Anya is a professional dance teacher in Oakland. She works with singles and couples, and regularly goes out social dancing in nightclubs.
Why Won't Women Dance With Me?
First off, let me start out by saying that you are asking — as in offering — to dance with a woman. You are not demanding that she dance with you, or subpoenaing her onto the dance floor against her will. This means that she is not obligated or in any way legally responsible to dance with you. She has a right to turn you down for any reason she wants, regardless of how guilty or innocent you are.
Is it rude, disrespectful, mean, confusing, depressing, and just downright heartbreaking sometimes? Yes! Did you deserve it? Maybe, maybe not. But can you handle the situation like a gentleman and not make it worse than it is? Yes! Can you still have a good evening in spite of being turned down? Yes!
I've compiled a list of common reasons why I and other women I know say "no" to men who ask them to dance. It's not out of malice or viciousness, but rather because you've done something we don't like that you're not aware of, or we're just not in the mood and don't feel like dealing with you. Before you get offended, just remember that not every man calls back a woman after she goes on a date with him, even though she looked great and acted like a total lady. But he decided not to go out with her again, and now she's at home suffering and obsessing over why he rejected her.
Some of these reasons may seem very obvious and totally valid excuses for turning a guy down, while others might seem just silly or superficial.
As you read, just keep an open mind and don't freak out thinking that women are evil, ungrateful creatures that exist simply to make your life miserable. And of course, women aren't perfect either and I'm not excusing rude behavior by either party. The purpose of this list is to help you, especially when you first start out dancing, so you get a better understanding of what you're doing right or wrong, and you don't discouraged by women rejecting your offers to dance.
Keep in mind that this is just an initial list—I can give you 100 reasons why a woman won't dance with you. That's just life.
1. She Thinks You're Creepy
The number one reason why I and most other women I know say "no" to a guy is because we think that he is creepy. What I mean by creepy is that he comes off really strong and gives off a super sexual vibe, and makes it pretty clear that we're about to be sexually harassed. Creepy guys make us feel unsafe, uncomfortable, nervous, and afraid that he's about to say something or do something that will violate our privacy or personal space.
Creepy guys are the ones who undress me with their eyes, touch my butt as they come up to me, try to pull me in to kiss them, or try to put my hand on them where I don't want to.
If you are getting uncomfortable reading this, then you are starting to understand what it's like to be a woman.
If you are a man who regularly has women flinching or running away from him, you might want to stop and think about what kind of energy you are giving off. Are you thinking to yourself "Wow, she's so hot! I can't wait to get my hands on her! She must be great in bed!" or something along these lines? I don't know what runs through guy's heads when they are trying to get a woman to sleep with them, but if you make it very clear that you are thinking something that, then she will probably notice and get away from you as quickly as possible!
2. She Just Dealt With Someone Else Being Creepy
If you are the gentleman who has the bad timing of asking a woman to dance right after she has just been bothered by one of these sexual predators mentioned before, you will probably experience the aftermath of it.
I know that whenever some weird guy has just bothered me, I have zero patience for any other ******* that comes my way. Even if he's just giving off a subtle vibe, I'm just like "not today!" This effect is compounded when I have about a dozen or more guys bothering me in one evening (which actually has happened in some places and it was HORRIBLE!!!).
So anyways, if you see some guy bothering a woman and making her uncomfortable, you should wait a little while for her to recuperate, then very nicely and politely, like you would to your grandma, ask her to dance and make sure you stand a few feet away from her as you do it, so she doesn't feel invaded all over again.
If some guy is really bothering a woman and upsetting her, you can intervene by stepping in yourself and politely asking the man to leave her alone, or by calling in the manager/bartender/security/bouncer or whoever else works there.
This actually happened several different times that I've been out, where a guy ended up kicked out of the club for bothering a bunch of women, so this is a real issue.
3. She Doesn't Think You're a Good Enough Dancer for Her
Many women can get picky about who they dance with based on a skill level, this is especially true for women who are more intermediate or advanced dancers.
Dancing is considered an investment and she might have spent a lot of money on private lessons and/or group classes, etc. in order to get where she is today. That being said, she might not have the patience to put up with a guy who is still a beginner or awkward dancer. Yes, this sounds mean; yes, it sounds horrible, but life's not fair.
If you ask a woman to dance who is really good but she tells you no, take a look at the other guys she says "yes" to, especially the ones that she dances with regularly. If they're all really good and make you want to hide under your bed in shame because you don't even know half of what they can do, then she probably thinks that you're not a good enough dancer for her. If you really want to dance with her, or other fancy dance ladies like her, it will probably help you to take some dance lessons and learn some fancier moves so you can keep her entertained while dancing.
If you're a relatively good, or maybe even excellent dancer, then it's probably not because she thinks that you suck, but for one of the other reasons mentioned in this article.
4. She Doesn't Think She's Good Enough to Dance With You
I know plenty of women who have turned guys down because they thought that the guy was too good of a dancer for them! Shocker, I know! But it happens, especially among women who are beginners. We all want to look good and are afraid of making mistakes and tripping over ourselves and our partners, so to save ourselves that potential embarassment, we just avoid dancing altogether.
So if the lady you asked said no, and you know that you're a good dancer, it might be that she's not quite ready to dance with you yet because of her skill level, so take it as a compliment and move on. If you really want to dance with her and have seen her dancing with other guys and having a hard time, you can try engaging her in conversation and asking her about her dancing experience so far and reassuring her that you'll take it easy on her and not do anything fancy or complicated.
5. She Doesn't Like How You Dance
Whatever it is that you do or don't do while dancing, clearly doesn't appeal to her for whatever reason. She might think that you're pretentious and annoying with your dance moves, that you don't know enough moves, that you're too aggressive with your partner, that you're too gentle with your partner, that you hold your partner too close or not close enough.
In any case, she doesn't like it.
I suggest you take a look at the guys that she does dance with and see how much their dance style fits with yours. Remember dancing is a matter of personal taste.
6. She's There on a Date
Another common reason why women turn men down for a dance is because they are there on a date and don't need you getting in the way of that.
Sometimes a woman goes out dancing as a way to spend time with her husband/boyfriend/lover in a fun and sexy way, and doesn't want to be interrupted.
Some men/women can also be very jealous about their romantic partner dancing with other men or women, especially if they have trust issues.
If you are asking a woman to dance, who looks like she may be on a date, check to see if she dances with other men besides the guy that she is with. If she only dances with him, then she is mostly likely going to say "no" to literally every single guy. However, if she dances with other guys, but not with you, it may be for some other reasons.
7. She's There with Her Friends/Posse
Sometimes a woman will go out with her friends as a way of hanging out and maybe doing a little bit of dancing. This is especially true if she just wants to do a girl's night out and wants to take a break from guys/dating. Or if she's in mixed company, she probably just wants to spend time with them because she thinks they're a lot of fun and she isn't really interested in dancing with other people
Similar to a woman being on a date, if she only dances with and hangs out with her friends, then she doesn't want to be bothered. However, if she dances with other men but not with you, it's because of some other reason.
8. She's There with Her Dance Partner/Team
Some women have formal/professional dance partners, especially if they compete or perform. Even worse, they might belong to a competitive dance team, which is basically like a clique ("Mean Girls" style) and will look down on everyone else.
I'm not saying all dance teams are like this, but there have been some serious offenders, especially if they are getting ready for a competition or something, so they'll use nightclubs/parties as opportunities to practice their fancy stuff.
So if you see a bunch of dancers dancing all fancy with each other, but no one else, just move along and don't take it personally because they're like that with everyone.
9. She Doesn't Know How to Dance
Some women go to dance events or nightclubs with dancing even if they don't know how to dance. They might just be there to drink, hang out with their friends, and have a good time without actually dancing or maybe they'll just move around a bit. They might dance with a couple of guys just for fun before giving up/getting frustrated.
In this situation, you might be better off just engaging her in conversation or buying her a drink instead, especially if she says "I don't know how to dance."
10. She's Not There to Dance
Sometimes a woman will go out to dance club/dancing event, but not actually be there to dance. This can be true if she just wants to hang out with her friends or if they made her go or if she just got out of a relationship and hates all men, etc. She could also just be there looking for a date/someone to hook up with, but without any dancing involved.
So if the lady you ask says "no" to you, but then says "no" to everyone else and doesn't at all the whole night, then it might be that she's not interested in dancing that evening for whatever reason and you shouldn't take it personally. Maybe she's just there for the music, I don't know want to tell you.
11. She's Busy Having a Drink
If a woman is having a drink/cocktail, especially at a bar, wait until she finishes her drink before asking her to dance. Due to security concerns and worries about getting date-raped, many women don't feel comfortable leaving their drink out on the side if they don't have a trusted friend that they can leave it with.
She also might just be taking a break from dancing, so try phrasing your question as "Can I have a dance with you once you're done with your drink?" or something like that, and engage her in conversation to pass the time so you're not just standing there like a stalker watching her sip her drink.
12. She's Tired and/or Her Feet Hurt
Another common reason for women to say "no" to a guy, especially if they are sitting out on the side, is because they are tired and/or their feet hurt. This is extra true if she is wearing heels because those will hurt your feet and tire you out fast when you're dancing.
If she looks, well, tired—try asking her if you can dance with her later, or maybe sit down next to her and engage her in conversation, and ask her how her evening is going as a way to pass the time and gauge the situation.
However, if you ask her to dance and she says no because her feet hurt, but then says yes to another guy 30 seconds later, it's probably because of some other reason.
13. She's Got Her Eye On Someone Else
Sometimes a woman will already have someone else in mind that she wants to dance with, especially if it's a busy night. Just like men, women have guys that they chase after, as much as we might hate to admit it. So anyways, if she seems distracted and busy looking at some other guy, you might be out of luck, and it might help to try circling back around later.
14. She's Already Promised Someone Else to Dance
Sometimes a woman will promise someone else to dance, either earlier in the evening if it's a friend she's run into and wants to dance with, or maybe some guy that asked her earlier but her feet hurt and she promised to dance with him later.
I know that I have a "waiting to dance with" list that comes up sometimes, especially if I go to a place where I know a lot of people, so I'll usually put them first on my dance list, before I dance with everybody else.
So if she's busy dancing every song and looks like she's in demand, you might just have to wait your turn.
15. She Has to Go to the Bathroom
Sometimes a woman just has to go to the bathroom and you're getting in the way of that. It might be a call of nature, to brush her hair, pull down her dress that's riding up, fix her bra that's got the underwire poking out, reapply her makeup, etc. Basically there's a million and one reasons why women go to the bathroom, so wait until she comes back and then ask her to dance.
In general, women on their way back from the bathroom tend to be much more receptive to being asked to dance, than women who are on the way there!
16. You're Too Sweaty
Men who are really sweaty and dripping with sweat are gross to dance with because they manage to get all of their sweat on us and it's just unpleasant.
If you are sweaty, I suggest changing your shirt, or just calling it a night and going home and a taking a shower. However, if you feel ambitious, you can try asking an equally sweaty woman to dance!
17. She's Too Sweaty
Let me start out by first saying that women sweat and acknowledging the fact that it is just as gross as when men sweat.
And let me go further by saying that we get ashamed/embarassed/self-conscious about our own sweat and don't want anyone touching us, so we will sit out on the side for a while to cool off and let ourselves dry for a bit.
So if the woman is sweaty and sitting on the side, just leave her be and wait for her to cool off/dry off a bit before asking her to dance.
18. She's Busy Talking to Someone
Sometimes people will be busy talking to someone (if they can hear each other over the music) and don't want to be interrupted. I know that I'll sometimes run into someone that I haven't seen for a long time, so I'd like to catch up with them and find out what's going on. Or maybe, I have questions to ask them about an upcoming event and want some more information. There's all sorts of legitimate reasons to talk to someone when out dancing.
Sometimes a woman might be talking to a guy because she has a crush on him and doesn't like the interruption because you are getting in the way.
19. You're Drunk
If you're drunk and getting all sloppy and handsy, no woman is gonna want to dance with you because it's a sure way to get injured.
If you want to dance with women, keep your drinking in check.
20. She's Drunk
Sometimes all the drinks catch up with us and we feel dizzy and light-headed all of the sudden, in which case the best thing to do is sit down, have some water and wait for it to pass.
If the girl looks kind of out of it, you should offer to get her some water, maybe call a cab, or ask her if you can get her friends for her, etc.
21. She's Injured
Maybe someone stepped on her during the last song and hurt her foot. Maybe her partner was being too aggressive and yanking her around and hurt her arm. Injuries while dancing are fairly common, so if the woman you are asking is in pain, she's gonna tell you "no."
If she looks injured, try offering to get her a bag of ice or a band aid or whatever else seems appropriate. She might thank you for it!
22. She's Done Dancing For the Night
Sometimes a woman will be done dancing for the night but still hang around and socialize with people. Or she may be getting ready to leave.
In general, if a woman is putting on her coat and/or street shoes, or otherwise packing up, it's best to leave her alone and just wish her a good night and hope to see her again next time.
If you've gone through the list and can't quite seem to figure out where you went wrong, I can't help you.
Just know that you're not going to get every dance and accept that as a fact of life; don't take rejection too personally and make sure you don't get angry in front of the lady because that will make it weird and uncomfortable. Remember this: "No" means no, and you should respect her decision not to dance with you. Do not plead, beg, force, or otherwise pressure her into changing her decision.
The sooner you understand these principles, the happier and more successful you'll be when you go out dancing!
Anya Brodech (author) from 130 Linden St, Oakland, California, 94607 on January 01, 2020:
It’s ok to turn someone down as long as you do it politely and don’t insult them or be rude about it.
Salsa King of the Nirth on January 01, 2020:
I'm s performance dancer. Women some of these reasons are good reasons. But dont ever turn down a dance because a guy is a beginner. A leads trajectory is way more vertical than a follow. That new dancer you turned down could be one of best dancers in your area in a year and a half. You dont know how many diva salsieras I've heard complain that a good lead never asks them to dance. Almost all if I ask the lead why he doesnt dance with her the answer is always the same.
"She was rude to me when I first started."
Anya Brodech (author) from 130 Linden St, Oakland, California, 94607 on June 18, 2019:
Hi there, thanks for your comment.
I completely agree.
hmxy on June 16, 2019:
The article doesn't mention this, but the type of dance may also matter. For example, someone may not feel comfortable doing an intimate slow dance with a stranger but would be fine with (say) swing dance.
JimmyDubs on March 28, 2019:
Maybe I don't understand women well enough, because I grew up in a family of men, but I have to say that women (as a general rule), don't know what they want. This article suggests that women have 22 -- 22! -- "valid" reasons to turn down a man who asks them to dance. To dance one dance! Not a marriage proposal, or a mortgage, or even a request to go steady -- but one dance. Are you that insecure that you'll "look funny" while dancing with a good lead? Are you that worried that a man who sweats will ruin your evening? Are you that stuck-up that you won't dance with someone who isn't as good as you because you're too good for him? Would you really turn down a guy because you need to use the bathroom? Why not tell him that you're not available right now, but you will be available in 30 minutes? How hard is that?
If the last guy was creepy, why would you make the mistake of assuming the next guy will be exactly the same? That's stereotyping men, and it's wrong. You could've just missed out on the greatest opportunity of your life by making foolish assumptions that don't add up to reality. I can flat out tell you that no one situation (or person) is the same from one moment to the next. One man might've been drunk but the next man might've been Prince Charming.
If you're injured, why on God's good Earth would you go out to a club? That makes no sense...you could injure yourself much worse (clubs have stairs, drunk people, dancing and a lot of movement, in addition to alcohol -- which always confounds any situation). When you're in pain, your body is trying to tell you something: don't push it, don't go out and potentially make a bad situation much worse. One week of rest couldn't possibly ruin any of your friendships, or desires for fun.
If you're busy talking to someone, that's fine. Why not say, "I'm talking to someone and I'd like to talk to them. I'd appreciate it if you would let us talk." That may be harsh, but any man will get the message and move on, so why not be firm in vocalizing your purpose for being at the club?
If you have your eye on someone else, why not say so? Why not explain to the man, "I'm very interested in another fella that's here, and if I dance with you, he might get the wrong impression of my intentions for him?" but I'm less inclined to believe that one dance would ruin that ambition, and who knows? You might have found a much better guy than waiting on something that may never happen.
The point is: what's one dance? Answer: nothing but an opportunity (at best) and a bad dance (at worse).
Anya Brodech (author) from 130 Linden St, Oakland, California, 94607 on January 20, 2019:
I've seen that happen plenty of times. It means that the guy is doing something "right" and now everybody knows what it is.
Tyrone Thrower on January 19, 2019:
Some women don't dance with guys because of their looks. But when that not so good looking guys has an attractive woman in his arms, that's when they want to dance with him