Dancers Anonymous > studio personalities

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by ssqq, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. ssqq

    ssqq Member

    Any advice on dealing with a toxic studio-mate? I became friendly with another woman when she came to our studio. It seemed we had some common interests. It turns out that she has some personality issues that make it difficult for me to remain friendly with her, but I encounter her at our studio a lot. She has turned out to be pathologically competitive, sneaky and gossipy, and seems obsessively proprietary about our mutual teacher, weirdly so, even more than is typical. She is a compulsive talker and bragger, and talks over the teacher during every workshop, and usually parks herself next to me. At comps, I like to go off by myself when I'm on deck to stretch and warm myself up. Lately, if she's not on the floor herself, she follows me and plants herself next to me and prattles on about this or that while I'm trying to get my head together....

    At our last competition, I had waited all day to dance. Her last round was just before mine. There were maybe two heats in between, so my teacher came off the floor and found me in the on deck area. So he had a few minutes to rest and for us to connect a bit before going on the floor. Instead of graciously going back to our studio's table and cheering for me, as I had been doing for her for the past hour, this person stood there next to us and proceeded to deconstruct her heats, speculating about how she did, asking our teacher for feedback. I just stared at her. I didn't want to risk losing my own composure before going on the floor, but I was really angry. Teacher skillfully edged himself between us and effectively turned his back on her so we could have a moment to chat. She got a kind of surprised look on her face and harrumphed off to join the group, but it wouldn't surprise me if she pulled the same stunt next time. I am beginning to avoid the idea of competing because her presence and lack of social skills makes it stressful.

    I have stopped getting together with her outside of the studio because all she wants to talk about is "the studio," meaning our teacher and his personal life, which she is fixated on. She gossips and I don't dare tell her anything I wouldn't want everyone else to know.
    The problem is, I feel sorry for her because I know she's lonely--but I know why she is lonely!!
     
  2. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    she is ADD or cyclothymic

    get her a shrink
     
  3. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    She probably clings and talks a lot because if she doesn't, no one pays attention to her. Doesn't mean you have to always be her sounding board. Personally I wind up being one a lot because I'm good at appearing to listen while not really paying that much attention, but some people can't do that.

    Honestly, I'd bring up the issue of her behavior at comps with your teacher. He can't do anything about her talking to you elsewhere, but at a competition it's really on him to make it clear "I will talk about your heats later (with my teachers it's always been 'at your next lesson') but I have to get ready to dance with ssqq now."
     
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    well...here is the thing...you cannot change her...so you are going to have to take responsibility for yourself....and that means you may have to give up on the "nice girl " role...her loneliness is hers to fix...but if you want her to have the opportunity to learn, you are going to have to set boundaries...here are some examples; "Jean, I know we have previously spent a lot of time talking about our pro, I need to remove myself from that..I am not comfortable with it anymore, so I need you to know that I am not available for that and if it comes up I am going to change the subject"..."Jean, everyone needs different things at comps, please don't be offended but I need solitude so I may walk off to be by myself from time to time... and I would also really appreciate it if when I am on deck with pro, during that particular small bit of time, you would respect that it is time in which I need to connect with him about the upcoming dancing"
     
    Larinda McRaven likes this.
  5. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    as to talking with the pro...I would only do that if you can separate resentments that are none of his business, and stick strictly to things which involve him directly by asking if it would be unreasonable to ask him to help run interference in ways that are critical to your comp performance...but that is a very tricky business...then again, if she is a real PITA, you may be empowering him by mentioning it
     
  6. ssqq

    ssqq Member

    Thank you. Appreciate the advice. I agree and am working on being firmer with such people but I'll admit that, in the moment, such behavior leaves me feeling kind of stunned and unable to react because I would never do such a thing!

    Thank goodness the teacher did actually take charge. I thanked him later--he couldn't believe it either.
     
  7. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I vote Cluster B personality disorder. But that's a side point. The main point is that her problems are not your problems. You have no obligation to her.
     
  8. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    Gosh, sounds a lot like a woman I had to deal with at a former studio. Sadly, the instructor did not have the testicular fortitude to put her in her place. She chased away a lot of people from that studio.
     
  9. singndance

    singndance Well-Known Member

    I've made some wonderful friends through the dance studio, but have had some bad experiences too, not surprisingly with ladies who also compete. IMO it is better to be friendly to everyone while at the studio, but not to be friendly outside the studio. Keeping the relationships more "professional" and at arm's length seems to work best for me.

    If you are going to a competition with this lady again, you probably will have to set the ground rules as Fasc suggested in her post. You don't need the distractions that come with this type of behavior, particularly when you are paying for the services of your pro too.
     
    Loki and Debra like this.
  10. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

    Could be tough to keep studio peeps at arm's length IF the studio/dancing is one's primary social outlet. Just sayin'.
     
  11. singndance

    singndance Well-Known Member

    Yes, for sure, but you can pal around at social events only at the studio and keep the conversation pretty light. Don't agree go for drinks, lunches, dinners, etc. outside of studio events. At the studio in between lessons, you can be busy practicing and naturally limit conversation to hi, bye, how are you, great to see you, have a good lesson...... At comps it is tougher because you're all together for an extended period of time, usually around the table or the on-deck area, and for meals, so you probably have to confront a person like this, otherwise your comp will be ruined.
     
  12. ssqq

    ssqq Member


    Maybe there's one at every studio!
     
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    thing is...I am not convinced that it is anyone's job but each individual who has an issue with said PITA, to set that person back on their heels a tad
     
  14. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    Well... I had several confrontations with her after the studio staff and owner did nothing. She was delusional and did not change her ways. So because of that, and other issues with instruction, I left that studio. I stayed a lot longer than most people who were sick of her garbage. Sad.

    She was definitely "toxic".
     
  15. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    When it comes to things like the on-deck at a competition, I would reiterate: that's your teacher's issue to deal with. When you're getting ready to go on, you're paying for his time. Make it clear you really don't like when she butts in then, then let him set the boundaries. That's an issue of your getting what you're paying for and him providing equal service to his students.
     

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