Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike

Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby The CO » Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:49 am

So after reading this thread, we are thinking about holding an "overcoming shyness" seminar att M*A*S*H 4207th this year... might need some guest lecturers.
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby CapSmashy » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:36 am

The CO wrote:So after reading this thread, we are thinking about holding an "overcoming shyness" seminar att M*A*S*H 4207th this year... might need some guest lecturers.


I'd lecture, but my shyness would likely cause me to freeze up and I'd just start babbling incoherent nonsense and piss myself as soon as I got up to speak.
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby Raymaker » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:43 am

The CO wrote:So after reading this thread, we are thinking about holding an "overcoming shyness" seminar att M*A*S*H 4207th this year... might need some guest lecturers.

What if everyone was too shy to turn up!
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby BBadger » Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:26 am

So one of my problems with "shyness" comes from what I call "reflective shyness" in other words, if someone else is extroverted it is easy for me to socialize and approach that person. The shyness comes up when I'm noticing someone who looks "shy" that I think I would like to interact with, but then I feel too shy or have some fear-of-rejection to balls up and talk to the person. Any helpful tips besides "just go and do it"?
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby Foxfur » Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:48 am

BBadger wrote:So one of my problems with "shyness" comes from what I call "reflective shyness" in other words, if someone else is extroverted it is easy for me to socialize and approach that person. The shyness comes up when I'm noticing someone who looks "shy" that I think I would like to interact with, but then I feel too shy or have some fear-of-rejection to balls up and talk to the person. Any helpful tips besides "just go and do it"?

I'd give a meek little wave but I can't see them when I'm looking at the ground. Besides, they'd never see it for the same reason. Maybe If I got a little closer and we were looking down at the same piece of ground I could wave upwards at waist level.
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby Nymue » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:11 am

Foxfur wrote:Please be prepared to catch me. I may just faint as you whisper. So long as warm breath does not touch my ear, I should be able to maintain...
And oh my! Your outfits sound amazing and you yourself I find so very interesting. :!:
Ah yes, SFA. Well Dear, it just so happens that lovely little boutique is located within Terminal City, where I am camped, at 3:30 & A. I plan on visiting often. I have some outfits, perhaps components would be more accurate, but I do need some help from them (and others) :wink: .
Grab your friend, swing by, and we'll absolutely wreck the place! He will never be the same after we're done with him :shock: .
And welcome aboard! :mrgreen:


Well, we're damn near neighbors! I'm at 3:45 and Esplanade in Illumination Village. I will definitely come check out SFA in Terminal City and look for you! Maybe I will bring a sign that says, "Looking for Foxfur". :wink:
Hmm, I think I even have a pretty cool costume that I can gift which no longer fits..
I think we can definitely manage to get my friend dressed up. He was pondering rocking a loin cloth this year, so I think he'd be open to just about anything!
Looking forward to running into you, and thanks for the warm welcome! :D
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby swampdog » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:38 am

Thinking about shyness here, and my personal internal contradictions. I'm a shy extrovert. I love being around people WHEN I CAN BE MYSELF. I HATE having to try to figure out who I need to be with this or that particular group. I'm very good at that (I like to think) I can be a large number of different people. But I'm not happy unless I'm being myself, unless my true inner light is shining.

So shy, to me, is something like a reaction to the feeling "The person who I am inside is not acceptable in this context. I must fit THIS social mold". And it's particularly scary when I'm not sure what the social mold is. Can I be smart, loving, funny, cynical, creative, joyous, freaky, moderately successful, depressive? Which of those do I have to hide today? What do I have to pretend to be instead? Do I have to pretend to care if the Mariners are winning, or who's in the Super Bowl? Can I be open with you? Can I be joyous with you, or sad, or introspective?

And that's it, right there. That's why I keep coming back to Burning Man. At burning man, fuck it, be who you are. Try being who you want to be. Try being someone else if you want. People are too busy being themselves to bother judging who you are. (The ones who can't let go of the judging? Fuck 'em). Not only do I get to be ME, but I get to experiment with ME and find new aspects and levels to be ME on. And not only that, but I get to experience YOU being YOU.

And the beauty, the real fucking beauty of this is, it's contagious. If I feel safe to be real it makes space for YOU to feel safe being real. Then we can really get together. And that guy over there? Give me a hug, brother, it's all good.

It's all fuckin' good.

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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:57 am

"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby The CO » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:13 am

Raymaker wrote:What if everyone was too shy to turn up!


Oh sure, ruin the joke.
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby OregonRed » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:36 am

swampdog wrote:Thinking about shyness here, and my personal internal contradictions. I'm a shy extrovert. I love being around people WHEN I CAN BE MYSELF. I HATE having to try to figure out who I need to be with this or that particular group. I'm very good at that (I like to think) I can be a large number of different people. But I'm not happy unless I'm being myself, unless my true inner light is shining.

So shy, to me, is something like a reaction to the feeling "The person who I am inside is not acceptable in this context. I must fit THIS social mold". And it's particularly scary when I'm not sure what the social mold is. Can I be smart, loving, funny, cynical, creative, joyous, freaky, moderately successful, depressive? Which of those do I have to hide today? What do I have to pretend to be instead? Do I have to pretend to care if the Mariners are winning, or who's in the Super Bowl? Can I be open with you? Can I be joyous with you, or sad, or introspective?

And that's it, right there. That's why I keep coming back to Burning Man. At burning man, fuck it, be who you are. Try being who you want to be. Try being someone else if you want. People are too busy being themselves to bother judging who you are. (The ones who can't let go of the judging? Fuck 'em). Not only do I get to be ME, but I get to experiment with ME and find new aspects and levels to be ME on. And not only that, but I get to experience YOU being YOU.

And the beauty, the real fucking beauty of this is, it's contagious. If I feel safe to be real it makes space for YOU to feel safe being real. Then we can really get together. And that guy over there? Give me a hug, brother, it's all good.

It's all fuckin' good.

My song for the day: "Fuckin' Perfect" by Pink.

You're fuckin' perfect to me.



Yes, yes, YES!!!

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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby BBadger » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:53 am

I guess it's just hard to "be myself" in an open way when I don't know the people too well. Last year, we were the newcomers in our camp, and everyone was cool and friendly, but the fact that I didn't know the folk made it hard for me to just sit down and converse or do things. I'd end up mostly conversing with the friends I joined the camp with. So I hope this year will be better. We're a lot more involved with the camp setup and all that and I hope, through mutual labor, I get to know more folk at the camp. Probably the best place to start if anywhere.

In that line of thought of being in the comfort of friends, one way I've been able to overcome being "shy" is if I have an audience of friends during the outgoing moment (hence why I can muster the courage to teach friends some dance stuff). Something about that support group makes it where the "consequences" (real or imagined) of whatever happens in an outgoing moment are cushioned and okay.

Foxfur wrote:I'd give a meek little wave but I can't see them when I'm looking at the ground. Besides, they'd never see it for the same reason. Maybe If I got a little closer and we were looking down at the same piece of ground I could wave upwards at waist level.


That got me laughing!

I have this bad habit of averting eye-contact as if I'm doing something wrong by looking at someone when they notice.
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby swampdog » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:27 am

I have this bad habit of averting eye-contact as if I'm doing something wrong by looking at someone when they notice.


Me too, like I'm going to see someone in some way nakedly if I look in their eyes. This one I think just takes practice.

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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby Savannah » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:32 am

I was once being interviewed for a job and the guy said "Do I have something in my nose?" because I wasn't too keen on the whole eye contact thing.

I got the job, but only because I knew what I was talking about.
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby emayess » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:38 am

Thanks for the tips. I too suffer from this affliction. I especially like the "experiment" idea to solicit suggestions from strangers on what to do and where to go next.
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby chris2010 » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:57 am

Great Post! Thanks :)
I am on the shy side. So I'm going to try and be more open this. year.
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby Drawingablank » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:22 am

Savannah wrote:I was once being interviewed for a job and the guy said "Do I have something in my nose?" because I wasn't too keen on the whole eye contact thing.

I got the job, but only because I knew what I was talking about.


Ouch - I would have died if an interviewer said that to me.
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby Savannah » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:27 am

Oh yeah, it was embarrassing all right. :oops:

He was a verrry outgoing guy. About 6'4" and 250, huge black eyes, gregarious, very intense eye contact with everyone. My nightmare interview. Great boss, though.

Because of him I just sort of force eye contact, professionally speaking, until I get more acquainted and don't have to think about it. Socially, it's still my goddamned time off, & I'll only do it if I want to. :lol:
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby brody » Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:55 pm

Dear ePlayans:
I'm glad you're all finding this post helpful! I had no idea so many people would respond well to it. I've cleaned it up a bit and put it on the Burning Man blog (mwah-ha-ha-ha! DRUNK WITH POWER), feel free to respond over there too. It's easier to forward, since it's not on the message board.

http://goo.gl/8aBH4

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Mr.Coffee » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:56 pm

Hey, if you're shy, you can always come roll with me. Strength in nervous numbers!
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby cullen » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:51 pm

BBadger wrote:So one of my problems with "shyness" comes from what I call "reflective shyness" in other words, if someone else is extroverted it is easy for me to socialize and approach that person. The shyness comes up when I'm noticing someone who looks "shy" that I think I would like to interact with, but then I feel too shy or have some fear-of-rejection to balls up and talk to the person. Any helpful tips besides "just go and do it"?



So what you need is a shy camp? As a shy or non shy person you can go and get matched up with your opposite and spend the day having them guide by example?
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Savannah » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:54 pm

I forgot to tell BBadger that I totally understand the reflective shyness thing. It's like being onstage. The energy you receive is what you end up projecting. :shock:

I love it when I forget myself because the other person is so outgoing.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Shoeshine » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:04 pm

Brody, thxs for the post. should be required reading for those of us still in our shells.

Swampdog, first of all I never would have known -- you fake it well. (so do I a lot of the time)
Second, I have to say you were one of the most welcoming people at Minitropolis last year to this noob. Not by jumping up and down and trying to hug me before an introduction.
In an environment of rampant extroverts, sometimes being that semi-quiet person that actually talks with you (not to you) is the most wonderful person to meet.

I am not really shy on first impression. What I have, and need to work on, are huge internal barriers. Keep people at a comfortable distance. If jaunty banter and jokes are what it takes, no problem, I got that. What I want though is to really connect and in doing so ease my own fears. What do they think of me? am I being appropriate? etc... a lot of what you were ruminating on struck home.

So, with all that said, I will throw out my one good tip from last year to connect w/ people. It's hard, but try. LISTEN. I mean really listen to what someone is telling you. You will be amazed at how quickly you can make connections when you do. It was late in the week that I finaly got to doing it, but damn. I heard some of the most amazing stories. Some deep, some silly, some heartbreaking, and some intensly heartwarming.

Shoeshine

And PS I never did hook up to try your "light glasses hypno machine thingy" I really did want to, timing was just off.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Foxfur » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:30 am

Brody!
I just posted your original post to my blog along with some of my thoughts on the issue of shyness.
http://foxfuramused.com/2011/08/15/shyness/
I also posted links to this topic and your post on The Burning Blog.
I encouraged folks to come here to read all of the wonderful responses that so many have left on your thread. I also encouraged them to not be shy about registering to fully participate in the conversation.
I'm hoping that some of my regular readers, and ones who just stumble in (lots more of those recently), who are not Eplayans and who DO suffer from shyness may find some tips to dealing with it.
I consider this thread to be a public service to us here and hopefully to many others.
Thanks again Brody! *Smooch*

And thanks to all of you who have responded here. Your tips, hints, and shared strategies have helped me!
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Elderberry » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:51 am

I must say that reading all the dancing tips has sure cleared up a lot of questions that always swirl through my head while watching straight men dancing. :shock:
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Foxfur » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:20 am

jkisha wrote:I must say that reading all the dancing tips has sure cleared up a lot of questions that always swirl through my head while watching straight men dancing. :shock:

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby ben-no » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:37 am

I'm actually really shy. But from what people say. Is that I'm shy but once you get me to open up, I won't stop talking.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby swampdog » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:41 am

Shoeshine - thanks for that, brother. I'll have the glasses again this year, see you out there SOON.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby ZenoBoy » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:45 pm

I've always struggled with self doubt and intense self critique that keeps me from reaching out. My normal assumption is that I'm just not that interesting compared to all the amazing people I meet, especially on the playa.

Thanks to the people on eplaya who offered wonderful suggestions before heading out in 2009 I came up with a small thing that forced me to be social and reach out.

On Thursday afternoon, I stood outside my camp with a box of frozen otter pops, scissors and a moop bag and I offered delicious, sugary, ice to any and all. I have to say it was the best ice breaker! I met so many wonderful people and it really helped me face my fears.

I still struggle with my inhibitions and self doubt but it isn't the same level of shyness and fear it once was and every year since I look forward to finding new ways to push myself and reach out.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Elorrum » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:45 pm

Was it a Firesign theater album: "Everyone's a Weirdo on this Bus." ? I am like other people, and other people are like me, and more so at Burning Man.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby brody » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:05 pm

Elorrum wrote:Was it a Firesign theater album: "Everyone's a Weirdo on this Bus." ?


It was called "I think we're all bozos on this bus"! I love Firesign Theatre-- I saw them live twice in the past few years, so great to see them still around and doing their old material. SMART guys!
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