Ten stupid things beginners do to mess up their contradance experience/Expecting Perfection
11. Expecting Perfection
As elsewhere in life, perfection in contradance is an elusive goal. This is because it's impossible, so it's very good at eluding those who seek it.
You're not going to be perfect right off the bat, and nobody expects you to be perfect. Experienced dancers have experienced beginners many times before, and even experienced dancers goof up sometimes. Most dances will have a figure or two that is very forgiving (like a circle, a partner swing, or "long lines forward and back") which gives you a bit of time to get to where you're supposed to be and be ready for the next figure after you've blown something. Try not to worry about what just didn't work that instant. Do NOT try to do the figure again right then -- the music and other dancers have moved on. Try again THE NEXT TIME instead.
Now, when I said "nobody expects you to be perfect," that means that expecting anybody else to be perfect is a waste of your time. The solution to someone else's mistake is the same as the solution to your own mistake -- move on as quickly and smoothly as you can to the place that you can catch up with the dance and then you'll be fine -- except that it's a little more important that you smile or laugh and make it clear that you're not offended (even if you are, a little). Consider it a chance to get over yourself just a little bit so you can get back to enjoying the dancing, which is always a good thing. "Don't take life so serious. It ain't no how perm'nint!"