An open letter to anyone who’s ever been rejected for a dance…

To the person whose dance invitation I rejected,

If you’re asking because you want to improve, I thank you for your passion. If you’re looking to improve, perhaps you could approach your dance instructor. If you’re asking because you felt offended, then maybe I can share some helpful tips. Because I've been there and I know how it feels.

But first let me answer your question.

The reason/s I rejected your dance invitation is because:

  • I don’t know you
  • I know you and I don’t want to dance with you
  • I’ve heard negative things about you and I don’t want to be subjected to those things.
  • I don’t like your vibes
  • I don’t like your smell
  • I don’t like the way you asked
  • Your looks/fashion sense/age/glasses/hair style doesn’t appeal to me

Or maybe it’s none of that. Maybe it’s because:

  • I’m tired or parts of my body are aching and I need to rest
  • I need to get a drink/go to the toilet/etc.
  • I don’t have the energy to give my partner a good dance, in that moment
  • I don’t like the song/not feeling the song
  • I don’t like or don’t do the dance genre you’re inviting me to dance to

Or perhaps it’s because:

  • I had already promised someone this dance
  • I have a friend who’s leaving and I want to dance with my friend before s/he leaves
  • I want to dance with a particular person for the song that’s playing

Or it’s because of 10,000 other possible reasons.

Does the reason matter? If so, why?

Did you feel personally offended by some of these reasons, especially those from the first list? It stings... I know. It feels personal.

Feeling offended is a normal reaction, but the reality is people get rejected for these reasons all the time (albeit they usually won’t be told that those are the reasons). Some things we can change (e.g. smell, your way of inviting) but others we can’t (our appearance).

The point is… rejection (and free will), is part of life. And it happens a whole lot more often outside of dance. The act of asking only has two main outcomes. So if you’re going to ask for something, it’s best to keep an open mind, and be prepared for rejection; no matter the reason.

Sure, it may not feel great to receive a rejection, but you can absolutely change how you feel about it. Because that is entirely in your control.

We all face rejections at some point. So why fight the inevitable?

Instead, learn how to handle rejection with grace, and even gratitude. How? And why gratitude?

Just think of all the times when someone might have said yes to your dance invitation (when in reality, they really wanted to say no). When the “yes” you receive is less than an “enthusiastic 100% YES”, the dance experience can turn out to be quite horrible – forced smiles, sullen expressions, uncooperative dancing, and an all-round unenthusiastic vibe.

Receiving a “No” can save you from that experience. When I get rejected, all I have to do is remember those less-than enthusiastic dances I’ve had, and I immediately feel a lot better; and even grateful.

Also, nobody owes you a reason. And in the same way, you don’t owe it to anyone to justify why you invited them for a dance. Imagine if every invitation had to be justified!

At the end of the day, being able to handle rejection well means you won’t get emotionally affected the next time it happens (and it’s going to happen again and again).

Because the alternative is to never ask. And you know what they say, “Don’t ask, don’t get.”

Yours sincerely,
The person who rejected your invitation.