“Why aren’t the cool people talking to me??”
When I first fell in love with dancing, this question plagued me. I wanted to be friends with the cool people in my scene, but they didn’t talk to me. They talked to each other, but not to me.
Inside, my heart whimpered, “I am one of you! Notice me! Like me!”
Yup. I spent a TAD too much time driving myself nuts over it.
However, over time I’ve gotten to know the cool people. Some people even think I’m cool now.
[At the Century Ballroom in Seattle, we sit by the DJ booth. I've heard people are nervous to go over to that corner. I see the looks on the faces of the new leads who ask me to dance. Frankly, some of them look terrified.]
I moved to Seattle partly due to a debilitating back injury. So I’ve had a lot of non-dancing time to think. Sitting in cool people shoes means I can now understand.
And I think I can speak for others, even those with many more cool points than me.
Why the Cool People Aren’t Talking to You Yet
An honest and straight-forward answer for the people who think about it too much.
1) They don’t have anything to say.
I mean this literally. I think this can cover about 90% of the reasons cool person X hasn’t said anything to you. Because they haven’t thought of anything to say.
We’re all subject to this. It’s not personal.
2) They were awkward/shy/unsociable before they became dancers, and they are STILL awkward/shy/unsociable.
Sadly, having the appearance of coolness doesn’t make someone outgoing.
My outlook is this: If all other reasons fail, assume the person is just weird. It really works. I can tell you, after years of waiting to meet some of these cool people, I’m shocked at how weird they are. (*Cough*Like me*Cough*)
3) You don’t have anything in common.
Besides dancing, I mean. Often we like to talk about things other than dancing. If you don’t have common friends or common non-dance interests, what are you going to talk about?
Of course this raises the question, what if you have common interests but just don’t know it?
You probably do! If you didn’t perceive this person as cooler than you, you’d probably just go over and introduce yourself. Then you’d find out what you have in common.
4) You haven’t been around long enough.
One thing I’ve realized over the years is that these cool people have one very major thing in common: a long-time dedication to dancing. And there’s only one way to develop that.
Think about it. If you had to talk to every excited new dancer who walked through the door, you’d be overwhelmed. Many dancers don’t stick around and make a serious habit of it. Lots of people talk the talk, but only a few walk the walk.
When you say, “OMG I love dancing!” remember that lots of people say that. As a newbie, I knew deep down that I meant it. But it takes time to show it.
If you want to form a bond with people who have been around for a long time, you have to stick around.
Yes, but shouldn’t they go out of their way to make the newbies comfortable?
Listen, whoever you think is cool, they don’t come out dancing to make your life easy. They come to dance. (Or any number of personal motivations.)
In most scenes, there are a lot of things that happen at dances to make new people feel more comfortable. I didn’t really appreciate those at the time, because I was too busy focusing on my remaining discomfort.
I wish I’d dropped the “Why won’t someone make me feel comfortable?” attitude much sooner. I mean, was I in high school again? Seriously.
Because of that attitude, I stopped myself from
taking advantage of countless opportunities.
You know you shouldn’t spend so much time worrying about whether so-and-so notices you. Chances are good that you’re missing tons of social opportunities.
Lindy hop attracts so many cool freakin’ people. Talk to the ones that don’t intimidate you. In time, as you make a place for yourself in the scene, it won’t bother you anymore.
What do you think? Have you spent a little too much time wishing you could be friends with the “cool” people? What do you do to get out of that mindset?
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