She said ‘no’? — It’s not personal. Rejection and dance

Welcome to SalsaVirtual

Hola salseros! Welcome to our first blog post! While we work hard on making magic to improve your salsa with virtual reality (we can enhance it… we have the technology), I wanted to use this blog space to start lighthearted conversations about a variety of salsa topics. In this post: Rejection! (Hey, that’s not lighthearted at all!)

Analysis of a rejection

Let me start at the end of the rejection process so that you can clearly see from a different perspective what is going on.

The aftermath

You have just been rejected and you are feeling awful. You might start thinking “you know, maybe it’s time to go home. It’s getting late.” Or maybe you suddenly remember you have to go drink more water, even though you have a half-empty (no, that’s definitely not half-full) glass in your hand. All your friends got a partner and you’re left alone on the side. It sucks. Why did she say no?

The rejection

… said no woman ever. At worst, you got a “No, thank you,” without an explanation. But most likely you got an explanation like “I’m a bit tired,” or “I don’t really do this dance.” Take them at face value. Is she’s lying? Maybe. However, women know what explanation is better for you to hear. Just let it go.

It’s the lack of explanation that is more intriguing.

Last week I got rejected for a dance without an explanation for the first time in years. Not only that, but it was mid-song. She was super sweet about it tho, and said “Hey, do you mind if we dance the next song?” Total pro. I had asked her to dance a bachata, but after the intro, the song was either a kizomba or a zouk. I still can’t tell them apart. Likely because I had never taken a class in either. She could definitely tell. It was uncomfortable for both of us, but she knew exactly what to say. She rejected me. Doing that takes at least as much courage as it is to ask someone to dance.

The question

What if she says ‘no’? Well, then it’ll probably suck. You can ask a lady to dance in many ways, and you’ve practiced in your head exactly what you wanted to say… and here it comes: “The… dance… you… you want… you want to dance? To this song I mean.” How embarrassing.

The approach

Roll an extra 2d6 points of backstab damage!

Oh, excuse me. My nerd is showing. I thought you were approaching a sleeping dragon, when in fact you were approaching a real person. For some reason people don’t like to be approached from behind. Survival instinct and all.

The decision

The previous song is over and everyone is leaving the floor. That girl that you spotted earlier is finally getting off the floor and sitting down. Great! Lets go across the dance floor, awkwardly avoiding people and make our way there. Just make sure she doesn’t see you so that she can’t reject you with her eyes!

Reasons for rejection

OK, let’s move forwards now, and see what’s wrong with the above steps.

The decision – Explanation

Don’t pick a single person to dance with. You are just going to look awkward doing a bee-line towards them. Are you at the club to dance with someone, or to dance? You do realize you give a stalker vibe when you hunt your prey and go for the kill, right? Like a gazelle, the girl will skillfully dodge attacks by surrounding wolves. Or surrounding bees.

Relax, step to the edge of the dance floor, and look for available partners there. They will be doing the same and likely giving off a vibe that says “I love this song, hope I get asked to dance!”

That being said, you do need to decide that you are going to dance, and that you will have to ask someone to dance, even if it’s scary. The only way around fear is through it.

Reduce your chances of rejection by picking someone who:

  • Is smiling, tapping their foot, or moving their body to the music.
  • Does not have a drink, purse, or shoes in hand.
  • Has uncrossed legs and arms (although ladies in short skirts need to do this regardless).

The approach – Explanation

If you position yourself at the edge of the dance floor, you have two things going for you:

  • Everyone in front of you will head towards you at the end of the song
  • Everyone behind you that wants to dance is likely looking towards the dance floor and do not have their backs turned on you.

Approach them at an angle, so that they know you’re coming and can turn their face towards you when close. And be confident, for crying out loud. And don’t cry out loud, that does not show confidence.

The question – Explanation

If you have fear of rejection, stick to the basics. Uncross your arms, look them in the eye, smile while showing your pearly whites, extend your hand palm up, and ask “Would you like to dance?”

Keep in mind that how you ask someone to dance will set the tone of the dance and influence most future dances with that person.

I once asked a girl out for a dance by saying “Hey, I’ve got this dance contract here. Would you mind signing here, and initialing over here… and here as well. Awesome, we’re set! Let’s dance! You do have health insurance, right?”

That’s a bit convoluted and unless you know what you’re doing you’re going to screw it up. However, you can try the following to ease up on any leftover stress:

“Hi. Would you like to dance?”


[pause] “…with me, right?”

Hahaha, yes.

I can guarantee it will put both of you in a good mood for the upcoming song.

The rejection – Explanation

If the word “no” is included anywhere in their rejection, your best approach is to thank her anyway and just move on. Go to the closest available partner and ask again.

If she answers “I’m not really good at this dance,” and you can hold your own on the dance floor, ask “Are you sure? It’ll be fun…” You will probably be glad you asked a second time. If, however, you are not good at the dance, you will get a “Hey, do you mind if we dance the next song?” Best rejection ever. In case you’re wondering, no, do not ask her to dance the next song unless it’s something you actually dance.

The aftermath – Explanation

You will notice that if you don’t take rejection personally, your night will go great. Likely, that girl will not be dancing with anyone else, so it was not you. If you do see her dancing with someone, it’s probably her close friend or date that she’s been waiting all night to dance with. So it was not you.

Maybe it is you

Haha! Just when you thought you were safe! If you get one rejection, ignore it. If you get a disproportionate amount of rejections (especially from ladies that you had previously danced with), ask yourself if you do any of these things:

  1. Are you constantly teaching your partner how to do a move?
  2. Did you keep turning her into that double spin that you were leading?
  3. Are you looking into her eyes but she is not looking at yours?
  4. Did you wait until she left her group of friends behind to ask her to dance?
  5. Do you know her name, but she doesn’t know yours?

If so, I want you to stop and think about what you’re doing. Get a good female friend of yours and ask her point blank to tell you why you are being rejected. Understand that she’s trying to help you. I’m trying to help you as well, because whatever it is, it’s probably something that can be fixed. It won’t be personal if you fix yourself!

There are many resources to become a better social dancer and reduce rejection. For more tips on dancing, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

How do you deal with rejection?

Let us know in the comments!

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