Part II: Connection, communication, and life

Click here for Part I of this article.

While contemplating this article I thought of doing detailed comparisons with dancing and life, but have instead decided that this is unnecessary. I don’t wish to beat a dead horse. Actually, that would be better said I don’t want to kill the living horse. Instead, I’d just like to finish this off with a few comments and clarifications.

In Part I of this article I mentioned several times the ever so important aspect of paying attention to your partner. We could replace “your partner” with “those around you” and it would work a little better. I’ve noticed since I posted that article that I appear to really screw this part up. It’s not exactly what it appears though (or maybe my perception of this is completely wacko). I’m messing up the other half of it, which I failed to mention in part I. Well, I guess it’s there, it’s just not plainly stated. It’s a little more complete being said “pay attention to those around you and respond appropriately.” It doesn’t do any good to notice what someone is doing if you don’t change what you’re doing. Even if we’re doing nothing wrong there are things we can change to help others out (still without doing anything wrong). Anyway… a little bit of background about myself, and I don’t mean this to sound like I’m boasting at all. I consider myself a pretty observant person. I notice a lot of things most people completely look over. I remember names, dates, faces, places, conversations, and other random things very well. I notice how people treat me each time I see them. I notice smiles, facial expressions, voice tones, blah blah blah. To a lot of people this seems a bit freakish or stalkerish and I usually play dumb as not to scare people off (girls in particular). I don’t want them to think I’m recording conversations and taking secret pictures of them or anything. I just remember. With all of this though, I don’t, however, always choose to “respond appropriately”. I often try to ignore what I see, hoping a situation will change or that I’m just mis-interpreting what I see or feel. Am I crazy? Should I respond all the time to what I see or hear or continue at it the way I’ve been doing it? The next item in this article talks a bit about those things you shouldn’t respond to. Great. Just when you think we’re getting somewhere with this we have to change it (or maybe we were never getting anywhere at all anyway).

Often times in swing dancing either the follow or lead will do something that isn’t really meant to be responded to. Examples of this are crazy footwork one partner will throw in for fun, and many girls do all sorts of crazy hip swiveling action that isn’t really supposed to be responded to. But wait! Partners should allow the other partner to do all of that. So, so much for these examples. I guess what I’m trying to say without getting too confusing is that sometimes “responding appropriately” means “doing nothing” or “waiting” or “allowing personal space”, among a plethora of other possibilities (maybe even ignoring something, hoping the situation will change?). Real life example: When a girl tells a guy about a problem, does she really want a solution? Most likely not. Responding appropriately in this kind of situation is most likely to be some kind of mix between “doing nothing”, “allowing personal space”, and saying something like “man, you really need a big bucket of ice cream, don’t you?”. Okay, so one of those was a joke. I’ll let you decide which one. When in doubt, saying something like “I don’t really understand how you feel, but I am always here to listen. If you want to talk more or ask me for advice please don’t hesitate.” is always better than trying to offer advice on a subject you really don’t understand from the right perspective, if at all. This goes for both men and women, not just women talking to men. It just so happens that men are far worse at offering any real advice and women seem to be the ones talking a lot more than men. :)

So either I’m crazy or I just need to learn how to respond appropriately better. But – can it really be said that I should respond differently to certain situations or am I reacting appropriately? At the moment, and most of the time afterwards I feel like I responded in a manner that I felt appropriate. But am I making the best decisions? That’s something I need to decide. It’s something each of us need to decide. And we do decide. Each and every day we decide. I just hope that by making it a little more conscious we’ll be able to improve our reactions and therefore our relationships with those around us. Just remember that the only one who can decide how you will react in different situations is YOU. And for the religious readers, prayer and study never hurt in these matters. :)

My final comment in this article is that relationships are NEVER one-sided (just like most parts of swing dancing). It’s called a relationship for a reason. A one-way relationship is not a relationship. It’s a relationlessship (I’m so funny), a ship with no crew. It won’t go anywhere. Relationlessships (ha) are not doomed though. Get a crew on board. Change it. Do your part. Do more than your part until the other person does theirs. I do realize though that some ships get sunk by the unfortunate proverbial torpedo. And of course there are the relationships that were never meant to work out anyway. But hey, I didn’t want to end this on a negative note! So go grab yourself a huge bucket of ice cream. You look like you could use it.

And thus concludes this article. Comments and suggestions are most welcome. Thanks for reading.

Swing Dance, Lindy Hop, Dance