance journey.
Undoubtedly, we will encounter situations on the dance floor where either our invitation to dance is declined, or we find ourselves saying “no” to someone else's invite. In the heat of the moment, this can be tough to accept or understand, especially when we’d love to imagine that we live in a world where everyone says yes to every dance with big smiles and enthusiasm. However, this is not reality and there's a myriad of reasons why someone could decline a dance, and often, it has absolutely nothing to do with you.
Before we dive into the reasons, I do want to note that this is a complex topic.The simplest layer being reasons that aren’t about you if you are the one asking, or about them if you are being asked to dance. On the more complex end, you can decline a dance with a specific person for a specific reason if they ask you, and vice versa someone can decline a dance specifically with you for a specific reason. The reasons can range from bad breath, skill level, you’re friends with someone they don’t like, etc. I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of situations and people that are outside of your control. Dealing with “rejection” is a skill we weren’t really taught and have to learn “on the fly” in life.
It’s tough to balance wanting to feel a sense of community and belonging, yet also realizing despite our best efforts and intentions, we can’t control what other people ultimately choose to do with their own lives. Let's breathe in our insecurities, and breathe out a wave of gratitude and empathy…
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of 18 possible reasons why someone might say “no” to a dance that aren’t about you:
- Urgent need to use the restroom
- Shoe discomfort needing a quick change
- Thirst that demands a refreshing drink
- Not a fan of the current song playing
- Engaged in an interesting conversation
- Recently declined another dance and wants to avoid looking rude
- Body temperature running high and needs to cool down
- Wants to sit back and watch others dance
- Feeling sweaty and wants to freshen up
- Feet throbbing and needs to rest them for a bit
- Craves a mental break from the continuous whirl of dances
- Committed or waiting to dance with someone else
- Nursing an injury that needs rest
- Experiencing a drop in blood sugar
- Not feeling emotionally present or connected
- Seeking a reset after a challenging dance experience
- Unsure of the steps for the current dance style playing
- About to call it a night and head home
So, the next time you're declined a dance, remember, it's possible that it’s not a reflection on you, your dance skills, or you as a person.
The beauty of dance extends beyond the physical execution of steps. It encompasses respect, understanding, and open-mindedness. By understanding the myriad reasons behind a polite decline, we can foster a more empathetic and supportive dance community. Always remember, the conscious and unconscious reasons for a “no” are as complex and diverse as the dance styles we love.
In essence, a “no” can be a gift, an act of self-care, and/or a boundary setting by someone choosing not to dance when their feelings dictate otherwise. Such decisions deserve our respect and understanding. So, own your happiness, embrace every dance experience, and keep that love for dance alive and don’t let yourself get too discouraged.
Here are some potential scenarios that will probably resonate with you that you will have to navigate to the best of your ability on a case-by-case basis with:
- sense of safety
Scenario 1: You as the asker
Scenario 2: You as the person being asked
Have you ever faced a similar situation on the dance floor? Share your experiences in the comments section below!