Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
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lazerfox
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by lazerfox » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:29 am

I didn't fake smiling...I do it uncontrollably...one of my faults/gifts.
It didn't help me much when I was in certain parts of the city.

It was pretty strange, I have no problem meeting new people in RL but that just wasn't the case at BM (with the exception of the people I had already had some form of contact in RL like eplaya or FB).

I'll have to look more into this and maybe survey people along my week to see if it is something I'm doing to chase them away :?
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by tamarakay » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:45 am

lazerfox wrote:I didn't fake smiling...I do it uncontrollably...one of my faults/gifts.
It didn't help me much when I was in certain parts of the city.

It was pretty strange, I have no problem meeting new people in RL but that just wasn't the case at BM (with the exception of the people I had already had some form of contact in RL like eplaya or FB).

I'll have to look more into this and maybe survey people along my week to see if it is something I'm doing to chase them away :?
Come by my camp and we will go surveying together. Plus you will have a fabulously self decorated scarf to use as an icebreaker :wink:
When the only tool you got is a hammer, every problem looks like a hippie.

Mmmmmm I love the smell of Burning Man - Token

Getting overly dramatic about the ticket sale process is so 2012. - Maladroit


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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Simon of the Playa » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:49 am

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by lazerfox » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:51 am

Tamarakay - You are ON!

SOP - It is true probably 90% of the time :wink:
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Comrade Bunny » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:25 pm

I used to be terribly shy. Then. I came out of my shell and became an extrovert. In the last few years, I've become more and more shy. The problem is anxiety. I have very intense anxiety that has greatly impacted my life. I'm agoraphobic and have conversion disorder. I know it will be very difficult for me in the beginning. I expect to have at least one panic attack. That is not what worries me the most. My conversion disorder manifests as trembling and twitching. If it's really bad, it looks like I'm having a seizure. I became agoraphobic because I'm terrified of people seeing me when this happens. I'm terrified of how people would react to this at BM. I'm also worried about being a fat, old (37) lady.

I am going as a birgin, though, in 2013. My sister (who will be my brother by then), is getting married at BM. She has been there twice before. I'm designing a theme camp at her request and helping plan the wedding. I'll also be making costumes for myself and my roommate. I love wearing costumes and can't wait to do so at BM. My personal theme is "Oooooh Sparkly."

I'm looking forward to BM, but I'm also terrified. I love the advice given so far. I love any other advice people might have for me.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Savannah » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:11 pm

Comrade Bunny wrote:I used to be terribly shy. Then. I came out of my shell and became an extrovert. In the last few years, I've become more and more shy. The problem is anxiety. I have very intense anxiety that has greatly impacted my life. I'm agoraphobic and have conversion disorder. I know it will be very difficult for me in the beginning. I expect to have at least one panic attack. That is not what worries me the most. My conversion disorder manifests as trembling and twitching. If it's really bad, it looks like I'm having a seizure.
Three questions/thoughts:
1) What usually happens in the default world when you're having a moment? And do you have warning?
2) Some Burners may come to help you, some may freeze. (Burners are often more pro-active than non-Burners, however.)
3) Question: are you able to speak when you panic? If you don't, consider a medic alert necklace that says "Panic attacks" or "Panic/conversion disorder" or whatever you think might be most accurate. You might also want to wear your camp name and address to the nearest 5 minutes on something you can edit once you arrive.
I became agoraphobic because I'm terrified of people seeing me when this happens. I'm terrified of how people would react to this at BM.
I would simply assume that you were having a seizure, panic attack, or bad reaction to medication, the environment, or drugs, and rush to help you without judgment. A lot of people have "moments" out there. Hot, tired, dehydrated, overwhelmed, experimenting with substances. Minor moments are often addressed by your friends and fellow campers. (So tell them ahead of time--and look out for them too. You might turn out to be the strong one who brings them electrolyte drinks when they're dehydrated!) However, there are medics @ 3 locations and mental health professionals (@ "Sanctuary" near Ranger headquarters; Center Camp) who help people out there all the time, and there is no charge unless you're transported off the playa with injuries.
I'm also worried about being a fat, old (37) lady.
We hear this a lot, and understand . . . but half the people on this board are your age and older. All body types. Old at 37? Please, for the love of god, speak for yourself. :wink:

The largest age group of Burners is something like 25-45, which you are smack in the middle of, but there are lots of folks in their 50's, some in their 60's, and some folks bring their parents in their 70's, which actually a lot of us get excited about. Least common age group: babies and teens. I see more 5 year olds than 15 year olds . . .
I am going as a birgin, though, in 2013. My sister (who will be my brother by then), is getting married at BM. She has been there twice before. I'm designing a theme camp at her request and helping plan the wedding. I'll also be making costumes for myself and my roommate. I love wearing costumes and can't wait to do so at BM. My personal theme is "Oooooh Sparkly."

I'm looking forward to BM, but I'm also terrified. I love the advice given so far. I love any other advice people might have for me.
Sounds like you're having some great levels of involvement already. Nice!

It's okay to be scared. This is a challenge. Going to the Burn scares a lot of people! :) Let it motivate you to read thoroughly, pack really well, etc. Use it! Fear can run parallel to your abilities and good qualities, co-existing alongside them.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by tamarakay » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:17 am

I swear Savannah you make my heart bigger.
When the only tool you got is a hammer, every problem looks like a hippie.

Mmmmmm I love the smell of Burning Man - Token

Getting overly dramatic about the ticket sale process is so 2012. - Maladroit


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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Sham » Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:16 am

tamarakay wrote:I swear Savannah you make my heart bigger.
Savannah makes everything bigger! :D

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by DanusLight » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:28 am

[quote="tamarakay] Come by my camp and we will go surveying together. Plus you will have a fabulously self decorated scarf to use as an icebreaker :wink:[/quote]

I. CAN'T. WAIT.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:02 am

I'm pretty sure your sister is already your brother...
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by lazerfox » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:41 pm

DanusLight wrote:
tamarakay wrote: Come by my camp and we will go surveying together. Plus you will have a fabulously self decorated scarf to use as an icebreaker :wink:
I. CAN'T. WAIT.

<3
Oh we have more survey takers! Sweet!! :twisted:
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by DanusLight » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:27 pm

lazerfox wrote:
Oh we have more survey takers! Sweet!! :twisted:
oh oh oh I want to carry a clipboard! That makes it look official :mrgreen:
I don't sit up all night and plot revenge... I just sit back and giggle once Karma takes over!!!

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by JesseGrrl2009 » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:24 pm

As someone who has always been very shy I was so excited that I stumbled upon this thread. SO many great tips, especially for a shy burner virgin who was feeling sort of intimidated about facing a 50,000+ community of people who seem way more outgoing. These are great tips, excellent work :D
"Now go make art, eat, drink, learn, discuss, study, read, absorb art daily. You are an artist. The commercially make a living part comes later, if ever, but never doubt: you ARE an Artist." - AntiM

)'( 2013 )'(

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by tamarakay » Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:31 am

JesseGrrl2009 wrote:As someone who has always been very shy I was so excited that I stumbled upon this thread. SO many great tips, especially for a shy burner virgin who was feeling sort of intimidated about facing a 50,000+ community of people who seem way more outgoing. These are great tips, excellent work :D
Welcome to the group! Jump on in, we are (mostly :shock: ) nice people :D
When the only tool you got is a hammer, every problem looks like a hippie.

Mmmmmm I love the smell of Burning Man - Token

Getting overly dramatic about the ticket sale process is so 2012. - Maladroit


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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by JesseGrrl2009 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:34 am

tamarakay wrote:
JesseGrrl2009 wrote:As someone who has always been very shy I was so excited that I stumbled upon this thread. SO many great tips, especially for a shy burner virgin who was feeling sort of intimidated about facing a 50,000+ community of people who seem way more outgoing. These are great tips, excellent work :D
Welcome to the group! Jump on in, we are (mostly :shock: ) nice people :D
SO for this jumping, will there be trampolines available, or is it just more of a general frolicking? :wink:
"Now go make art, eat, drink, learn, discuss, study, read, absorb art daily. You are an artist. The commercially make a living part comes later, if ever, but never doubt: you ARE an Artist." - AntiM

)'( 2013 )'(

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by tamarakay » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:48 am

Well, I have to provide room for a dance floor already, so when not dancing we could plonk out the trampoline if anyone has one. Oh dear, I just had a visual of the naked bike ride people participating :oops:
When the only tool you got is a hammer, every problem looks like a hippie.

Mmmmmm I love the smell of Burning Man - Token

Getting overly dramatic about the ticket sale process is so 2012. - Maladroit


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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Elliot » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:30 am

tamarakay wrote:... naked bike ride people... :oops:
Hey, I resemble that remark! (Entered that ride in 2010, but never got past the stop at Duck Pond and their fabulous slip-n-slide. What's with that ride, anyway -- almost all guys and very few gals.)

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by JesseGrrl2009 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:44 pm

tamarakay wrote:Well, I have to provide room for a dance floor already, so when not dancing we could plonk out the trampoline if anyone has one. Oh dear, I just had a visual of the naked bike ride people participating :oops:
SO. MUCH. BOUNCING. :shock: Maybe we can stick with dancing :wink: lol
"Now go make art, eat, drink, learn, discuss, study, read, absorb art daily. You are an artist. The commercially make a living part comes later, if ever, but never doubt: you ARE an Artist." - AntiM

)'( 2013 )'(

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Comrade Bunny » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:09 am

Savannah, thank you so much. You have lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I love the idea of wearing a med-alert tag. Why didn't I think of that? I am still a bit nervous about having a fit. I can still talk when I have one, so that's not the issue. I find it so humiliating when everyone around me gets upset, but I'll power through it I guess. Also, I'm happy to learn I'm in the middle of the age bracket. In my head, I was going to be lost in a sea of twenty-somethings. It's nice to know that's not the case. Thanks again.

theCryptofishist, you are absolutely correct in saying my sister is already my brother. However, I'm waiting for her to tell me to call her Karl instead of Katt. For me, that's the moment she becomes my brother. On a side note, I got to pick her new name, Karl Jacob (two of our great-grandfather's). She's taking her fiance's last name because there is no way she wants to go back to her maiden name, Myllykangas.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Savannah » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:31 pm

I can still talk when I have one, so that's not the issue. I find it so humiliating when everyone around me gets upset, but I'll power through it I guess.
I'm glad to hear you can talk under duress. I have an idea--rather than "power through it" (which sounds hard), mentally rehearse asking people for what you need specifically. I think people might get upset when you're upset because 1) they're scared, too 2) they don't know how to help you. However, if you can be a little specific, you empower others. So you might practice visualizing yourself saying "Will you walk me to the shade?" "Can I lay down in the RV for a while?" or "I think I need a juicebox and a snack, could you help me out please?"

(Or whatever you think you might need, based on your vulnerabilities.)

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Elliot » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:07 pm

Savannah wrote: "Will you walk me to the shade?" "Can I lay down in the RV for a while?" or "I think I need a juicebox and a snack, could you help me out please?"
Yes! The vast majority of us would jump at the chance to respond to such a request. (If only more people would have the good sense to ask for help when they need it!)

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by FlyingMonkey » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:17 pm

bigdane wrote:
brody wrote: Smile. Seriously. Shy people are sometimes seen as angry, aloof, haughty, unfriendly, you name it. Pretend you’re outgoing. Yeah, it’s terrifying. Do it anyway. Burning Man is a good place to practice looking friendly. Smile at everyone until your face hurts. Then take some ibuprofen and smile some more.
brilliant brody...most people will immediately respond favorably to a smile. And my experience has been that afterward conversation develops almost on its own...especially in an evironment of "like-minded" people. I'm a huge fan of the ...fake it till ya make it philosophy...

thanks for ALL the great tips!!
Both awesome bits of advice. I am definitely one of those shy people that outwardly look way too serious. To make matters worse I am a cynical SOB and sometimes people think I am serious when I make off the cuff remarks. I know I need to smile more. I suspect that I wont be able to stop smiling once I break camp next year :-) Some people can just walk up to strangers & strike up a conversation. I am working on that but it's really an effort & its so much easier to sit back & be quiet. Being in the Military I also get suspected of being a cop so i will need to do something that will convince people otherwise.....Hmmmm. Maybe I should just wear a police uniform & go the reverse psychology route. That could work.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Savannah » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:28 pm

Sometimes nothing is better than a solemn person in bunny ears. :)

I used to wear animal ears or a santa hat when I was lifeguarding near the holidays, because I knew my face would go blank with concentration, and the swimmers would get a kick out of the contrast between my face and my, uh . . . flair.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by knowmad » Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:51 am

Savannah wrote:Sometimes nothing is better than a solemn person in bunny ears. :)

I used to wear animal ears or a santa hat when I was lifeguarding near the holidays, because I knew my face would go blank with concentration, and the swimmers would get a kick out of the contrast between my face and my, uh . . . flair.

How can one take themselves serious when wearing bunny ears?
'cept maybe this guy. he seriously should not have passed out 'round us.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Paddock Empress » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:53 pm

Wow what an amazing thread - tehehehe I don't time to read through all of it though, so instead I will share my shy beating story:

2009 was my first burn event, I was off to Kiwiburn (New Zealands Regional), I'd set myself the challenge of going alone - that meant that I knew no one at all at the event. For a long time my only friends were my boyfriends friends - it saved me the worry of getting over shyness to meet people. But it was time to change.

The theme was future history and I came up with cunning plan to be Empress Kylon of the Xylonian Empire. I designed a symbol and had a stamp made that said "Property of Xylonia" and a pic of the symbol on it. I then made a complete set of outfits in green and purple and painted a small gazebo green and purple, with the symbol large and obvious on top. The Xylonian empire was really just nothing - just me sitting under a gazebo, and from there I was going to wing it.

I did a bit of a build up on the kiwiburn forums, making people intrigued as to what was going on.

Time came to go to the festival and through ride share forums I ended up joining the Tequila for Breakfast camp, and meeting an amazing group of people, who are still my friends - step one of the get of shyness plan was complete.

Step two came at the festival. I ran around stamping people with my stamp and running away again. No words were spoken just a stamp and run. Soon the stamp was everywhere, and suddenly all these people were coming up to me and asking questions, one thing led to another and waala - I knew people and was having heaps of fun.

It was a great way for me to get over shyness because I didn't have to approach people - I gave people the opportunity to approach me instead, and through talking to them I gained the confidence to approach others.

The stamp is now tattoo'd on my arm and there is an ongoing saga relating to the Paddock Empress and her minions (I had a name change - dropped the Kylon and gained the paddock).

And.... the Xylonian Empire will be present for the first time ever on the playa this year (come on minions/fairies/pixies/magic/luck make sure my name gets drawn for a ticket), so look out for the crazy lady wielding a stamp

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Elliot » Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:07 pm

:D
Great idea, Your Imperial Highness! And welcome to e-playa!
:D

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Savannah » Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:42 pm

Paddock Empress, that's clever as hell. :D

I love a great first post.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Sham » Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:50 pm

I hope I get one of your stamps on me. I will be looking for you on the playa. :D

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by theCryptofishist » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:17 pm

Yeah, it was the only way to make sure Krylon didn't sue...
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by JDCookMS » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:21 pm

I have to admit that in real life I'm a pretty shy person... or, at least it can take me awhile to warm up to people, so this has had some really good tips for me. I'm usually the kind of guy who watches stuff from the sidelines, but I've been coming out of my shell.

@Paddock Empress, I want a stamp! :)

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