Sunday, October 25, 2015

Acro Etiquette

Here’s a compilation of little tips that might make for a better experience for you and those around you.  These are not RULES, rather things i’ve picked up from listening to people over the years.  
  • No means NO.
    • If someone tells you they don’t want to do something, resist the temptation to pressure them into it.  True, some people find it easier to get over their fears and out of their comfort zone if you put a little effort in trying to convince them, but it’s a good practice to respect people’s decisions about their own experience and trust that they know themselves better than you know them.
  • Down means down.  
    • If someone says that they want down, let them down.  If someone wants to stop, stop.  There will be times when it feels like you know why they want to come down and it would better for them if you kept them up, but maybe you’re wrong and they have an injury that's flaring up, maybe they're having a heart attack, maybe they reeeeally have to fart and don't want to do it in your face - point is, when someone says down, just down without question.  
  • Say down early.  Say down often.
    • If you say down early, you might come down before you absolutely have to.  If you say down late, you might not be able to go back up.   
  • Ask before giving feedback.
    • If you have a advice or feedback for your partner or your fellow acro practitioners, ask if they are interested in feedback before delivering it.  Just because someone doesn’t want your feedback doesn’t MEAN that they are an asshole or that you are stupid.  It just means that they are not interested in your feedback right now.  The one exception to this rule is if you think that someone’s safety is being compromised.
  • Listen to feedback, even if you don’t follow it.
    • If you’re having a hard time sticking something, ask someone for feedback.  If someone offers you and your partner feedback and you don’t want it, remember, your partner might.  When people offer you feedback, they are offering you a gift.  Be thoughtful before you reject it, especially since you don’t know what’s inside.  You don’t have to keep it, but it would be at least a nice gesture to find out what’s inside.
  • Ask for a spot.
    • If one of you wants a spot, get a spot.  There’s no reason to convince your partner that you don’t need a spot.  If the question comes up “Should we get a spot?” the answer is probably yes.  There is much less regret in having a spot when you don’t need one then not having one when you do.  Communities are built on people helping each other.  
  • Have things you are working on.
    • Have some idea of what you want to be working on.  This is especially important for the less experienced partner. If you’re partner is more experienced than you, you might not be able to do the things that they are most interested in training.  Further, most people don’t show up to jams in order to give free lessons.  Don’t get me wrong, they are probably enjoying themselves and probably like sharing their knowledge, but they’ll like their experience with you more if you don’t try to get them to figure out what it is that you might enjoy doing.  It would be little like a math tutor asking “what would you like help with?” and you responding with “I don’t know.  Teach me something”.  
  • Act gracefully around rejection
    • Jams are places that people go and play acro and that requires a partner, which leads to the potentially awkward part of asking people if they want to play and sometimes it leads to the much more awkward situation where the answer is “no”.  Most people are not going to be that blunt.  If someone says anything other then “yes”, give them the space to exit the situation gracefully.  Try not to hover and be overly persistent.  This person now knows you want to play, and if they want to play, I’m sure they will let you know. Here are something things that people often say INSTEAD of “no”, when they actually mean “no”.
      • I’m still warming up
      • I’m stretching
      • I’m waiting for my partner.
      • I’m just going to watch for a while
      • Anything besides “yes”
    • Alternatively, it could be you that wants to reject someone.  There are many ways to do this gracefully, but here’s a decent rule of thumb: It’s easy for rejection to feel like judgement.  If you can deliver your ‘no’ without making the other person feel judged, it’ll probably be a better experience for both of you.
  • Have FUN.
    • If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.