Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

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

Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby dandelion » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:08 pm

I would imagine BM is the opportunity to be yourself without holding up any barriers. I can completely understand why some people can by shy/intimidated, I use to be extremely shy. Just remember, we are all part of the human race (at least most of us ha!) we experience the same feelings and thoughts, we are ALL the same! We are all ONE! Just smile! There's far too many people in this world to be able to please and have their approval of you, so throw that out the window. Give people the chance to know YOU and love you.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby vivid2012 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:06 am

it is not necessary for u to be shy. Just be confident to yourself.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby chrysalis » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:24 pm

Thanks so much for this great post! I am definitely one of your shy peeps and because of that, last year, I spent a lot of time just kind of hanging around and hanging back. This year things will be different!
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:33 pm

dandelion wrote:I would imagine BM is the opportunity to be yourself without holding up any barriers.


This is good, we can see around us the limitless playa and the unusual freedom social and artistic. Embrace your freedom without fear.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby driza » Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:44 pm

Oh I love this thread!

I'm not necessarily worried about making the connections with people but it's always good to be reminded that not everyone is supposed to just go out and be a crazy party personality. Leaving the shyness behind doesn't mean you need to talk to everyone and have that small talk all the time (unless if that's what you want to do). I don't mind wondering on my own or being an introvert. The shyness bothers me only if I don't dare to go and start talking to people I would like to. On the other hand I feel so awesome everytime I win that feeling and just go. That's also how I've made some of the greatest connections. Making the decision of just going and saying something is always the hardest part. And it becomes easier every time you do it.

Every time you feel afraid of talking to people, think how awesome possibility this is to win your fears and prove that you can. I know you can. Just trying to remind you too :)
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby kickstart » Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:39 am

best tip i can give for shy people at BM (myself included):

Go attend some events that are listed in the WWW (What, When, Where). These events usually have folks that encourage participation and interaction amongst the other people there. Its low key, and minimal effort to meet like minded people.
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby The CO » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:40 am

The CO wrote:Make a sign or shirt that says "I'm shy, please introduce yourself to me." Seriously.


I saw Graidawg wearing a shirt that said this! How'd it go for you Grai?

*Edit:
OregonRed pointed out that the shirt read "Hi my name is Graidawg. I'm shy. Please introduce yourself and feed me alcohol."*
Last edited by The CO on Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby BBadger » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:44 pm

I had a great time this burn talking to people I didn't know. BM is the perfect place to meet and talk to complete strangers, and get to know people you somewhat know better. I am disappointed that I didn't go to the meet and greet to run into familiar internet faces. Cooking a meal that night for others took priority though; if you feed them, they will come.

I also perfected the grocery cart dance, and taught it to at least one person. It has never looked so good, thanks in part to all about the tips to remember to shake that ass, and move those feet so you're not just a tree, even if a multi-rooted tree. Shake that ass, shake those shoulders, and befriend strangers as best you can!
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Maizie » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:41 am

I went into this burn absolutely dreading volunteering at my CORE project because I am pretty shy and always feel super awkward talking to strangers, and I was worried about being easily overwhelmed by the sheer number of people at Burning Man. (I kept joking with my friends that I had scheduled time at the trash fence into my burn, just because I figured I would get overwhelmed and need to be AWAY from things . . . as it turned out, I did just find and never even made it out into the deep playa.)

Turns out that volunteering with the project was totally the best thing I could have done for myself. Everybody that stopped by our effigy wanted to know things about it, or wanted to know what region we represented (Saskatchewan, not Kansas!), or wanted to talk about how the burn was going, and all in all, it was a really, really easy way for me to get comfortable talking with people.

I won't go so far as to say that I was the epitome of outgoingness and extroversion, because I totally wasn't, but it really helped to start breaking me out of my shell.

So yeah -- see if your regional group is doing an art project or something you can volunteer with! You will make friends with people in your region that you maybe wouldn't know otherwise, plus it gives you something to talk about to new people when you're at the event!
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Radical Self » Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:28 pm

Excellent post! If only this "shy guy" had read it BEFORE his first burn. But the Playa taught me these lessons the hard way. :)

The one which I can wholeheartedly second is to FLOAT MORE AND STEER LESS. I went with a full calendar, every appointment made. I was prepared. I was going to experience it all, on schedule, on time. Then... the Playa made it so most of the seminars I scheduled were cancelled, postponed, or changed. It was what I discovered along the way that was the most interesting, and by my last day I found myself being completely spontaneous, going where the winds took me. Burn the controls!

And next year I will go to bed early (with fat earplugs!) and get up early, because I found out that the most magical moments I had were just before sunrise on the Playa. The cool desert breeze has a calming, centering effect. And Center Camp Cafe in the morning is the most spirit-filled place I have ever been - full of awakening, smiles, energy, and awareness. Thanks to all those who created this spiritual space.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby BBadger » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:47 am

I think I went to one thing that was scheduled in that little book, and regretted not going to another (the become a Gnome event). My friends thought it was cool that I actually went to one off on my own when everybody else had gone to something I had slept through. I think each of us in my sub-camp group went off to something alone, which was kind of neat.

In the end, the Hand Job hand cleaning/massage which made my hands semi-clean for all of about 2 minutes, after which the lotion attracted more dust than before I arrived. Despite that, it did create extra interaction: I did talk to quite a few people in line who I never ran into again. Standing in line is a sure-fire way to easily talk to people who have at least one shared interest: whatever the line is for.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby swampdog » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:41 pm

This year I came to the realization that I am NOT shy, at least not at Burning Man. Funny how difficult it can be to shed outdated self images.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby keyring » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:49 am

brody and swampdog's post are fantastic. Thank you! One of the things I found extremely refreshing at Burning Man is that you really can be whoever you want to be for a week. No one will know the difference. I can be shy sometimes, too, and so all of your wonderful posts have really spoken to my heart. You can fool yourself by doing the things you most fear. Like smiling...if you do it all day long your brain becomes convinced that you are happy. If you put yourself in that danger zone of initiating conversations with people, you brain becomes convinced you are sociable and fun. I really can't think of an easier place to make conversations than at Burning Man. There's so much to comment on, talk about, enquire about, and unlike the world where i come from (east coast), very few people will ever brush off your conversation starter with disinterest, or make you feel like your conversations are boring. You are beautiful, you are fun, you are unique...celebrate yourself, enjoy yourself, and let tears of joy roll down your cheeks when you finally become aware that fear is liar, and that the world is waiting for your contribution. Yeahhh! I love all you generous souls out there who have befriended me and given me a voice. Big hugs...
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby SouthernExposure » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:38 pm

chrysalis wrote:Thanks so much for this great post! I am definitely one of your shy peeps and because of that, last year, I spent a lot of time just kind of hanging around and hanging back. This year things will be different!

I would like to report that Chrysalis made good on her resolution to be much more open, involved and exploratory this year. I think that she actually had a lot of fun, judging by her facebook photos and the great stories that she had when we would meet back at the camp. Well down!

SE
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Foxfur » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:54 pm

I had a great time out there! Getting to know so many of you here helped tremendously and really got me ready. Bringing a crapload of outfits & accessories was a great help too. I conciously avoided drugs and booze (not preaching, I support everyone's right to get boosted or buzzed!) and did none the worse for it. I had some of the deepest and most meaningful conversations of my life with folks I'd never even met online. Conversations where I discussed issues that I probably wouldn't even with discuss close default friends. The decision to do so made a huge difference not just in my burn but in my life as well.
Wednesday evening I decided to strike out on my own. I put on my camo skirt, combat boots, vest, shoulder pads, and kevlar helmet (spray painted shiny gold), tied my Domo backpack to the handlebars, and rode out to the man. I stopped by one of the four fire cauldrons and started a conversation with a couple. Then I kept moving from cauldron to cauldron repeating it. It was a great evening and resulted in meeting some amazing burners. Every time I thought to myself that I shouldn't talk to this or that person, I used that hesitation as motivation and talked to that person. Almost nobody is unapproachable and almost everyone enjoys being engaged in conversation. Just think how you feel when someone approaches you and wants to talk to you. Most people feel the exact same positive and happy way!
Would I have had an ok time had I not gone outside my comfort zone? Certainly. Instead, I had a burn that was far better than ok, it was fantastic!
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Lassen Forge » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:59 pm

What's even better was we (no, I) got to meet one of the most amazing people I ever met on the playa. Sure, I meet a lot of amazing people on playa, but meeting you, FF, was over the top!!! And I can't really see you as shy... maybe a little withdrawn, but that's why we love having you drawn and quartered, er, drawn out!

(And hell, you ad your classy legwear started a new fashion trend while you were there... --giggles-- )
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby graidawg » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:05 pm

I had moments of almost painful shyness on the playa, which was a strange experience for me. Sometimes i just stood and watched as things happenned all round me. i have got so very used to not being part of whats going on sometimes it was difficult to remember it was my party too. Some of the people i really wanted to meet i just didnt go looking for because they where a little intimidating in there awesomeness. Some of the things i wanted to do i didnt because it was just far from my comfort zone or i didnt know how to ask.
when the man burnt i got seperated from my friends, like they just dissapeared. i felt so lonely in the crowd and a little scared I forgot how to approach people so i went back to the camp alone, nobody was there. So i sat on my own for an hour or so. I even thought I would do what i normally do what then happens ( far too often ) and drink myself into oblivion but one bloody mary later It just didnt feel right. Not knowing what else to do i went to bed alone.
it was the only time at BRC i felt like i do most of the time. isolated and unsure. when i got up on the sunday everyone else was so high from the great time they had I didnt know what to do or say. I spent most of the sunday wondering what happenned, I guess the shy side of me most people never see just decided it was time for me to be alone.
I felt quite sad that the part of the party we all went to i missed. still do in fact.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Drawingablank » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:09 pm

I am normally fairly shy and really detest crowds, but made it a point to force myself be a bit more outgoing at the burn and even a bit more outgoing on the way there with other obvious burners. Even still, I was a bit awkward and uncomfortable the first few days.

Tip 1: Offer to help neighbors to set up camp - its a great ice breaker even if they decline help (this has been mentioned before, but is probably the easiest way i have found for shy people to meet folks).

But sometimes, try as you might you cannot overcome that shyness. Counter to what I expected, at the Meet and Greet I was initially very intimidated by the crowd and my normally not shy wife was very uncomfortable as she had less in common among our eplaya group than with total strangers since we all had some common ground. Although I made a supreme effort to circulate and socialize, we were still feeling a bit awkward when about halfway through the M&G Bay Bridge Sue came up and made us feel really welcome (thank you BBS for that and for bestowing playa names). After that things seemed to just click into place and the rest of the M&G and the week was magical.

So Tip 2: Sometimes no amount of force will overcome that shyness and you just have to let the playa work its magic.

Although I may withdraw a bit in the default world, I don't think I will ever be that shy at a burn again.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Foxfur » Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:54 am

Bay Bridge Sue wrote:What's even better was we (no, I) got to meet one of the most amazing people I ever met on the playa. Sure, I meet a lot of amazing people on playa, but meeting you, FF, was over the top!!! And I can't really see you as shy... maybe a little withdrawn, but that's why we love having you drawn and quartered, er, drawn out!

(And hell, you ad your classy legwear started a new fashion trend while you were there... --giggles-- )

Ah Sue, my lovely Sue...
The kiss we shared right before my exodus still has my toes curled... Moon and stars, you are a special woman!
Legwear! I don't remember wearing anything on my legs... Does fluid running down my leg count? :oops:
Next year my dear, it cannot come soon enough.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby C.f.M. » Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:56 am

Foxfur wrote:
Bay Bridge Sue wrote:What's even better was we (no, I) got to meet one of the most amazing people I ever met on the playa. Sure, I meet a lot of amazing people on playa, but meeting you, FF, was over the top!!! And I can't really see you as shy... maybe a little withdrawn, but that's why we love having you drawn and quartered, er, drawn out!

(And hell, you ad your classy legwear started a new fashion trend while you were there... --giggles-- )

Ah Sue, my lovely Sue...
The kiss we shared right before my exodus still has my toes curled... Moon and stars, you are a special woman!
Legwear! I don't remember wearing anything on my legs... Does fluid running down my leg count? :oops:
Next year my dear, it cannot come soon enough.


Apparently, though, you can.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Foxfur » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:08 pm

C.f.M. wrote:
Foxfur wrote:
Bay Bridge Sue wrote:What's even better was we (no, I) got to meet one of the most amazing people I ever met on the playa. Sure, I meet a lot of amazing people on playa, but meeting you, FF, was over the top!!! And I can't really see you as shy... maybe a little withdrawn, but that's why we love having you drawn and quartered, er, drawn out!

(And hell, you ad your classy legwear started a new fashion trend while you were there... --giggles-- )

Ah Sue, my lovely Sue...
The kiss we shared right before my exodus still has my toes curled... Moon and stars, you are a special woman!
Legwear! I don't remember wearing anything on my legs... Does fluid running down my leg count? :oops:
Next year my dear, it cannot come soon enough.


Apparently, though, you can.

And you, my pretty, are now milking it as well...
He didn't really say that, did he?
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby BBadger » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:46 pm

graidawg wrote:when the man burnt i got seperated from my friends, like they just dissapeared. i felt so lonely in the crowd and a little scared I forgot how to approach people so i went back to the camp alone, nobody was there. So i sat on my own for an hour or so. I even thought I would do what i normally do what then happens ( far too often ) and drink myself into oblivion but one bloody mary later It just didnt feel right. Not knowing what else to do i went to bed alone.
it was the only time at BRC i felt like i do most of the time. isolated and unsure. when i got up on the sunday everyone else was so high from the great time they had I didnt know what to do or say. I spent most of the sunday wondering what happenned, I guess the shy side of me most people never see just decided it was time for me to be alone.
I felt quite sad that the part of the party we all went to i missed. still do in fact.


Yeah, that's pretty rough, and I know that feeling. It's like eating lunch alone in high school--that feeling of (self-)imposed abandonment. Not too sure what you could've done. It is hard to just show up some place, alone, and try to engage with people. It's easier on MVs if you can hitch a ride on one, but of course that's not what you really want: you want to meet up with your friends. Perhaps you could have ridden around to see if you can find the others in your group (i.e. making yourself busy) or visit center camp (again, an attempt to fill that time and social void). Ultimately, I probably would've gone to bed too, while trying to convince myself that I "need it."

I was fortunate enough to always be with a close knit group of friends the entire burn--the same group from the previous year. No matter where the rest of the camp was, I was always with them. There were many times where I nearly got lost, only to have a friend come back and locate me. It's a great feeling, of relief and friendship; I'm saddened it wasn't one you had in that time at the burn. It's a DAMN big place, and that feeling of getting lost and disconnected... it's a huge sinking feeling that'll tarnish any night. Hopefully, this next year you'll have some backup plans, people, and camps if anything goes wrong.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Lassen Forge » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:27 pm

THIS is the magic of the playa... those who would never have said something before, now it flows off the tip of the... yeppers.

(And yes, it appears you DID say that, komrade... seems we will have need for extreme interrogations at the doom dome next year.... heh heh heh... along with pulling other... shenanigans... ;) )
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby illy dilly » Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:09 pm

graidawg wrote:I had moments of almost painful shyness on the playa, which was a strange experience for me. Sometimes i just stood and watched as things happenned all round me. i have got so very used to not being part of whats going on sometimes it was difficult to remember it was my party too. Some of the people i really wanted to meet i just didnt go looking for because they where a little intimidating in there awesomeness. Some of the things i wanted to do i didnt because it was just far from my comfort zone or i didnt know how to ask.
when the man burnt i got seperated from my friends, like they just dissapeared. i felt so lonely in the crowd and a little scared I forgot how to approach people so i went back to the camp alone, nobody was there. So i sat on my own for an hour or so. I even thought I would do what i normally do what then happens ( far too often ) and drink myself into oblivion but one bloody mary later It just didnt feel right. Not knowing what else to do i went to bed alone.
it was the only time at BRC i felt like i do most of the time. isolated and unsure. when i got up on the sunday everyone else was so high from the great time they had I didnt know what to do or say. I spent most of the sunday wondering what happenned, I guess the shy side of me most people never see just decided it was time for me to be alone.
I felt quite sad that the part of the party we all went to i missed. still do in fact.

G-Dawg, I'm really sorry this happened.
Its happened to me before on playa, and it totally sucks!
The only suggestion I would have made in years past would be "head to the Booby Bar" There almost always seems to be at least 1 eplayan at the Booby bar. But again, you were looking for your friends, not just "people to be around"
But since this is their last year, I suppose it doesn't matter much anyway.

I guess I have one more word of advise (this is a trick I was taught as a kid by my folks, and works well at Burning Man) when you walk up to one of the big events or sound camps with a large group, before you really get into the thick of things, find some sort of land mark. When you've found something stop their take a break, have a smoke and look around. We like to use Porta Potties, random art pieces, anything that wont move off. Then mention and quickly discuss this is our meeting spot if we get separated.

I'm really sorry your burn night turned out that way.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby BBadger » Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:24 am

My friend had us use a "bird call" (caw caw) as a method to get attention of the rest of the group, or signal that people should slow down or find the main group. It's hard to hear it in a situation like a burn, but it helps when traversing the streets, especially on bikes.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby MOOP_Nazi » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:53 am

I know that I can be shy in certain situations, but if I have a "job" to do my shyness flys out the window. So my remedy for my standard social awkwardness and shyness was to go completely batshit with volunteering and participation. Anybody who camped with me at Apkiliptika would probably never guess that I can suffer from debilitating shyness due to my constant activity. I was either volunteering, DJing, building, cleaning, or whatever for months leading to and through the burn in 05. I met a shitload of great people in all areas of the BM experience from DPW weekends, to the people who gave me my first playa home at Apokiliptika. Just my two cents.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby lazerfox » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:10 am

I'm a shy one...mostly because I hate to intrude on others people's space.

And when you have to literally walk in to a camp to even try to interact with people you don't know :shock:

I had a schedule...and didn't realize most of the things I wanted to attend where pretty late at night. (Read: music artists) Anything that was in the evening (minus 1 thing that changed due to my BF wanting to visit his sister) I made it out to...but I didn't make it to a single artist that I wanted to see and maybe this limited my interaction with more people whom I had a common interest with. I barely even got to interact with any hoopers. And one was a terrible-no good-bad interaction that made not want to interact with any others that I did not previously know for days.

My mornings were when I did my exploring and got to know my camp mates better. (GO ORPHANS!!! Woot Woot!!)
But I really did feel a wall when it came to talking to strangers inside their camps. (Terminal City didn't count since I felt I would know at least one person *cough*CFM*cough*)
I wanted to do mail delivery but I found the post office once on my way to camp and could not stop...and proceeded to not be able to return again.

This will definitely be on my to do list right with the Artery Art tour.

Seems I will also be giving tours of Terminal City to any interested parties with worthy schwag :twisted:
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby lucky420 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:24 am

awww damn graidawg, I spent the burn alone too. Wish I would've known, we could've joined up and I bet we would've had a blast. I did alot of stuff out there this year on my own. It was good for me because as outgoing as I may seem to some I can be really quite introverted when I am alone. It was also kind of scary at times, but what was I gonna do? Sit in my yurt all the time. Fuck that! I'm going out there and meet some fuckers and talk to some fuckers :lol: Of course having my little mobile booze cart helped out and I did meet some wonderful fuckers.

I kind of think of this year as a rite of passage for me. My kids are grown and even though we're close as hell, well times they are a changing. I also turned 1/2 a hundred this year too :P . I'm trying to think positive on this and consider this part of my life as a second childhood (but way smarter this time).

Next year graidawg...
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby lazerfox » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:36 am

lucky420 if I get to go next year it will more than likely be solo. Could I join you and Graiwdaig? We could make 3 signs and carry them around our waists :D

Also, I wish we had hung out more. Did you ever get your French Quarter schwag? (It seems I will never get my Temple schwag so I hope you had better luck than I)
"being the change we want to see "like Gandhi with glow sticks" ~ Caveat Magister
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby lucky420 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:31 am

Of course you can! We could be the 3 Muskateers... I wish we would've hung out more too.

Yes I did get my french quarter necklace. I caught Lucifer in the nick of time. I had gone over there several times throughout the burn asking for Lucifer. That was pretty funny in itself :lol: Hopefully your temple necklace will find it's way to you.
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