Dear Annie: I am a single woman who is quite social, and frequently I go out to dinner during the week with a close group of friends. We also go to bars or clubs about twice a month on Saturday nights. Many of my friends love to get out on the dance floor and dance the night away. I’ve never enjoyed dancing, and so my preference is to just enjoy the social part of our nights out. This is where the trouble begins.
One friend has decided that I “need” to dance, and he has made it his mission to get me out on the dance floor. It began as a joke, but now every time I see him, he asks me if I have started taking dance lessons and says that he can’t wait to see me out on the dance floor.
In my opinion, he has taken this too far. And I am not sure what to do. His constant “joking” is beginning to feel like harassment, and I really want it to end. On multiple occasions, in a very clear tone with very clear wording, I have told him I don’t dance and that is my choice. Yet the chiding continues.
Soon we both will be attending events that will include dancing, and I would like to be able to enjoy myself without the fear of him tugging me toward the dance floor or making a joke out of the fact that I don’t dance. As I mentioned, I am quite happy being who I am – a “nondancer” – and I am honestly baffled that this has become such a focus for him. I should mention that his attention is not due to any attraction on his part as he is happily married. The only solution I can think of is not participating in our nights outs anymore, which I don’t want to do. Any suggestions? – Perturbed
Dear Perturbed: I’m not so sure that you can rule out his being attracted to you. In any case, regardless of his motivations, his actions are way out of line. Perhaps it’s time to enlist the help of a trusted friend in the group: Let this mutual friend know the situation, and this person can intercept when he or she sees Mr. Footloose dancing his way over to you.
Dear Annie: I had a different take on the column from “Feeling Left Out” – the parent who, after 40 years of addiction to meth and alcohol, has now been sober for two years and is, thankfully, finally having a relationship with her adult children. She was feeling left out because she is not being included in family functions.
The key line for me from her letter was: “My kids are drinkers, but nothing like I was.”
Her kids might not be including her because it may infringe on THEIR drinking, making THEM feel like they can’t and shouldn’t be imbibing, and thus taking away THEIR fun.
In any event, an honest conversation with them, communicating how she feels, may be eye-opening to everyone. – Andrea, Stanhope, NJ
Dear Andrea: This is an astute point, and an angle I neglected to include in my initial response. Often, newly sober folks’ invitations seem to get lost in the mail, so to speak. While many in recovery find it better to steer clear of situations where alcohol is present, there are also many who would be perfectly fine having a soda while their friends have their beers. Communication is key in determining expectations, concerns and fears on all sides. Thanks for reading the column, and thanks for writing in.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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