Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Put On Your Dancing Shoes...Or Not.

Weddings are particularly difficult events to attend, especially when I know few people. Being assigned to sit at a table full of strangers that I will eventually have to make small talk with is nervewracking, yet I have spent the prior week mentally preparing myself for this so I generally survive dinner.

But dinner chitchat pales in comparison to what inevitably comes next: dancing.

No, it's not talking, but dancing is absolutely a form of social interaction that can be just as problematic for an introvert as picking up the telephone. Don't get me wrong, I love a wedding like most every other girl on the planet. I tear up during the ceremony, critique every ounce of decor, and gossip about everyone in attendance. But when the lights go down and the music starts to play, I would prefer to sit back and watch.

Most of my relatives and friends are perplexed. I competitively danced for 10 years, which required me to get up on stage in front of a huge audience multiple times a year and...well, dance. To me, the distinction is clear. Just as I can flawlessly deliver a prepared speech, I can perform a choreographed dance routine. I used to spend months practicing exactly what I was going to do. The idea of getting up at a wedding and having to dance freestyle puts me in instant panic mode. There's nothing planned about it. I'll happily slow dance because I know what I'm required to do: sway back and forth in a circle. Got it.

As a result, I'm perfectly content with sitting and watching the throng of people Shouting and Love Shacking. This, however, does not sit well with most people. What irks me most is that others attending the wedding just won't stand for my lack of participation. They perceive it as a cry for help, coming over and begging you to dance or even asking what's wrong. They mean well, but it is so frustrating to listen to these comments and nudges to do something you have no desire to do. I'm not sad. I'm not depressed. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. Believe it or not, I am enjoying myself just taking it all in!

It's my own fault. Sitting there while most people are up dancing makes me a target. From now on, it's obviously in my best interest to get up and keep myself busy when the dancing begins. It's just another example of a situation where I need to learn to adapt as an introvert.

As for my own wedding, I jokingly tell my boyfriend that if we decide to marry, I will be signing us up for dance lessons. I'm not so sure how much of a joke it is anymore.


  1. i can relate to this SO much. i was at a wedding not long ago, and it was a beautiful wedding for wonderful people, but i justed wanted out -- the small talk at the dinner table was slow and excruciating, and then dancing free style in front of hundreds of people i do not know? oh my gosh, no thank you! especially since my husband is also an introvert; he wasn't feeling it either. so maybe we should invest in some dance lessons -- sounds like a great idea!

  2. I didn't know I'm an introvert till I found this article which I share now on my blog:
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