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 ygmir » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:01 am

Ugly Dougly wrote:
wh..sh wrote:
BBadger wrote:If your first instinct is to refuse it, that is a sign you need to do the opposite of your instinct. It reminds me of George on that show Seinfeld and George doing everything opposite of his instinct and it working out:

"If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right."

:lol:
I was questioning my instincts the whole of last year because it seemed like I wasn't having fun like others. Cultural differences were staring at my face and it seemed like it would be wise thing to adapt. This year's burn was simply great because it helped me understand the basic fact that I am where I need to be, even if I can't seem to belong.


Imagine one of us wandering around a festival in India, delightfully confused. ;) Sometimes that culture shock can be delicious.



I'd love to try it!!
*holds hand out for Dougly*
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby wh..sh » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:00 am

ygmir wrote:I can't imagine, you not "belonging"........people love you here. You fit nicely.

Thanks ygmir! Funny that persception can be so far off from reality.

Ugly Dougly wrote:Imagine one of us wandering around a festival in India, delightfully confused. ;) Sometimes that culture shock can be delicious.

Yes, absolutely! I enjoy culture shock to weird extremes :)
To be fair, US culture wasn't really alien to us. Some of us spent most of 1990s and 2000s watching all sort of American TV shows. The first 2 years in the US was a breeze.
I enjoyed the culture shock, deliciously! After 3-4 years of culture watching, one is often encouraged to leave the spectator role behind. It has been a one hell of a roller coaster ride since then!
It's hard to explain some of this to myself. I catch myself struggling to make friends (which I believe shouldn't be THIS hard).
Sure, I have met great people and made acquaintances, but haven't made any real good "4 AM friends". I really miss that!
I am sure culture is only a small part of it. I might have picked up some fancy personality disorder over the years.

BBadger wrote:You? Can't seem to belong? That's crazy talk. You must've completed the transformation before I ran into you this year.

:D I am not shy (you know this better than anyone else), yet, something seems to be wrong... weird, huh?

I am not trying to roll in self-pity. It does feels good to admit some of these shortcomings... on the World Wide Web (it's now official!).
It's just that sometimes it's just not about wearing cool stuff and smiling. I haven't really gotten much far with that, to be honest.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Savannah » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:03 am

graidawg wrote:
Savannah wrote:Please don't force me to argue with you, Grai. :) It cuts into my precious daily allotment of thread drifting time.

These good people said it better already . . .



see? now i feel BAD :oops:


I don't think you can tell when I'm giving you a smile and an elbow in the ribs, which is pretty much always. <-- this is truth.

Stop feeling bad! Or I'll give you something to cry about. <-- this is a lie.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby BBadger » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:59 am

wh..sh wrote:I am not trying to roll in self-pity. It does feels good to admit some of these shortcomings... on the World Wide Web (it's now official!).
It's just that sometimes it's just not about wearing cool stuff and smiling. I haven't really gotten much far with that, to be honest.


Yup, but that is pretty normal really, and I doubt it's a cultural thing. Most people will ever only know about 3-5 (if that) close friends--the kind that you'd trust to help you "get rid of a body" literally or figuratively--in their lifetimes. Some (most?) marriages are between people who aren't even that close.

I know that I'm still not sure if I'm willing to reveal much vulnerability with my friends, though the burns have helped with that.

No expectations!
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby daydreamer » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:11 pm

This is not exactly BM, but fits the discussion. I recently divorced a woman who was self-centered and defensive, rarely speaking from her heart. She kept many thoughts and memories secret from me, which is what destroyed our marriage. I resolved to insist on totally open and honest communication in my next relationship. After meeting half a dozen women via POF, I met a lady that attracted me due to her saying she wants to make a difference, and there was a hint of mystic awe.

I did take the risk of being totally open, telling her what I thought she needed to know about me, including some past mistakes. She responded to my openness by talking about her own life at a much deeper level than she is used to. It even scared us some, how quickly we shared our secrets, but doing so quickly created a bond, which was reinforced by cuddling. It is so fun seeing her bursting out of her shell and revealing herself to me (mentally). Me taking the risk of trusting her and being open, allowed her to do the same. We are now both talking of our hopes and dreams, and planning how we can help each be happy. I made a special friend, and we will be at the burn next year for sure!

Shyness is a good defense at times, but in my experience wasn't an active enough emotion to be effective at getting what I wanted. I don't want people to help me because they feel sorry for me. I want to be helpful too, which is a lot more fun for everybody.

Trusting someone else frees you. Fear is the destroyer (from Dune)
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby graidawg » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:17 pm

BBadger wrote:
wh..sh wrote:I am not trying to roll in self-pity. It does feels good to admit some of these shortcomings... on the World Wide Web (it's now official!).
It's just that sometimes it's just not about wearing cool stuff and smiling. I haven't really gotten much far with that, to be honest.


Yup, but that is pretty normal really, and I doubt it's a cultural thing. Most people will ever only know about 3-5 (if that) close friends--the kind that you'd trust to help you "get rid of a body" literally or figuratively--in their lifetimes. Some (most?) marriages are between people who aren't even that close.

I know that I'm still not sure if I'm willing to reveal much vulnerability with my friends, though the burns have helped with that.

No expectations!


before burning man i knew exactly 1 person who i trusted to help get rid of a body. now if i needed a hippy burying in the dust i am pretty sure i could ask about 50 people who would ask how, why, wtf? after the body was safely gone. i would say I have more true friends now than I ever have.
completely unconcerned.
"Savannah" I like it . . . it makes us sound forward-thinking, and not at all like trailblazing, professional-level procrastinors.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby BBadger » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:38 pm

graidawg wrote:before burning man i knew exactly 1 person who i trusted to help get rid of a body. now if i needed a hippy burying in the dust i am pretty sure i could ask about 50 people who would ask how, why, wtf? after the body was safely gone. i would say I have more true friends now than I ever have.


I don't know if it's really a high bar to meet finding someone--close friend or otherwise--to help get rid of a hippy body though... :wink:




I'd be more surprised that they asked me "why?"
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:00 pm

graidawg wrote:it was long and mostly sad explanation of why i said i will get more shy the more often i come to BM, the esence being the longer i know people the less they like me, so cut down on contact the longer we stay friends.

Try to see friendships as fluid, rather than set in stone. Margaret Mead had three divorces. She considered none of those marriages failures. If friends drift apart, other friendships will occur. But if you're clinging to the water it will just fall out of your fingers.

And you'd really have to work at it to fuck up some of those friendships...
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby latchseeker » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:24 pm

peacefulhuman wrote:And THEN I'll realize I've been muttering to myself in this self-conscious reverie and have no memory of the preceding 20 minutes. It's really scary when I come to this realization while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. :D

ahahhhaha after several attempts to discern the time of day from your watch
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Playafifi » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:52 pm

Pertaining to the theme of strangers being friends you haven't met yet, here's a poetic take on it. Burning Man has been such a transformative place for this shy person (who likes poetry and stuff).



Meeting the Light Completely

by Jane Hirshfield

Even the long-beloved
was once
an unrecognized stranger.

Just so,
the chipped lip
of a blue-glazed cup,
blown field
of a yellow curtain,
might also,
flooding and falling,
ruin your heart.

A table painted with roses.
An empty clothesline.

Each time,
the found world surprises—
that is its nature.

And then
what is said by all lovers:
"What fools we were, not to have seen."
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby ladyasteria » Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:43 pm

Hi! My name is Asteria and I am a socially anxious (sometimes known as 'shy') Burner!

My favoritest way of interacting with other people in BRC is to walk around until I find someone whose outfit I like. Then it is just a matter of walking past that person, flashing a gorgeous smile, and shouting 'I like your (insert item of clothing here)!' And then you just keep walking. There is no commitment to keep talking to that person. But you probably just made their day/night. And knowing that you made them happy should make you happy. It's a happy feedback loop!
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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Postby edbrez » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:17 pm

swampdog wrote:great post, Brody, thanks.

My name is Swampdog and I'm shy. (hi Swampdog)

Burning Man is my great laboratory of how to get over being shy. Last year I was pretty outrageous in a couple of ways and it worked for me. I look forward to being OUT THERE this year.

Some ideas. Try playing a role. This is hard to describe without sounding silly, but it works. Some volunteer opportunities could help with that. Be a disgruntled postal worker, or a happy greeter. Be Captain Fabulous and strut your stuff around the cafe.

Compliment people. Be specific (ie, "Wow, I really like that hat!" instead of "looking good there!"

Try not to be afraid to be who you are. You don't need to figure out who society wants you to pretend to be. Not at Burning Man.

Ask for things. Ask for directions, or suggestions. Ask for a drink of water. You know how good you feel when you give something away? If you let people give you things, you get to make them feel good.

Show your appreciation for a gift.

Look for opportunities to give things. It doesn't have to be a Gift, some piece of unique art that you made especially for that person. It can be - a helping hand, a moment of appreciation, a moment of listening and support.

A friend of mine said she learned at burning man that it's usually ok to walk up to someone or some group and say, "Hey, what are you freaks doing?"

Let yourself be alone when you need to be alone. Meditate at the temple (all those people go away when you shut your eyes) or out in deep playa.

Expect a little loneliness. It gets better. Cry when you have to.


Your a genuine spirit, nice honest representation of the emotional rollercoaster that is Burning Man...
between yourself and Brody, I get a good understanding of some of the challenges to face and overcome and the opportunities that are there on the playa if willing to see them :)

Its daunting but also intriguing
"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man" Dr Johnson
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby graidawg » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:58 pm

BBadger wrote:
graidawg wrote:before burning man i knew exactly 1 person who i trusted to help get rid of a body. now if i needed a hippy burying in the dust i am pretty sure i could ask about 50 people who would ask how, why, wtf? after the body was safely gone. i would say I have more true friends now than I ever have.


I don't know if it's really a high bar to meet finding someone--close friend or otherwise--to help get rid of a hippy body though... :wink:




I'd be more surprised that they asked me "why?"



I do have 3 friends whose nickname is hippy, its not seen as such an insult in other social circles.
completely unconcerned.
"Savannah" I like it . . . it makes us sound forward-thinking, and not at all like trailblazing, professional-level procrastinors.
the rest of us are in the School of Fukkit. "Eric"
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Milayna » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:25 pm

This thread really helped me this year. I remembered many things that have been said here, one of the biggest was to compliment things that you see that you like. I started many lovely conversations this way. Also, I made a rule for myself that if something appealed to me but made me uncomfortable I would go for it. I stuck to this rule and it REALLY made my week amazing. It's intimidating being in BRC for the first time, but this thread gives many tips that make it easier! :)
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Savannah » Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:53 pm

Milayna wrote:This thread really helped me this year. I remembered many things that have been said here, one of the biggest was to compliment things that you see that you like. I started many lovely conversations this way. Also, I made a rule for myself that if something appealed to me but made me uncomfortable I would go for it. I stuck to this rule and it REALLY made my week amazing. It's intimidating being in BRC for the first time, but this thread gives many tips that make it easier! :)


That's wonderful! :D

. . . Maybe complimenting people goes especially well 'cause almost everything out there takes a lot of effort. A strong, well-designed camp takes work. Art takes a lot of work, and a piece of someone's soul. If an intricate costume is amazing, someone may have spent many hours on it. Cooking a nice meal takes more work. And so on . . .
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby BBadger » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:04 pm

Remember that compliments carry more weight if they're detailed. So be specific about what you like, or the interaction will usually end in a quick "thanks".

Conversely, if you receive a vague compliment, you can ask the person what they like about it. Sometimes people need that positive reaction and prompting to get them out of that shell.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby bertramlady » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:42 pm

Great suggestions!!! As a virgin attending this year, I too have wondered if I'll be shy. Sometimes I am, sometimes I'm not. All I know is that I'm going with a very open mind, warm heart, and lots of curiosity :wink:
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby edbrez » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:50 am

bertramlady wrote:Great suggestions!!! As a virgin attending this year, I too have wondered if I'll be shy. Sometimes I am, sometimes I'm not. All I know is that I'm going with a very open mind, warm heart, and lots of curiosity :wink:


I think that's all you need :)
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby canexplain » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:27 pm

I do have 3 friends whose nickname is hippy, its not seen as such an insult in other social circles.

Yea it's not so much the case as it used to be but I always loved when people call me hippy and think they are insulting me. Thanks for the complement..:0. I don't think I am shy but sometimes I come off as unfriendly but I love people. I am going to work on that. I am always smiling inside, but I need to show it on the outside. cr****
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby canexplain » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:42 pm

Here's me smiling ....told ya ........but if you see me, come up and say hey because that's how i really feel. You can see my gf has no problem smiling :) cr****

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Savannah » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:54 am

Great pic. :D
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby missprism » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:41 pm

i am nervous about this too. i am one of those shy extroverts...quiet, non-smiling observer until i connect with someone and then its BLAH BLAH BLAH WHEEE! i've always kinda been on the outskirts of people- not much in common with my peers.a lot of my closest friends originated through internet forums where i felt comfortable enough to open up.

this is part of the reasons i'm coming to burning man. it's a safety zone to meet new people. it's a safe place to smile!

i am nervous about a "clique-ish" aspect... a lot of people will be coming in big groups..a lot of people who i might not necessarily have much in common with in the outside world. however, i choose to believe that the unique environment of BM exists because everyone wills it to be so.

i may be going alone. i might be going with a couple of folks. either way- i am absolutely as excited to make new friends as am i to see art, dance parties, costumes.. i have my fears- i'm too fat, too awkward, not enough of a steampunk or raver or tribal leather person, blah blah.

pass the vodka. hello playa!
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Nipple » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:01 am

Steampunk Raver was last year.

This year's best dressed is Zeppelin Minstrel.

You sound like you'll be just fine out there.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby AdamOfTheRedEarth » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:32 am

Last year was my first year at Burning Man and it really opened me up. My advice is just to let your guard down and accept the fact that you're not longer on planet Earth but on planet Burning Man where everyone loves you and wants to talk with you and be your friend. It sounds corny but that was my experience with 98% of the people there, the other 2% were easy enough to forget and move on.

Specific tips:

1. A smile goes a long way! Smile like you have a bomb that will go off and kill you if you stop.

2. This is something I struggle with in 'real life' but give lots of hugs. I never got turned down for a single hug the whole time I was there, probably hugged at least 300 complete strangers who all of a sudden weren't strangers anymore.

3. Have an outfit that stands out from the crowd and it's amazing how many people will just come up to you and want to talk with you. Be unique, try to do something new. It's a great way to score gifts too, I was gifted a bottle of beer at the temple, a sweet necklace of bullet shells, plus many more gifts and offered some gifts that I had to refuse (you can guess what they were).

4. For me personally, a little alcohol really loosens me up, I"m sure I'm not the only one! :lol:

5. If you're into dancing, go to one of the sound camps or anywhere people are dancing. Find someone that interests you and compliment them on how good of a dancer they are. Another thing I had good success and tons of fun with was to ask people to teach me a dance move.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:45 am

Drop your expectations in the dust.
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby edbrez » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:14 pm

To be honest my main concern is being able to open up to complete strangers :(
I am going for a particular personal reason but that is only part of the experience and something I do not want to dwell on when I get out there.

I'll be there on my lonesome and I just hope I can find some like minded people to buzz with over the course of the week.
Its hard enough in the default world to interact with people, between the daily commute and a tiring day in work energy levels can be low enough that its easier to just go about your business and forget to look around and interact with people. Its a bad habit but sometimes a necessary one.
I'm unfortunate enough to be overly self-conscious at times and although I will interact with people I will put my foot in it and come across as a dork :oops:
It is not part of my skill set, the gift of the gab :(

With the introduction of alcohol and/or etc etc
Image
I become quite the opposite to my normal self-conscious reserved self and morph into a quite chatty smiley outgoing character
I'd love to be confident enough to feel that way all the time but my mind can get the better of me and hold me back.
Its just breaking the ice is difficult I guess, hopefully everyone feels something similar and we are all being awkward and paranoid for no reason :D

Either way I'll be there, Jekyll or Hyde...
I can overcome self doubt and insecurities and let myself enjoy the experience fully :D
I'll pack a suitcase just in case :wink:
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby Milayna » Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:00 pm

2012 was my virgin year, and I had MANY of the same concerns expressed here before I went, but I made a rule for myself that if something appealed to me but I was hesitant about it (like talking to that cool looking stranger over there) then I would force myself to do it. I stuck to this rule the whole week and it REALLY worked out well.

Also, something that was interesting to me and that I didn't expect was how much I enjoyed venturing out alone. I would say 90% of my week was spent exploring the playa solo, but of course I met tons of people every time I was out so I wasn't really "alone" I just didn't head out of camp with someone. In fact on most of the trips that started out solo I ended up meeting and spending several hours with one or two people I met along the way. The randomness of it actually made it feel serendipitous many times, like I was supposed to meet certain people out there.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby trilobyte » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:53 am

That's awesome, Milayna! I've really come to enjoy solo adventures as well, so much playadipity :)
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby edbrez » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:23 pm

Milayna wrote:2012 was my virgin year, and I had MANY of the same concerns expressed here before I went, but I made a rule for myself that if something appealed to me but I was hesitant about it (like talking to that cool looking stranger over there) then I would force myself to do it. I stuck to this rule the whole week and it REALLY worked out well.

Also, something that was interesting to me and that I didn't expect was how much I enjoyed venturing out alone. I would say 90% of my week was spent exploring the playa solo, but of course I met tons of people every time I was out so I wasn't really "alone" I just didn't head out of camp with someone. In fact on most of the trips that started out solo I ended up meeting and spending several hours with one or two people I met along the way. The randomness of it actually made it feel serendipitous many times, like I was supposed to meet certain people out there.


cool, thanks for that
Funny you always second guess yourself when thinking about something too much. I know once im committed I will cope just fine.
I think I'll follow your advice and just approach what interests me with an open mind and a smile :D
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Postby tamarakay » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:24 pm

Some people also confuse shy with private.

My socially anxious spouse has really loosened up since we started going to the burn. He is still extremely private. Unfortunately he's married to me, and I tend to blab. However, he's gotten better at saying "hey! that's private." Still undecided on if that is really a good thing or not.
When the only tool you got is a hammer, every problem looks like a hippie.

Mmmmmm I love the smell of Burning Man Token


http://www.dyewithdignity.com
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tamarakay
 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:27 pm
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Burning Since: 2011
Camp Name: Dye with Dignity at BDC

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