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Post Date:
June 16, 2023

18 Reasons For Declining A Dance That Aren't About You

Dance Tips

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:

  1. Urgent need to use the restroom
  2. Shoe discomfort needing a quick change
  3. Thirst that demands a refreshing drink
  4. Not a fan of the current song playing
  5. Engaged in an interesting conversation
  6. Recently declined another dance and wants to avoid looking rude
  7. Body temperature running high and needs to cool down
  8. Wants to sit back and watch others dance
  9. Feeling sweaty and wants to freshen up
  10. Feet throbbing and needs to rest them for a bit
  11. Craves a mental break from the continuous whirl of dances
  12. Committed or waiting to dance with someone else
  13. Nursing an injury that needs rest
  14. Experiencing a drop in blood sugar
  15. Not feeling emotionally present or connected
  16. Seeking a reset after a challenging dance experience
  17. Unsure of the steps for the current dance style playing
  18. 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:

Scenario 1: You as the asker

  • You approach someone to ask them to dance
    • They say yes, YAY! You enjoy your dance together.
      • Be sure to practice safety, good floorcraft, and listening skills for a mutually enjoyable dance experience.
    • They say no or decline the invitation
      • They give a context/reason that’s not about you
        • Based on that context/reason, you decide if you’re up to asking them again a second time
        • Based on that context/reason, you can decide to let them come to you if they’d like to dance
      • They do decide to give context/reason that is about you
        • How is this communicated/handled?
      • They don’t give context/reason
        • You decide on whether to potentially ask them again
        • You decide you will let them approach you if they are up for it
        • Embrace vulnerability and choose to ask why they declined after the social

Scenario 2: You as the person being asked

  • You are approached by someone asking for a dance
    • You say yes, YAY! You enjoy your dance together
    • It’s also within your right to request a specific type of dance, if desired (e.g. no lifts, head movement, multiple spins, etc.)
  • You decline the invitation
    • You decide to give context/reason that’s not about the asker
      • Based on that context/reason, you will accept if they ask you again a second time
      • Based on that context/reason, you can decide if you will find the person to ask them to dance
    • You decide to give context/reason that is about the asker
      • You do your best to communicate with kindness
    • You decide to not give context/reason
      • If the person inquires further about the decline, are you conscious of the reason and do you speak your truth?
        • Is the reason tied to something that can be changed easily like bad breath?
        • Is it something that would take more time like skill level?
        • Is it a personality mismatch?
        • Do you feel sharing your truth would do more harm than good?
        • Do you ask them again the next time you see them depending on the context of the "no"?

Have you ever faced a similar situation on the dance floor? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

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