(This article is written from the perspective of men in India but applies just as well to any sort of rejection)
It has happened to all of us at one point or another. You ask someone for a dance, and they turn you down… sometimes with look of cold smug arrogance on their face.
Even the best of dancers when starting out had to face an insignificant amount of rejection before people started taking them seriously enough.
I am going to spare you the standard sermons that your instructors would deliver like “Its her choice”, “Just get over it”, “Be a man” because lets face it… you know all of it.
Knowing all of this still doesn’t make it much easier, does it?
When I started out social dancing after a couple of weeks of classes, I was lucky enough that my first social was with a school that was really nice and polite (my school didn’t do socials). Their instructor told their students to specifically not refuse anyone for a dance the first time.
The women were nice and polite and never refused anyone and helped me find the beat when I did go offbeat.
The second social I attended, however, was quite a different story. Women would constantly make excuses like : next song, 2 minutes please and the like to turn me down. Some of them would also give rather mean looks completely destroying my confidence.
Had this social been my first one, I don’t think I would have continued for long.
And then another thing happened. The first proper school I joined (after having been disappointed by two schools) was going well. However the instructor there eventually quit due to personal reasons and joined another school as a student.
So a few months later, I ran across her at a social.
Naturally, I assumed that of all the people in the world, my own instructor wouldn’t refuse me for a dance. Boy, was I wrong!]
I asked her if she would dance. To which, she didn’t say no, atleast not verbally.
She looked at me for a few second and then her whole face shrunk in an expression of disgust and she shook her head with disbeleif that I would deign to ask her.
Any which way you look at it, she had acted out of misplaced conceit. I was her student and whether I was good or bad, it was to her credit (or disgrace). So if I was a cringeworthy dancer, she was to blame. If she was judging merely out of bitchiness, well she was the bitch.
The incident broke me. I sat in a corner for the rest of the night and didn’t attend socials for a good month before gathering up the courage. Ever since, I avoided that particular social venue lest I run into her. It would be months before I saw her again (thankfully).
This conclusion however, didn’t make it any easier to deal with the incident. I still felt like a loser, despite the fact that she was the jerk.
Even if I had been the most amazing dancer, she would still have done the same, just to satisfy her sadism.
There probably wasn’t anything I did wrong.
Then Why did it hurt so much
When you think about it, you’re asking for a dance and asking any other women might get you that dance. So why feel bad about it? Its just a dance, after all and if she’s not able to provide it, just ask someone else. However, that’s not what’s happening in your head.
We don’t take her no as a rejection of our dance (or by extension dancing abilities). Honestly, you couldn’t care less about a dance with an awful person.
Instead, we take it as a rejection of ourselves. Our belief in ourselves is shook by her action. We don’t start doubting our dancing abilities, we start doubting ourselves instead.
Some instructors would tell you that its because you seek something other than dance(they mean sex) or that if you don’t have expectation you can’t be disappointed.
Once again, great dancers they may be, but once you become recognised as an instructor, many of the problems with asking people to dance go away. So they’ve gotten over it so long ago, sometimes they forget what it was like to start out.
So let’s deal with the real reasons behind your hurt feelings.
You take her rejection as a rejection of your personality and start thinking low of yourself. Sometimes women do this intentionally, so I won’t say the following:
While any of these might be true, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter why she turned you down. The trick is to not let it affect you at all, not to place her on a pedestal of innocence.
What you should be looking for when you ask someone for a dance is not their reaction (negative or otherwsie)
Their reaction doesn’t matter. If she says Yes, you will dance. It won’t make any difference in your life if a random person does dance with you. And the opposite is true as well. It doesn’t make any difference if she refuses.
On the scale of things, you won’t lose your job if someone refuses you. Your girlfriend/wife/friends will not break up with you because some random stranger refused you.
In the long run (of even like 5 minutes), it wont even matter. Infact, you shouldn’t tie your happiness to her reaction at all. All you should care about is that you went to someone and asked. That’s where your validation ends. Whether she says Yes, No or Go away you creep, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you took action..
Sometimes, things just aren’t in your control. She might be tired, exhausted, had a broken heart, or just didn’t get a perfect selfie. So if you tie your happiness to something that you have zero control over, your happiness will be affected rather easily.
So disconnect your happiness from the reaction, from the outcome and you won’t be disappointed. Infact, most religious and spiritual texts will tell you exactly this.
Now, over the years, some people might tell you that you should spend your energy at becoming so good at dancing that nobody can dare to reject you. This is the wrong way to go about it. Again, it places undue importance in someone who probably doesn’t deserve it. You should become a better dancer because you want to (for whatever reason), not to hedge against someone’s reaction
If anything, you should start enjoying the rejections. Get happy when it happens because it will provide an opportunity for you to learn how to manage your mood.
Learn to enjoy the pain and it will stop hurting you.