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Asking people who don’t look like they want to dance

A while ago, I was in a workshop where the instructor told a story. She talked about a girl who spent the whole weekend waiting to be asked to dance. And, the entire weekend, no one asked her.

She didn’t know why, but it became clear when the instructor asked a few more questions. She was sitting several rows of chairs back, on her phone, wearing a sweater, and avoiding eye contact. She had all the signals that normally mean “I don’t want to dance” – even though she really did.


If you do decide to ask people who look less interested, be aware that you do raise your likelihood of receiving a “no”. If you’re not OK with that, don’t ask. You need to be OK with the fact that you are taking a larger rejection risk than asking the person who is actively standing by the dance floor and making eye contact.

“Don’t Ask” Signals

While there are many signals that can be associated with shyness, there are still a few that really, truly yell “no” at the top of their lungs. For example, having an involved conversation with another person or standing outside the ballroom. In your zeal to help include the shy, do remember this. Even though this outreach work can be great, you still do need to use a judgment call and common sense when deciding whether or not to ask.. more >

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