In many ways this question mirrors Asking a girl whether she would like to dance with me

The setting: I am alone in a nightclub. I am located in a city/region known for being culturally progressive and sex positive. Loud electronic music (generally house, or other electronic music) is a constant, conversation is conducted by near-yelling directly into somebody's ear and/or lip reading. At least some random contact with others in the crowd is expected, especially since I am dancing. I do my best to be friendly and polite with other crowd members; at a good event, with a good crowd, I feel that there is a strong emotional force and kinship generated between members of a crowd all dancing together. I am generally open to dancing with anybody else in the crowd.

When I say "with" I mean, non-verbally acknowledging each other, sharing floor space and making space for each other. This may include more than just me and another person, more people generally make it more fun. Some physical contact may occur, perhaps some jumping up and down holding each other's shoulders, but does not include (as far as I'm concerned/know), anything inviting more intimate dancing from those around me. Colloquially I have heard this sort of dancing with people called a "dance pit" or "dance circle," I couldn't find a good youtube video, but if you've been to a dance music event, you have likely seen me and my ilk. I am not talking about a mosh pit, which I enjoy on occasion, but would be astounded if somebody managed to exhibit the following behavior in while moshing.

The issue: I will occasionally get too much attention from somebody (not limited to one gender). People will non-verbally communicate the they want to dance more intimately with me. Sometimes this is simply beginning with physical contact that I am fine with and start progressively getting more intimate, some people are very quick to get down to some "dirty dancing". I have not felt violated or unsafe because of any of the behavior I am asking about, I would be okay with most (depending on the person, all) of this interaction if I were single/non-monogamous. I am however, happily monogamous with my partner, who is not in attendance, and I feel that becoming too intimate with another person on the dance floor will be a violation of that trust, nor am I interested.

Desired outcome: I want to turn down/discourage intimate attention on the dance floor politely, while communicating that I am open to and interested in more platonic dancing.

Current Strategy: For those that quickly place me in a situation I feel is too intimate, I will gently, but firmly grab their wrists and move their hands off me while moving the rest of my body away from them, sometimes by moving them (also gently, but firmly). For people who take a more slow and respectful approach, generally more subtle cues such as guiding hands away from me, maintaining a certain distance between bodies or only touching hip to hip generally works. Often people will show initial interest, but will get the message when I do not escalate (these people are great).

If people don't get the message on the first approach (most do), I will resort to leaning in and saying something along the lines of "No thank you, I'm taken" or "Thanks, but my partner and I have boundaries." I try to convey a friendly countenance (a smile and calm, smiling eyes) while delivering this message to show that I am not upset, but I am serious. If this doesn't work, I am likely to be a bit more firm in pushing the person away and disengaging and will just move away from them. The few times this has been employed was mainly to the level of intoxication of the person and even they understood me moving significantly away from them. If I am made uncomfortable or feel threatened then I would move away and involve bouncers, but I am asking about interactions that do not warrant that.

In what ways could I improve or modify these strategies to turn down the advances of others beyond platonic dancing?

  • Non-verbal communication and body language are the main and preferred communication medium

  • Rationale for your answers is, of course, expected.

  • While I identify and present as male, I would prefer an answers to this question be gender neutral unless clearly stated why my gender matters to this situation.

  • 3
    This question was crafted in The Sandbox Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 6:39
  • 6
    Why do you want to improve or modify the strategies you use? Based on the question, they are working just fine. Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 12:50
  • @JoryGeerts since these interactions are generally fleeting, non-verbal and with strangers, I am not able to judge the effectiveness of my strategies as well as I would in a face to face conversation. I feel generally confident in my strategies, but often find that discussion with others yields new insights and/or strategies (or reaffirms that I'm doing it right). Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 18:03

3 Answers 3


Honestly it sounds like your current approach is pretty spot on. I'm not much of a dancer, so I ran your question by my partner who is:

Consider going "squaded up" with a few friends, if your partner can't come. They can potentially interdict that type of behavior, and you can tell others you're just there to have fun with your friends.

Your current approach is good for going solo, it's unfortunate many people don't understand consent. If solo is your only option and it continues to be an issue try to find other venues. I find smaller events tend to have more respect on the dancefloor compared to packed nightclubs.

To expand on that a bit, you can ask a friend to "interdict" if they spot someone getting too intimate. I've had a few friends that would ask me to step-in in these cases, and I gladly provided that service. Basically they'd ask, I'd spot someone getting too close and I'd gently move between them on the dance floor. In other cases my friend would step close throw an arm around me and hang until the offending party got the impression that we were there together.

Basically, there's safety in numbers. If you can go "squaded up", as the kids say, that's a great way to dance safe.


Like mentioned in other answers a night club is a night club, and drunk people being overly forward is not something that you can avoid.

That being said your current strategies are very good, for when you are already dancing with someone and want to remove them.

Whilst not specifically answering what you asked the best strategy for stopping unwanted advances non-verbally is to go with a male friend. This doesn't matter what your sex or orientation is. A good male friend is the ultimate buffer. It will both give you someone to dance with and will ensure no one approaches you. And if they do they are great for getting in the middle. This will sound sexist, but as a general rule, girls don't have this same ability or "power" in the club setting. I could go into huge numbers of reasons and scenarios but this would be a book. [Through extensive research being that male friend]. Another perk of this, dancing in a platonic manner with another person, is it attracts the few people in the club that also want that, and before you know it you'll have a solid circle going.

Another more on question technique, though not nearly as effective is utilizing eye contact. If this happens often enough to warrant asking this question, then I am sure you have a pretty good sense of the type of person likely to go too far vs the ones that won't (However these will be minimal given the setting). In these situations (before any dancing occurs) eye contact, and more specifically not making it, is a very good way to show disinterest from a distance. If they keep trying to make it and you keep avoiding then this will dissuade some, not all (it is a nightclub) but some.

If you do make eye contact this can be coupled with a shaking of the head to further signify "don't".


It sounds like you just want to be friendly about the rejection? Perhaps raise your hand between you, say "Sorry- I want to dance alone ok?" (while nodding your head up and down positively), then move back, extending your arm to create distance. Asking a question like this elicits a yes/no response, which requires reasoning.

Establishing that you want to dance alone is the truth and only reason for the rejection, which has nothing to do with the other person.

I think people who do uninvited touching already know in advance that rejection is highly likely. You aren't forced to engage if they ask dumb questions like "WHY?" nor do you have to share your relationship status in order to 'defend yourself' against uninvited touching.

If being nice or creating distance doesn't work, then you may need to leave the dance floor and notify the bouncer (if they serve alcohol they should have several) of the inappropriate touching. The establishment is supposed to take care of disruptive patrons so that the venue remains safe and enjoyable for you.

  • Thanks for your answer Zorkolot. This answer, while incorporating body language and non-verbal aspects, seems to rely on being able to talk to the other people, which is specifically not very feasible in these sorts of scenarios. Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 17:56
  • @spiralsucculent There are few ways to answer your question then. If the only allowable communication is body language and you are asking how to do it 'nicer'- then you must find your current body language insufficient, offensive or inappropriate. But I'm not getting that from your question at all.
    – Zorkolot
    Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 16:22
  • I am unsure, this question is checking that what I'm doesn't have glaring flaws or omissions and finding out if better/different strategies exist. Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 19:07

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