This post is done as a special request.
There are few things more disturbing in this world than the loss of a friend. And that loss is even harder to take when it happens because of something you love. Unfortunately, it happens, and occasionally, dancing is the cause.
The thing about the swingdom, is that it can be an all-consuming hobby. You travel to dance events on the weekends, so that means you’re not at home when everyone is out partying. And then you make friends at these dance events, and these friends live all over the place, Chicago, Cincinnati, Virginia Beach. And because you now have these friends that live all over the place, you’re going to have travel to see them. See, it’s a vicious cycle.
When I started dancing, almost four years ago, now, I had my hands in every social circle imaginable. I was writing for campus magazines, helping with programming for the university, auditioning for musicals, you name it, I tried it. And then I stumbled upon swing dancing. Since then, I’ve taken my hands and applied them to one thing: the Ohio University Jitterbug Club. It’s the one thing I’ve stayed with all these years.
Through the Jitterbug Club, I’ve traveled and made new friends in far off cities and have started traveling more to see them. Now, my circle of friends consists almost exclusively of dancers. Not that this means I don’t have other friends, but most of the people I socialize with are swing dancers.
If that makes me seem conceited or snotty, then so be it. I wouldn’t be friends with these people if they weren’t absolutely terrific. Dancers get to see me at my best and my worst and still manage to get me to have the time of my life. I couldn’t ask for more.
Sometimes non-dancers don’t understand why you’d want to spend all of your time with that bunch of weirdos. And they feel like you don’t like them anymore, they feel like they’re being abandoned.
My advice: talk it over. Don’t let things fester. If you get the vibe that your friend is feeling like this, talk to them about why you like dancing. Offer to bring them to a lesson, if they’re game for it. But don’t risk your friendship for something like dance. No matter how much you like it, it’s not worth losing friends over.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t dance if your non-dancer friends don’t like it. But find a balance between socializing with your dancer friends and your non-dancer friends. Hang out with your non-dance friends if you’re going to a swing event on the weekend. Balance is the key.
And if you have that talk, if you’ve tried to find that balance, and your friends still take issue with your dancing, then they’re not what I’d call a good friend. If they can’t handle you being involved with other people, it’s something they’re going to have to learn to deal with. At that point, there’s really nothing you can do.
Most of us dancers have been there at some point. We know what it’s like to deal with the loss of a friend. It’s never fun, but you learn to deal. Don’t be afraid to come talk to one of us if you’re having problems. We’ve been there. And we’ll do all we can to help you.