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 johnphoton » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:54 pm

My first thought when I saw this thread was, "Just grow a pair or have a few drinks. What's the big deal?"

But then my empathetic side opened up a crack as I remembered the fact that I was way too shy to ask a girl out up until I was well into college my college years. So yeah, I've been there. Here's my advice:

- Burning Man is the easiest place on Earth to talk to someone. Everyone, except for lesbians at lesbian camp if you're a guy, is so open to connection and conversation. For a shy person in a social environment, Burning Man is like training wheels for a bike. Seriously.

- No matter how you see yourself, there's plenty of people out there who think you're cool and interesting. Sometimes it's hard to approach people because you think that you don't fit in for whatever reason. Okay so maybe the hot blonde with the daisy dukes may not be charmed by your homespun looks, but his dark-haired quiet friend may think you're the fucking bomb.

- Okay, I waited until my third bullet to post this, but really it should be number one. Just have a few drinks for fuck's sake. No need to get hammered, but a couple of drinks always make the tongue more nimble. Here's the deal though - if you can talk to people after a couple of drinks - you can talk to people. You'll hopefully soon realize don't need the alcohol to be the charming, witty, and dashing person that you long to be. In my case, I can now readily insult and offend people now whether I'm drunk or sober!

- In contention for number one on the list of ways to approach people, take a picture. Don't be a creeper - just go straight up to someone and ask to take their photo. 99% of the time, they'll say yes. There's a reason why photographers get the girls. And girls, if you want to make a guy's day, just take his picture - no need to ask.

- Forget the stupid lines, the gifting, the questions and just say hi. If the other person finds you at all interesting, the both of you will find something to talk about. If the other person doesn't find you interesting, no worries, there's plenty of fish in the sea.

- Dress for success. So often shy people dress to match the wall. It's Burning Man, all the rules go out the window. If you've got it, show it! What you wear is the conversation starter.

- The number one most attractive quality to other people is confidence. You can talk to whomever you like so long as you just own it. You can say the stupidest thing you can think of but if you say it in a way that makes people believe it, you're golden.

- Don't be creepy. Just be open, honest and not too serious. People connect with a friendly smile and a laugh.

- Guys, just because a girl talks to you or touches you doesn't mean that she's attracted to you. Just be open to the connection and see where it goes. Girls, just because a guy sleeps with you doesn't mean that he wants to talk to you. Just be open to having sex and then just going.

Okay, that's it for now!
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby laffingblonde » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:41 pm

bring silly things to give as gifts. it's an easy conversation starter. my pockets are always loaded with the goofiest objects i can amass. smile a lot.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Savannah » Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:57 pm

johnphoton wrote:- Guys, just because a girl talks to you or touches you doesn't mean that she's attracted to you. Just be open to the connection and see where it goes. Girls, just because a guy sleeps with you doesn't mean that he wants to talk to you. Just be open to having sex and then just going.


As opposed to . . . locking yourself in the cab of his truck and refusing to leave? 'Cause that would raises things to the level of Performance Art. :D
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby RedHeaven » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:07 pm

johnphoton wrote:
- Guys, just because a girl talks to you or touches you doesn't mean that she's attracted to you. Just be open to the connection and see where it goes. Girls, just because a guy sleeps with you doesn't mean that he wants to talk to you. Just be open to having sex and then just going.



Absolutely amazing advice
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby RedHeaven » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:11 pm

accordionMan wrote:
Also, when it comes to starting a conversation.... just be honest.



MOST of the time this is true, many times it is NOT.

Some asshole virgin (as opposed to awesome virgins) approached me last year and said, "Youre really cute even though you are chubby"
I was speechless
I felt my life energy sink deep into some abyss in the back of my mind filled with shit and hate.
Nothing came out but tears. I just sobbed.
My girl friend who was with me says "Who the FUCK do you think you are, asshole?"
The guy said "Its my first Burning Man, I thought I could express myself here and be honest to people"
My friend said "WELL YER DOIN' IT WRONG"

Honeset doesnt mean you can ruin someones day by saying something passive aggressive or just whatever is in your mind. Tact is still alive and well in BRC.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:33 pm

That's not honest. That's mean. Maybe he's just not very sure what honesty is and that's the best he could come up with. Maybe it was about his first steps beyond the the women that have been offered up as attractive via the media. But that's not honest, that's carrying the judgement--fuck, I don't have the words.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby wh..sh » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:09 pm

johnphoton wrote:- Dress for success. So often shy people dress to match the wall.

If you all don't see me at meet and greet, focus on the wall.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby wh..sh » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:19 pm

Maybe this year, we can all keep an eye out for shy people and reach out to them.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby BBadger » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:01 am

RedHeaven wrote:MOST of the time this is true, many times it is NOT.

Some asshole virgin (as opposed to awesome virgins) approached me last year and said, "Youre really cute even though you are chubby"


Hmm... I've heard almost that exact same story before from other people too (not at BM). Sometimes I wonder if those people are genuinely oblivious to the fact that they're being douchebags, like it's some sort of psychological defect.

wh..sh wrote:Maybe this year, we can all keep an eye out for shy people and reach out to them.


The irony for me is that I start feeling more shy about trying to approach them. I've gotta break out of that.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby BBadger » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:12 am

Something I'm going to try this year: asking other people if they can take my picture with my camera. Nice way to start a conversation and compliment their photography skills.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby wh..sh » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:30 am

BBadger wrote:
wh..sh wrote:Maybe this year, we can all keep an eye out for shy people and reach out to them.


The irony for me is that I start feeling more shy about trying to approach them. I've gotta break out of that.

I am not really a shy person because when I want to converse, I can. But, I am an introvert. Both can be mixed up for one another.
We all have something new to learn, I guess.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:45 am

I'm a suburban hermit, but I'll talk to anybody about anything! :lol:
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby skippy3k » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:13 am

BBadger wrote:Sometimes I wonder if those people are genuinely oblivious to the fact that they're being douchebags, like it's some sort of psychological defect.


It must be. I know of a person who says these things all the time and she's not even aware of it. She once told my wife "your pants don't fit as tight as they used to". My favorite was when she asked our gay co-worker "so, how long have you been gay?". She isn't trying to be insensitive, she just has no....couth, I think the word is. Doesn't mean her comments still don't hurt though.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:54 am

The hurt does not come from what someone says, it comes from what YOU THINK about what they said.

YOUR feelings come from YOUR thoughts.

I never say anything to intentionaly "hurt" anyones feelings (imposible) but have been attacked for what I thought were simple observations.

"You hurt my feelings."

"You make me so mad."

"You make me ___________."

It's all a fallicy that we have been programed to believe our whole lives.

We can practice thinking whatever we want about what someone says and our feelings will change with the thoughts.

This is a fact!!! (unless you have a chemical imbalance, which is rare.)

It takes practice to overcome this bullshit. 8)
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby skippy3k » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:46 am

FIGJAM wrote:The hurt does not come from what someone says, it comes from what YOU THINK about what they said.

YOUR feelings come from YOUR thoughts.


Point taken. However, this is similar to saying "the hurt does not come from someone punching you, it comes from the nerve endings TELLING YOU they punched you. YOUR pain come from YOUR brain." It doesn't mean your statement is not accurate, it just assumes an expectation of an extreme ZEN-like state many of us have not yet achieved in life.

Or to put it another way, sometimes shit hurts even when you know it shouldn't.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:25 pm

Not the same at all.

"Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me." is more than just a saying!

Physical assault=physical pain.

The only way words can hurt you is if you give those words power by your interpretation of them.

Words do not have power.

Example: Somebody says the most vile, hurtful, nasty things they can think of to you.

But they said them in a a language you don't understand.

You could'nt be "hurt" by those words cause you could'nt think about what was said to you.

Now lets say the same thing to 10 people in a language they can understand.

If words have power, all 10 should have the same reaction.

Don't bet on it!

Some may take it personally and hurt them selfs.

Some will think "I wonder what flew up his nose?"

Some will think "The mans a lunatic, I wonder where his meds are?"

Others may try to calm the poor soul down before his head explodes.

But it will ALL be based on what was THOUGHT about what was said.

There could be 1,000,000 reactions to the same words depending on what the idividual thinks about them.

Simple put: If you change what you think you WILL change what you feel.

So..........




Change your mind!


8) 8) 8)
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:26 pm

:oops: double post.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby David M » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:49 pm

This is from the "12 ways to treat an introvert" graphic that was going around a while back.

1. Respect their need for privacy.
2. Never embarrass them in public.
3. Let them observe first in new situations.
4. Give them time to think. Don’t demand instant answers.
5. Don’t interrupt them.
6. Give them advance notice of expected changes in their lives.
7. Give them 15 minute warnings to finish whatever they are doing.
8. Reprimand them privately.
9. Teach them new skills privately.
10. Enable them to find one best friend who has similar interests and abilities.
11. Don’t push them to make lot of friends.
12. Respect their introversion. Don’t try to remake them into extroverts.

As a shy person and an introvert, I can relate to what is being said here, especially number 12. I feel it is hard for extroverted people to understand shy people, and vice versa. I have to remind my wife sometimes that I am not comfortable being pushed into situations in which I will be uncomfortable. I am not looking for a cure for my shyness. I am comfortable and happy with who I am.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby wh..sh » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:52 pm

David, is that you? :P

David M wrote:Respect their introversion. Don’t try to remake them into extroverts.

As a shy person and an introvert, I can relate to what is being said here, especially number 12. I feel it is hard for extroverted people to understand shy people, and vice versa. I have to remind my wife sometimes that I am not comfortable being pushed into situations in which I will be uncomfortable. I am not looking for a cure for my shyness. I am comfortable and happy with who I am.

I agree. I am not the most social person, but I am happy with my zone and what I can or cannot do.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby David M » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:59 pm

GET BACK TO WORK!
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:02 pm

That did'nt sound shy at all!!!!! 8)
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:09 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Example: Somebody says the most vile, hurtful, nasty things they can think of to you.

But they said them in a a language you don't understand.

You could'nt be "hurt" by those words cause you could'nt think about what was said to you.

I'm all for CBT... but most of the information conveyed in human conformation isn't in the words, it's in the body language and tone of voice and facial expression. And we understand those on a visceral, pre-verbal level.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:17 pm

Samey same.

The action still has to be thought about to create any kind of emotion. 8)
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:22 pm

I'm going to say, no. We have some automatic sub-routines in our brains that greatly improved our chances of survival. The pertinent one in this case is "fight or flight". Believe me, if the alpha male in a troupe of hominids came at you very, very angry, you didn't waste time trying to figure out whether his intentions were friendly or not.
Which isn't to say that there isn't a great deal of misunderstanding of others.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:00 pm

Still disagree Fishy.

In some tribes a smile is a threatening gesture, but if you did'nt grow up in that culture, you would'nt know you were about to be denogginized.

Might fight or flight may be on the fritz as I have oft times been punched out becauce I did'nt see what would have been an obvious threat to somebody else.

To the extreeme that I would still be wondering why I was hit instead of getting angry or scared. :?

Those emotion are often pre-thought out so that they seem automatic.

Can't have a responce if a danger is not recognized.

Kids getting mauled because thier only exposure to wild animals have been disney movies.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:44 pm

Oh, it's complicated by factors such as those you mention, but I"m not wrong. I understand that a smile is a smile everywhere...


But we're going to have to agree to disagree.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:08 pm

Pax!

We'll stop drifting this thread and discuss it later if you like. :)

There are exeptions to every rule.

Thought cause feelings I would say 95% of the time.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Oldguy » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:24 pm

Practice smiling, :D people like happy people. :D " Good Morning, :D I like your...(ex. hat, dress, hairdo, stuff, art, etc.)... :D
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Foxfur » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:50 pm

I was throwing compliments to lovely ladies last year that I loved the (x, y, or z) they were wearing. 9 of 10 would at the very least smile, most would engage in a brief chat, and a couple became my partners in crime for the afternoon or evening.
The 1 in 10 who didn't smile would give a "Puhleeze" or a "I can't believe a guy in an orange vest, gold kevlar helmet, pink hot pants, and combat boots is even talking to me" kind of look my way.
In a fit of pique I responded to one of these pooptards with a "Ha! Kidding!" and got a sad look...
Yeah, it might have ruined their day a little bit but hey, it made me feel really good about myself and about coming out of my shell.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby beachlife » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:15 pm

I just wanted to say PROPS to those who are shy and headed to a festival with 50,000+ people. Good for you.
I use to be *very* introverted, without getting into why you, are I was, here a few tips to help on playa

- give compliments left and right, it puts me in a social mood. just make sure they are sincere.

- Hey, awesome hat.
- Love those boots
- cool outfit
- etc. of course assuming you do like their hat, boots, outfit

say it like you mean it, because you do.

If you're confidence is improving and shyness going away, try giving high fives, or hugs. Personally I'd *love* a hug from you! Could also try gifting something that you brought/made. Saying "Hello" to the person walking/standing next to you, or good morning to your neighbors are also good ways to combat shyness. If someone doesn't seem to receive your compliment/hug/gift - don't take it personally - they may not be ready for it, are having a bad day. who knows. As long as you're being sincere and genuine - that's all you can do.

For those who are looking for ways to get over shyness back in the default world. check out Toastmasters and/or an Improv class in your city. Lots of fun, and great and shedding shyness. There may even be an improv class or two on playa

Hope this helps

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