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loneliness, dancing, and communication

On Facebook, one of my friends had the following comments on the previous post:
Going out and being with people is cool. But until you actually communicate, that is just feeling the environment, my friend.
…I think it's excellent that you do go out but I think you have to make the next step and do communicate. Myself, I take every invitation I get to be with friends.
Here's the thing with dancing and communicating: I'm there to dance, I expect other people are there to dance, I don't want to try dragging people into unasked-for conversations. Trying to start a conversation on the dance floor is obviously awkward and difficult, since people are busy dancing and the music's loud. And personally I dislike it when other people are standing in clumps on the floor yelling at each other—I always think, I'm trying to dance here, if you want to talk why are you out in the middle of the floor? That doesn't mean I absolutely refuse to talk to anyone or that I believe others shouldn't be talking at all, just that the dance floor is for dancing; brief exchanges are fine, extended conversations are better done off the floor. Having said that, clearly I should look for opportunities to have brief exchanges, because that is communicating and it could lead to extended conversation. And I have done that occasionally.

Here's another thing about dancing and communicating: I've been going out dancing by myself, while other people are there with their own partners or group of friends. So it's hard to get past the feeling of being intrusive by trying to start a conversation; people are with their friends already, why should they spare me any time? I know that when I'm out with some friends and some random stranger joins in the conversation, I usually feel it's odd; whether it's welcome or not depends on what the stranger is like, of course. In any case, I can't just make up some pretense to start talking, I need some reason to engage them in conversation. So that is a limiting factor as well. 

All of this is just to explain why I feel the next step of engaging people in conversation is a difficult one; it's not to excuse me from making the effort to find ways and opportunities to do so. Like my friend pointed out, until I start engaging others, I'll still be subject to pangs of loneliness and dejection. Because dancing is good in itself, and it's good that I'm out doing that for the enjoyment of it, but regardless of my stated expectations I am still hoping to also be meeting new people, making friends, maybe finding some romance, and I shouldn't just wait for others to approach me.

Oh, I forgot to address the "taking every invitation to be with friends" bit. I think I've mentioned in an earlier post that something I've been doing this year is trying to say yes to any opportunity to go out with people, particularly if it involves meeting new people. That's how I came to be going to trivia night on a regular basis, and that's partly why I've been going out dancing. The thing with dancing is that for most of my existing close friends, it's just too late for them, or they have other responsibilities, or maybe they're just not interested—and all that's fine. It just means that I'm coming into this scene by myself, and have to find and develop new friendships mostly on my own; I don't have the advantage of existing deep connections with anyone. However, I do have a few friends through my own music connections who are already well-known in the scene, and that is helping me to make some new connections. Sometimes I still feel like an awkward outsider, unwilling to intrude upon groups who clearly know each other very well, but as long as I'm out there, that can change with some people over time.


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