There is lot of good info for you on this thread. Here is some very general advice: In terms of picking a dance to start off with - pick anything you have any interest in and access to, where the environment seems comfortable enough for you to tackle, find some decent instruction in that comfortable environment, and give it a try. If the environment isn't right, don't give up, try a different instructor, a different dance, or a different studio. Or talk to the instructor and see if they can help you make things work better where you are. Starting somewhere will help you get over your general fear of how to interact with a partner - what to do with your hands, dance holds, etc. Your friend that teaches west coast might be a good place to start, since hopefully you will be comfortable attempting dance hold with that friend, and with her instruction. In addition to learning the basics of the dance and getting over your fears, at your lessons ask for instruction in basic dance etiquette - how to ask someone to dance, what to do at the end of the dance, what to do if they turn you down, etc. This etiquette will vary a little bit from one dance community to another - but get some basic info regarding whatever dance you're working on. Realize if you add or switch dances down the road, some of the details will vary - details of the dance hold, the steps, the posture, the etiquette, and more. So don't learn your first dance and think that all dances are just like this. There is a lot of variety out there. But starting somewhere is important! --- For the long term, think about what your dance goals are. Short term goals, and perhaps long term goals. Short term goals might be things like - be able to do a little dancing at the next wedding I go to. Be able to ask ladies to dance, and dance with them at a dance studio. Meet other people. Long term goals might be things like, get good enough at X dance(s) that I am comfortable leading a variety of followers (newbies and more advanced dancers) through a dance comfortably. Become comfortable going to group lessons and workshops in your chosen dance(s). Become part of a dance community. Or, if you like, preparing for showcase performances, or even competitions. If you don't know your long term goals yet, don't worry about it, you can figure that out as you go along. ****Once you have an idea of your short term goals, then pick dances and/or instruction that will help you get there. **** To get comfortable dancing with a date or others at weddings, for instance, going to a ballroom studio and specifically telling them that is your goal, and working on the basics of a few different dances that can be danced to music that gets played at weddings (hustle, foxtrot, rumba, maybe a couple of others) is what will get you there. Taking group lessons that are geared to prepping people for attending weddings is another option of you can find that sort of thing locally and if you can handle going to a group class. West coast swing is a wonderful dance, but unless you are attending a wedding with others who have studied it, you're not likely to be able to dance west coast with random people attending a wedding - this dance takes a little time to learn, so you won't be able to lead someone that's never done it before. West coast might be great for other goals though - getting used to dancing with partners, getting used to a variety of dance holds (west coast swing uses a variety of holds throughout the dance, from just holding hands to other things), meeting people your age, becoming part of a dance community, etc. And learning other dances could give you other opportunities to meet different goals. Part of this depends on what is available in your area in terms of instruction, and in terms of what people in your area dance. Snapdancer offered to help you sort through some possibilities if you PM him. Or you could post your general location (metro area) here for some suggestions. --- In dance you are likely to run into a lot of supportive people. Dancers all had to start somewhere, and most of them remember this and are welcoming to newbies. But just like in other aspects of life, not everyone you run into will be pleasant. Someone may say something mean to you that reminds you of being bullied in school. Remember that is about them and not you ... some people are just thoughtless, cruel, self-absorbed, think they're being funny, or whatever. Most dancers are not like this. Really. But you will run into it occasionally. So prepare yourself for that, learn which people to avoid or keep a respectful distance from, and don't let it ruin your day or your dancing. Focus on the nice, helpful people! --- Last suggestion ... stop thinking of yourself as phobic. Think of yourself as a beginner who wants to learn how to dance. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Many beginners feel very unsure about various aspects of learning to dance. The details of what they are afraid of vary. Totally normal. ---- Now ... go try some dance lesson somewhere. And report back and let us know how it goes!