Some time ago I wrote a little bit about why I dance tango.
Now Ampster has a nice piece about why he does. Some of it's the same and some of it's different.
I noticed that, like at least two others of my readers, he is or was also a student of martial arts, not at all uncommon among male tango dancers. At a certain point I wonder if they sometimes think "I could be grappling with this big hairy twerp trying to kill me, or I could have a beautiful woman in my arms, and the technical difficulty level and time commitment is about the same. Where did I put my brain?" But I merely speculate.
Ampster: Hobby for the old and broken: Its a vernacular that I feel special knowing. Its something that I can make people happy with, one partner at a time. Its a hobby that doesn't involve danger, combat, serious physical injury, pain, trauma, nor booming things. ... Most of all, its a hobby I can share with my beloved Mrs. Ampster.
One of the reasons we have in common is that many hobbies can be rather isolating. In his case, he wants to share with Mrs. Ampster. In my case, I have always had a tendency to be shy, and I have to actively take measures to reduce the harm that causes me. Social dancing is a very good approach. I definitely feel the same satisfaction in making other people happy, one at a time. It's pleasant and gives me confidence. But perhaps more importantly, it makes me happy. Because the dancing has real interest and challenge and and joy in itself I feel motivated to stick with it even when I am anxious, and that builds confidence too and gives me a chance to manage the anxiety and get comfortable with people, at least to a point I can work from. I'd certainly suggest some kind of social dancing, not necessarily this one - I think you should pick the one that appeals to you personally - to people who are habitually shy. You can make a decision that you're going to do it and then just stick at it, going to a class every week, and it has a certain structure and boundary to it as well as a sense of achievement and as well as being fun in itself. It has its own little world that you can find a place in. The fact that it's not easy means your mind is occupied with the task and not feeling bored or selfconscious. You can still hide at other times if you want to, or not, if having the practice inspires you to seek people out a bit more.
[Update: and twenty minutes later, he says more. I particularly like the bit about making friends you just happen to like.]