Re: No-one wants to practice with me
Ah, "Unwanted," there went I, back in my earlier days of training when I was shy and unsure. Whenever it came time to pick or change partners, my inner Insecure Self went through its usual turmoil of angst. Somehow, I felt that the others were all friendly with one another, and no one would want to train with inexperienced, mediocre me. It became a self fulfilling prophecy as I began to simply lower my eyes and walk toward someone in hopes that he or she would let me connect.
Some years and a school switch later, I have a lot more confidence in my "worth as a practice partner." If I see people training with the same small coterie of partners, I use my more senior status to break up the pack and interject myself into them. I'll say something like, "Mind if I cut in? You've danced with him (or her) long enough, depriving the rest of us love lorn aikidoka of a chance."
Of course. when you're a newcomer you don't have the benefit of rank or time-in to pull off that kind of thing, but you could try using a similar vein of gentle humor to make your entry into a cliquish group. It's hard to believe that your dojo mates don't realize that you're getting the brush-off. Make them smile and they will probably let you in.
And don't make the mistake I did in my early days, of lowering your gaze and acting like a wallflower. That will just result in your continued wallflowerdom. Play "chicken." Make eye contact like a pedestrian triple-dog-daring the oncoming driver to mow you down in the crosswalk. Then hold out your hands and gently pull your mark into the dance.