Avoiding people you don’t want to dance with

Every methodology has two parts. Part one is the theory, the airy-fairy philosophical principles. Part two is the hard, useful, practical stuff. I’m going to cover both parts, because both are very important, and here, the theory is needed to execute the practical stuff with the necessary conviction and style.

So here’s the theory. You are allowed to dislike people! People are allowed to dislike you! Even if you do like each other, you don’t even have to be friends! Point is, you are never obligated to be more than acquaintances with someone. Implying, of course, that you also don’t have to dance with them. You. Never. Have. To. Dance. With. Someone.

This doesn’t mean you should freeze people out. Everyone deserves a chance. If someone sketchy looking asks me to dance, I’ll say yes anyway. I might be pleasantly surprised. God knows, I’ve been an awful person in the past, and people still gave me second chances I didn’t deserve. I want to pass that karma on.

With that said, though, if I establish that someone is a bad dance partner in some way–maybe bad body odor, maybe they’re just unbelievably bad at dancing, maybe I just plain feel uncomfortable talking to them–I feel totally fine saying no. I don’t owe anyone my time, unless they’re paying me. I definitely don’t owe anyone the right to drape their arms all over me and twirl me around.

I’m telling you all this, because when someone you don’t want to dance with is asking you, it’s hard to say no. I still find it hard to say no sometimes. You do build up a resistance to that little voice that thinks it’s polite to say yes, after a few sweaty hands too many, after too many weird comments*, but you’ll only build up a resistance if you let it grow.

You have a right to say no.

You can still be a good, decent, respectful person, and say no.

Hell, I love my mom and dad, and I still try to get out of it when they ask me to come over for dinner. I understand many other people do the same thing. If we’re saying no to our own dear parents, you can definitely say no to a guy you find creepy and still be a good person.

Anyway, onto the practice. Like I said, doing this requires conviction and style.

The first thing you do is physical avoidance. Don’t make eye contact, and angle your body away from them. This is what you do if a creepy guy is standing in a part of the room you want to go to, like near the cheese platter, or someone you actually do want to dance with. Do not be tempted, by the sake of politeness, to talk to them. Go in, get what you need, and then get out.

So sometimes, physical avoidance won’t work. They’ll come after you anyway. They’ll tap you on the shoulder when you’re not looking, or chase you down. This is when you bring out the excuses:

  1. I need some water.
  2. I need to go to the bathroom.
  3. My period just started.

And the really big gun: I’m sorry, but I’ve promised this dance to someone else. I’m not sure where he went. Then when he sees you dancing with someone else, he will have no idea that you grabbed this person solely to get out of dancing with him. If he sees you sitting out, you can always say, sorry, my friend must have forgotten. Tee hee.

Make prearrangements with your friends. Ask them if it’s okay for you to say you’ve reserved a dance with them. Also, it’s just nice to know that you have people on your side.

When you have to explicitly say no, say it nicely, in a friendly way, in a way that shows they shouldn’t feel insulted. You don’t hate them, after all, and you don’t wish them ill, so they aren’t being insulted. You just don’t want to dance with them, and that’s okay!

Okay, I’m done here. Just remember: avoid them, say no, and remember that you have the right to say no.  Just remember: don’t feel bad, and as kindly as you can, say no anyway.

* Weird story time. So I was at this salsa place in the city, and this guy says to me, “We need to dance three in a row. We need to get accustomed to each other’s style, and I gotta wash your body clean of all the other dancers.”

On a side note, guys, sometimes when girls brush you off rudely and won’t even give you the time of day–it’s because a couple douches like this made them automatically wary that you’re going to creep on them just like that salsa guy. Better safe than sorry. I don’t agree with it, but it happens, and you should learn to live with it, because those douchebags, they’re native to this planet and a highly successful species. They make it harder for the non-douches to successfully mate, but oh well. It’s just an occupational hazard of living here, rather like how if you were a colonist on Mars, you’d have to deal with the lack of breathable air.