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Background

A dear friend of mine is getting married in a couple of weeks. She's such an extroverted person, always ready to party. Above all she loves dancing.

On the other hand, I'm the exact opposite. I don't feel comfortable when dancing, because I don't like my body, I don't like the way my body moves, I don't want people looking at me. Dancing in public makes me feel weird and ugly.

Problem

Every now and then (and more and more now that we're getting closer to the wedding) she says things like "Oh, I would love if all my friends danced that day!", then she looks at me like "I'm obviously talking to you, life is short, enjoy it! :)"

So, I know I could sound silly, but she cares a lot and I don't want to let her down, especially on her wedding day. I'm afraid I'll feel awful if I actually get on the dance floor.

Question

How do I tell that her without hurting her feeling?


Additional informations

  • It's not that I don't dance at all. I do dance, but only when I'm alone.
  • I really hate the kind of music my friend listens to (aka the music she chose for the wedding party).
  • I've already tried dancing at other weddings, because I'm tired of being the way I am, the different one, the one who sits at the table while everyone else is getting fun, but every time I did it I later regretted it.

Italian culture regarding this topic:

Well, dancing at the wedding party is quite important here in Italy. I mean, nobody judges you if you don't dance, but almost everyone does enjoy it on such occasions. It's our (better say, their) way to have fun together. Plus, the bride really, really loves it, so I guess it'll be even more important in this particular party.

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    How close you are the two of you? Does she know the extent of your discomfort when it comes to dancing? I couldn't help but notice that it seems like she didn't directly ask you to dance at her wedding. Maybe she is fine if you don't dance, but she is just hinting that she would be happy if you did? Or she was trying to know your decision about dancing at the wedding? – Tazin.c Mar 28 '18 at 16:22
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I am Italian (northern Italy) and honestly here I don't see dancing at wedding parties being so important...

That being said, it's not so clear either if the plan is having you alone on the "stage" dancing in front of everyone or you will dance together with a group of people.

Sure I would be uncomfortable as well if I had to dance all alone. But if you are in a large group of people, all of them dancing, it wouldn't be the same. I doubt that everybody will be professional dancers... Maybe someone dances worse than you.

Anyway, if the bride is a good friend, you should talk openly and honestly to her. Tell her about how you would feel uncomfortable dancing in public and probably she will understand. At least if she is a real friend.

If it was my wedding, and one of my friends would come to me saying

I really feel bad doing this or that at your wedding, can I avoid doing that and just sit at the table?

I would understand. They are my guests, I want them to enjoy my big day as much as I would do. And I'm not the only Italian thinking this way.

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I suggest being honest with her about the way you feel. Ask her more about the dancing and explain your feelings. If she really is a true friend, she would understand that people are different and you have your ways.

You could make it funny or make it a joke at the wedding if you want. If you do not like people judging you - or your culture is not welcoming to those who don't dance at weddings - perhaps you can say something like "Look, I am the clown who does not dance".

Another option would be similar, but to purposely dance really poorly. The dancing typically comes after socializing and eating. So you could spend that time making jokes to different people about how bad you dance - and even demonstrate with expressive and funny moves. And when the time comes to dance - DANCE! But dance in a very silly way.

Lastly, I suggest you find ways to move past your dancing issues. There will be so many more situations where you may be expected to do something that makes you uncomfortable. Try to work through and make yourself more comfortable. If that means talking to a psychologist or therapist - do it.

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    Yes there are lots of situations one will have to deal with. But lots of others can be skipped. I think dancing is not one of the most important things in life. Seeing a therapist? Well ... if Joystick wanted to dance but just feels not good, then it's a solution. But if he/she simply doesn't want to, why all this effort? This is nothing worth fo feel bad about. – puck Mar 30 '18 at 9:24
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    I disagree that the poster should have to dance, or to self-deprecate when not dancing. An individual should stand for their own will, and their own value, and friends should respect that this is not eccentricity! – user16082 Mar 30 '18 at 18:23
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I attended the wedding last weekend. I would like to share my experience here, maybe it'll help someone with the same issue as me.
I didn't talk to the bride about my I-don't-wanna-dance thing, I felt like there was no need to bother her with my problems before her wedding. When everyone started dancing I sat at my table quietly (feeling much like Julia Roberts at the end of My best friend's wedding).

After a while, the bride came closer to my table (she probably noticed I was being left out) and said "Come, have fun with us!" --by now, she should got that's not the way I have fun, but that's another story. I just said "No, thank you", shaking my head and smiling shyly. She answered "Ok. Is everything fine?", and I went "Yes, don't worry!". That's it.

A couple of specification: the music was very loud at that moment and we weren't that close, so we couldn't have a proper chat. Better that way, so I avoided confrontation.
Plus, I was helping the dj with his console and other technical stuff, and I had to leave the party for about 45 minutes in order to pick up equipment we both forgot at home, so I had an excuse to skip part of the dancing.

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