What would you say to your regular dance partner if he or she asked for honest feedback?

#1
I was turning this idea around in my head:

1. What would I say to one of my regular partners if she asked me to give honest feedback about how it was
dancing with her?
2. Why hasn't this happened, and conversely, why do I not ask for honest feedback?

Starting with #2: I guess I feel that people can take compliments very well but take any criticism very poorly. And I am no different than anyone else in this regard. So if I were asked to give feedback by my partner about how the dance was for me I would emphasize the positives, and maybe just hint at what could possibly be some small, tiny almost totally insignificant point where perhaps she could improve.

But for a good number of partners my report would be heavily skewed towards the diplomatic avoidance of what I would really say to my best friend over a beer. If you get my drift here. For some it would be very difficult to say the truth without running the risk of seeming to be (or actually being) rude. So I don't go there, and we both live according to a tacitly agreed upon contract - don't ask, don't tell.

We literally put ourselves in each others' arms and trust the other to take care of us. I wouldn't have it any other way. But still I wonder sometimes if an honest and still kind evaluation would not be helpful, if only we could put at risk our vulnerability. I understand that a teacher or coach is very valuable in this regard, because she has permission, in fact the duty to point things out and so we are prepared. But I am talking
about a regular partner, an equal, with an ongoing relationship as such.

Anyone come up against this?
 
#3
Your second point first... I ask certain people whose opinions I trust. For the most part though I know my weaknesses by watching videos of myself better than even my teachers could articulate. So in a way it can be pointless.

When someone asks me for my assessment I offer it constructively. I don't understand why you would assume a person can't handle criticism if they're asking for it. No need to be heavy handed, but they're precisely asking me to take off the kiddie gloves. Is it that hard to find a middle ground? It's not fair to the person to assume they can't handle it. You've judged that they're too fragile for an honest assessment, and they can sense that. That itself is more disrespectful than just saying 'sometimes you step too big.'

Just say it and laugh about it. No one is perfect. Chances are they already know, and are curious to get confirmation.
 
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#4
1.
The honest points what I think she should change / work on improving. And sometimes also the points I think she should not change (yet) but I don't like anyway.
Oh, and the things I like, the things I think that make her special etc. But I wouldn't make a great fuss out of those.
Constructive critique is the key.

And I would offer her to help with improving - and usually do.

The few women who are my regular dance partners and whom I actually talk to also are my friends.

2.
a) It happened several times. Usually out of a talk about the theme of dancing on a longer car drive. Those women usually suddenly improved afterwards.
b) I do regularly. The bigger problem is that people do not dare to answer honestly.
I have improved above the "end" level in my scene without availability of teachers, to a large extent by reflecting my dancing. And a mirror/video cannot give you the insights, a trusted dance partner, who actually feels you, can give.

Further on, I always try to find out what others are talking about me, when I am not around. The really hard truths can be in there - if you learn to distill truth out of gossip.

Keep in mind, that due to my blunt and honest nature, the people who prefer to live in a lie usually distance from me very early on.
 
#5
Well of course, if someone asks for your opinion, be diplomatic. Given. What I am pondering is why in my world I never ask anyone's opinion, and no one ever asks me my opinion. And yes, both they and I are well aware of our flaws, in fact focus on them to a much greater extent than our good points. It just seems more comfortable to leave it at that to me. Maybe overly risk adverse..

The advice to just say and laugh about it is good advice I think.
 
#6
What I am pondering is why in my world I never ask anyone's opinion, and no one ever asks me my opinion.
This is a difference of culture and/or personal upbringing.
The "why" is a theme of social psychology. (+ sociology/history)
I prefer to be around people with an own, critically tested opinion, so the people who I befriend tend to be rather willed to give their - usually well thought and not dogmatic - opinion and are open to hear mine.

It just seems more comfortable to leave it at that to me. Maybe overly risk adverse..
Well, in my experience the loss on the long run is higher if you do not treat a problem of any kind. People who are nice to everyone may have more "friends", but the quality of the individual connection usually lacks a lot.


The advice to just say and laugh about it is good advice I think.
Check.
Many people are so used to never hear critique unless it is meant to harm, that it is important to make clear, that you do not mean it personal.
 
#7
This is a difference of culture and/or personal upbringing.



Many people are so used to never hear critique unless it is meant to harm, that it is important to make clear, that you do not mean it personal.


Very thoughtful observations. I think in my case upbringing and experience has conditioned me to react the way I do. Good to know there are other ways. It is like a fish who only knows water, and since it constantly swims in it doesn't know what water is.

Yes I have been around a good number of people who tend to fall apart when their surprisingly fragile egos are challenged. In certain homes the custom is to say whatever the hell is on your mind and the result is you expect it and don't take it too seriously. I enjoy the freedom of the locker room amongst the guys; but I have to say that in the workplace in mixed company I feel compelled to be very mindful of saying anything that can be misconstrued. Also on the dance floor. I realize I am probably overdoing this, but yes, very definitely there is a back story.
 
#8
1. What would I say to one of my regular partners if she asked me to give honest feedback about how it was
dancing with her?
2. Why hasn't this happened, and conversely, why do I not ask for honest feedback?

My dance friends always ask me for feedback and they tell me not to hold back on the criticism, so I don't. It's pretty obvious to them what their flaws are and so it's never taken offensively when I point something out that they already know. Usually they just don't know how to fix it and having another's opinion helps them (as long as that opinion is coming from a trusted friend).

With someone who is your dance partner and is equal to you in skill, that's a little bit trickier because of clashing egos. I've never had such a relationship. However, I suppose it would be the same situation as above as if you were good friends with that person. I wouldn't be partnering with someone I didn't like as a person, so to me it's the same as offering/receiving feedback to a good friend.

My rule is, if they never ask for feedback, don't give it. If they do, then to me it means they respect you as a dancer and so you shouldn't feel like you have to bite your tongue. Of course with good friends, I always tell them that I enjoy dancing with them and that they should never change while still trying to give helpful pointers.

Yes, it is a cultural thing. I am never asked for feedback in westernized countries because everybody thinks they are perfect. (I'm being facetious, but it's true in my experience...)

In Eastern Europe, I get asked for feedback all the time. People are less secure about themselves and welcome honest feedback (if they perceive you as someone who is somewhat of an authority figure).
 
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#9
Anyone come up against this?
I never had a regular partner. If I did, I wouldn't hesitate to give a direct feedback, whether solicited or not if I thought it would help. I give and seek feedback in class settings. I never give feedback in social dancing. On rare occasion I might seek feedback about something very specific.

If you can't do that, a middle approach would be to talk to a common teacher and let the teacher deliver the feedback.
 
#11
Have you bugged people or built a spy network or both??
I would love to, but neither nor.
I sometimes try to get out of friends what others spoke about me.

I am a very honest person and many people feel compelled to open up to me quickly (or they completely distance from me, barely any middle ground). So I often find people who tell me what they have heard and how they have viewed me from the outside before.
It is an every day occurrence that I know more about people I know just for a few hours than their lover of years.
 
#12
I was turning this idea around in my [...]
My dance teacher told us at the very beginning that he is the type of man who preferes it when his mistakes are pointed out, so he can fix them, which is why he will do the same to us during class. We should not take this as an insult, but as heartfelt advise - he said. He would go and tell everyone who made a mistake and how to fix it. I think this is a good approach and have more or less adapted it.

I have regular partners I dance with, I do not go out of my way to point out the mistakes (or what I believe to be a mistake), but if they ask for it, I will kindly, but truthfully say what I think. However I will also tell them when I feel that they have improved or if they make a style move I like (they do not have to ask for these :D). I am more strict with my practice partner though, in her case I will mention mistakes during practice sessions, but she does too. This helps both of us a lot.
 

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