Speaking to people that you've seen for a long time but never spoken to before

#1
Ok, so some time back, I joined this dance studio and as I'm the only guy there and have never danced before, I was very awkward and super-shy, and always keep to myself.

Although I'm more of the introvert type, I'm not usually this shy, just that once I step into the dance studio, fear takes over.

Once in a blue moon, I would say hi or make a bit of small talk to a couple of more "approachable" people but that's it.

The majority of the regulars, I pretty much never had any contact with them.

However, as I got more familiar with the place and my dance starts to get looser and less stiff and I got more daring, I've been thinking of just going up to these regulars and talking to them.

Problem is : wouldn't it be really weird and freakish to suddenly talk to people that you've always seen for a long time but never talk to?

These are really nice and fun people and I just had to break out of my shell now.

Pls advise!
 
#5
However, as I got more familiar with the place and my dance starts to get looser and less stiff and I got more daring, I've been thinking of just going up to these regulars and talking to them.
But they might think you're really weird and freakish! I mean, for so long you've acted like a perfectly normal person and you've not spoken to them. And now if you just go up to them and start a conversation, they might all of a sudden stop thinking you're normal and start thinking you're weird and even worse, tell everyone else about it. Or they might scream.

Problem is : wouldn't it be really weird and freakish to suddenly talk to people that you've always seen for a long time but never talk to?
What you can do is this:
1) Start with just eye contact, and then "Hi". As soon as they say "Hi" back, look away and go about your business. Then they won't think you're weird because normal people say "Hi" and go about their business too.
2) After saying "Hi" a few times (on separate occasions, not the same session/day!), you can then say "Hi" and then make a comment about the surroundings, like "nice weather today" or "terrible traffic today" or "studio's crowded." But make sure it's appropriate, because they might think you're weird or freakish if you say it's nice weather and it's thunderstorming outside, or if you say the studio's crowded and it's just you and the other person.
3) After a few times of that, you can ask them a question, like "when did you start dancing?" Then you let them talk about stuff that they like - people will never think you're weird or freakish if they're the ones talking. The only time when they might think you're weird or freakish is if you're talking and you say something weird and freakish. Or if you have three arms and antennae on your head. Make sure to remember stuff that they say so they won't think you're weird and freakish for asking the same question over and over.

If there are a lot of regulars, you may need to make a spreadsheet to track where you are with each one. It would definitely be weird and freakish if you got to step 3) and then completely forgot that you ever talked to them at all.

:p

Seriously, though, people think about you a lot less than you think they do. Actually, I hardly initiate conversations with any regulars that I don't already know. They're usually the ones starting conversations with me, and, well, sometimes I don't really know what to say. So if you talk to someone and it doesn't go that well, it might not be your fault either.
 
#6
LOL you crack me up. Especially the spreadsheet tracking :D

Oh, one side question. Is it true that (for line dancing esp), that the more experienced you are, the more your little gestures and subtle movements will differ from the instructor more? As in, your hands (especially) and body starts being more expressive in their own way. I don't mean to dance completely different from the instructor, but some minor movements vary a bit.

Not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but of late, maybe because I'm not so tense in the room now, my hands and legs just badly want to express themselves in slightly different ways from what the instructor is doing.
 

Hedwaite

Well-Known Member
#7
It took me a while to realize that what other non-dancers call "stuck up" about ballroom dancers is more of a different prioritization of focus (that, and our posture somehow just really offends people). If you go to a bar, to a knitting circle, to the liars' club at a coffee shop, you're there to MEET other people, and actually talk to them and get to know them, to like them. When you go dancing, even if you're a social butterfly, the TOP focus is dancing. This is evidenced in most facebook posts "Yay, dancing tonight- with friends," respectively. Mine usually reads "Hooray, food with friends... after dancing," though.

So when you go to these ballroom places and nobody speaks to you, they're not really (usually) being jerks to The New Person so much as finding out your favorite color just isn't as important as whatever else it is they're doing. Humans are creatures of habit- leaders have at least three figures and one or two combinations/patterns they use with most of their partners to get through a piece of music, followers prefer certain ones over others, teachers have a 'list' of people they dance with in a particular order, or maybe to a particular piece of music or style of dance... you just basically have to hang around so freaking long with these people that YOU become part of their pattern. You grow into the dancework, and eventually, you will be assimilated. I know that I hate to be the designated greeter on some party nights where I have to walk up and smile and offer a handshake to people, because some are so terrified they leave me hanging and I feel like a total dork, but it's just something to shake off and not take personally. Ask people to dance, smile, be kind until they aren't- then you can plot their demise- just not on here, in case they subpoena us like when the valet fell and they blamed it on the Bateses and the constable had to keep coming out and asking Carson about... sorry... I digress...

We're regular dancers (I'd hope so, at least) by now. Went to an event tonight cold turkey- didn't know a soul in the house, new place, the whole nine yards was a new experience. I remarked to my partner on the way home "You know... if we'd first started dancing and had just been roped into a shindig like this, we'd have both DIED and left within five minutes- at the first chance we could have, if we didn't think we'd get stopped and spoken to by somebody". The music wasn't so great, there were line dancers and floor wax, and my partner was the only man in a room of fifty people with a real collared shirt on that wasn't camouflage. We were overdressed, we danced one crappy WCS (the same way complex math gets used by civilians in every sci-fi apocalypse movie- by sudden necessity and retroactive gratitude at having endured the process)... but we weren't scared to death to be there to the point of a panic attack- which would so have been me just a few years ago. Two people finally came up and were friendly. I got to say it was a good day.

I can't speak for line-dancing (that's just devil-talk), but yes, your styling gestures SHOULD differ from your instructor's, unless you are actually trying to copy "verbatim" (I used the term dancebatim once to someone who was stupid as a sack of dingdongs, and had no idea how to utilize context and etymology to deduce what that meant, and as you can see, that still makes me want to smack the thinks back into her head). Style is a personal preference on what and how you emphasize or characterize your dancing.
 
#8
\If you go to a bar, to a knitting circle, to the liars' club at a coffee shop, you're there to MEET other people, and actually talk to them and get to know them, to like them. When you go dancing, even if you're a social butterfly, the TOP focus is dancing. This is evidenced in most facebook posts "Yay, dancing tonight- with friends," respectively. Mine usually reads "Hooray, food with friends... after dancing," though.
I see, this is starting to make sense. No wonder most of the people there don't even talk much to each other except a few LOL
Guess this is how it goes for activity-intensive classes.
 

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