Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

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

Post by Aurelia » Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:42 pm

Hey I like you already

and I am disagreeing with the others

stay shy..it is okay

xoA.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by thnkfl » Sat Jul 04, 2015 10:59 am

Wearing a mask can definitely help with shyness. When you are "hidden" behind a mask, you will experience a certain freedom from your personality. It is much easier to be someone you are usually not, and be whoever you choose. And this would be the perfect year for it! If you don't make one of your own, then buy a plain mask and decorate it. Google masks for great ideas.

Another ploy to allay shyness is to ask a lot of questions of someone you want to meet. Asking takes the place of revealing. It's a big place and there are a lot of folks you can choose to meet. FIGHT FEAR. Compliment someone's dress, hat, etc. and focus attention on some aspect of the other person. Caution tho, if the person to whom you are talking never tries to turn the tables and never becomes interested in you for a change, then you're probably talking to a big ego. I'd move on at that point.

Smile. Breathe. Wave and say hello without expecting an encounter. Ask if someone needs help with something. Don't be afraid to turn around and go back. You might try walking up to someone and simply ask, "Who are you?"

You could use non-verbal communication, like touching a person's arm to emphasize a point when talking.

And if you have never done it, when you are alone in front of a mirror, look at yourself, smile, and voice the words, "I love you." You will soon come to realize you love yourself and self-confidence will build.

YOU CAN DO IT!

See you on the playa!
Make it, enjoy it, let it go.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Skuzzy61 » Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:46 pm

I wish I can call my introverted behavior "shy". I have used that word many times over my life, but the truth is, I am not shy as much as I am terrified of people. I grew up in an abusive home. I learned people were only good for hurting you. It was reinforced in school, where I was unusually small for my age (I was 4'10" @ 75 pounds in ninth grade). I was an easy target for those seeking to demean, or the bullies.
Any attempt to defend myself resulted in my expulsion from school and a beating when I got home. Caught between a rock and a hard place.

Then, when I finally hit my growth streak, I grew disproportionately. First, my arms. At one point I could literally scratch my knees without bending over. Then my feet. Yes, I was the monkey boy extraordinaire. By the time I was a junior in high school, I finally normalized, but the damage was done and extensive. I was 6'4" tall, weighed in at 200 pounds. I turned out to be a very nice looking man, but that brought its own set of problems.

I was not use to it. Men would shun me as they did not want a good looking guy around taking the ladies away (like I could). Women would shun me as they though they had no chance with me. I did not know how to fix it.

Anyway, not looking for any sympathy. I am a very happy person these days. I have a wonderful life and an awesome Wife. We have a great life together and the step son calls me "dad". I am proud of how far I have come.

That said. I will be the guy standing in the corner watching everyone else do whatever they do. I am not well enough versed in the craft of socializing to understand what is appropriate and when it is appropriate. My Wife has helped me a lot with that, but she is the only person know who took the time to get to know me. She peeled the layers back one at a time.

See, even as I type this, I am not sure if I should be saying all this, or not. I do not know if it is the correct thing to do. So many things people take for granted, I do not know. People say, "ask questions". That is my first pitfall. I do not know what is appropriate.

I only bring this up because I am not the only person in the world like this. For people who have had a normal social development, it can be difficult to understand those who did not have one. The last thing I want is sympathy. I want to be able to talk to strangers. I am just incredibly awkward at it. Someone who does not know me would think there is something mentally off about me as I stutter and stammer looking for words, jumping from one unfinished thought to another and so on.

Yet, for all my social ineptitude, I am brilliant at public speaking on topics of engineering. I just cannot bring that to the social side of my brain. Oh, I do like who I am. Very much so. But who I am is not what society expects, nor tolerates.
I really would like to change the world, but I do not have access to the source code!
Duct tape is like "The Force"! It has a dark and a light side, and holds the universe together!

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Sham » Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:59 pm

Of all places on this planet to hit your fears head-on, Burning Man is the number one spot.
With a bit of creativity and ingenuity, you can be in the center of a crowd---entertaining the entire bunch.
I find it amazing, that once your fears are faced, they are no longer an obstacle in your life. They no longer own you---you own them.
With so many pages here on this subject of "Tips for Shy People", you can read up and get all the hints that have been offered. 8)

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Elorrum » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:33 am

All I really hear is how great you are. Get on with it.
"Ask again later." - Magic 8-Ball

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by tamarakay » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:17 pm

Last year a young man handed me a note that explained he had anxiety and a bit of a stutter, and just needed to hang out a bit before interacting. No problem here. Waited a bit, he settled in, we had a nice chat.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Skuzzy61 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:49 pm

I do not suffer any anxiety, per se. I am just confounded as to what I can say and when I can say it. I really do not have a clue how to be social. I have read this thread from one end to another.

I see a lot of suggestions. Basically, it seems I should write a script and follow it. Although, I am pretty sure that would fall apart pretty quickly as one cannot assume answers to questions will not follow the script.

My Wife, bless her heart, always covers for me. She knows it is hard for me and she does her best to help. I hate she feels a need to do that. It is one reason I will seek out a way to be apart from people so I will not have to burden her with my short comings. As it is my problem, not hers.
I really would like to change the world, but I do not have access to the source code!
Duct tape is like "The Force"! It has a dark and a light side, and holds the universe together!

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Aurelia » Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:08 pm

Now you complicated the thread with couples' counseling.


nope

xoA.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Sham » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:16 pm

Here is a unique thought for you. How about spending a day with a piece of silver duct tape over your mouth. This will clearly indicate to others that you are a mute that day. Your performance art could be interacting without the ability to speak. You could possibly bring a note pad to write things.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Captain Goddammit » Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:19 pm

Here's an idea: talk to mutant vehicle owners about the engineering of the things. You said you're good at that, and the MV builders like to talk to someone who gets it about all the engineering involved.
Next thing you know, you've got a new friend or two.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by feminasolum » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:49 pm

Aw man, I was really shy this year at Burning Man. As a first timer, i felt a bit overwhelmed and almost like an inexperience baby. However, i did realize you have to give no f if you want to truly experience the journey.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Skuzzy61 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:42 am

aserendipity wrote:Now you complicated the thread with couples' counseling.

nope

xoA.
lol! We have a very healthy relationship. 22 years together and we still manage to cause each other to giggle from the sometimes silly things we do. We are just two pieces of a very large jigsaw puzzle who happen to fit really well together.
Sham wrote:Here is a unique thought for you. How about spending a day with a piece of silver duct tape over your mouth. This will clearly indicate to others that you are a mute that day. Your performance art could be interacting without the ability to speak. You could possibly bring a note pad to write things.
Interesting. Although, I cannot imagine what it would feel like to pull it off my beard.
Captain Goddammit wrote:Here's an idea: talk to mutant vehicle owners about the engineering of the things. You said you're good at that, and the MV builders like to talk to someone who gets it about all the engineering involved.
Next thing you know, you've got a new friend or two.
I have considered this. Been trying to find an "in" to start that process.


One of the problems with the written word is not being to realize all the perspectives the readers may approach what you have written. I am a very happy person. I like who I am. I do not mind, at all, being the one in the corner watching others. I have never felt a need or desire to fit in. I am true to who I am every day. I do not feel I need to be "fixed". Some may argue with that.

I was just bringing a different perspective on what could be perceived as being "shy". I am not "shy". I no longer fear people as I did when I was younger. I learned to be highly self reliant/independent. I have no "need" for anyone. I think a number of people will be offended, put off, and/or irritated by what I just said.

I feel I am handling this badly.
I really would like to change the world, but I do not have access to the source code!
Duct tape is like "The Force"! It has a dark and a light side, and holds the universe together!

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Sham » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:26 am

Are you an IT technician? Just wondering. 8)

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Skuzzy61 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:46 am

I have a masters in electrical engineering, and a doctorate in physics. I do a lot of things with computers everyday. Programming, managing, deploying and so on. My primary computer expertise lies in all forms of the UNIX operating system. I handle Windows as well, but prefer UNIX.

My first programming experience was with UNIX v6.....a long time ago. My latest programming effort helps provide a camshaft profile which matches the intake and exhaust valve velocities to the piston velocity. I am also working on a comprehensive engine management system. While I ponder those things, I am designing a new sign for our neighborhood park, building some new furniture for the house, building a 62 Corvette, and a 65 Cobra.

I like working with my hands, as it helps me to think through other ideas. Am I mechanically inclined? Yes. I also like to draw. Charcoal and pencil are my favorite mediums.

I had an idea for a BM art piece, but do not have the time or money to pull it off. A large egg, titled, "Seeing the world anew...". Around the egg video cameras would record reactions and the crowd. At night the egg would light up with the videos shot from the day, of the crowd looking back at the crowd from the egg. The video display would project from the inside of the egg onto the translucent egg shell. I was inspired by BM for this one.
I really would like to change the world, but I do not have access to the source code!
Duct tape is like "The Force"! It has a dark and a light side, and holds the universe together!

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Ratty » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:42 am

Skuzzy That is an intriguing idea for art. Expect someone to steal it. Have you ever read "The World is Flat"? A fascinating history book. It's all about the computer age. Have you jumped into the conversations on 'The Car Thread'? Post some pictures of your babies out in the garage. Come on. Share your pain and joy with those who understand.
Those aren't buttermilk biscuits I'm lying on Savannah

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Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Skuzzy61 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:01 am

Ratty wrote:Skuzzy That is an intriguing idea for art. Expect someone to steal it. Have you ever read "The World is Flat"? A fascinating history book. It's all about the computer age. Have you jumped into the conversations on 'The Car Thread'? Post some pictures of your babies out in the garage. Come on. Share your pain and joy with those who understand.
I have had many ideas I could not execute due to lack of time, money, and many other reasons. Does not mean I would not like to see them done. If someone does it, I hope they are honorable enough to credit me for the concept.

No,I have not read that book. As I have lived the history of the PC and been involved with making it happen, I am content to look back at those memories with great fondness.

I have not run into the "Car thread" yet.

The Cobra is in pieces, at the moment. We are building a custom independent rear suspension system for it, using the rear pumpkin from a Ford Explorer. The rest of it is all custom. The Corvette is also in pieces, while I procur a frame which will allow C5 components to be attached and use the C5 drive line as well. This will be the Wife's new car. Anything I can do to make it safer for her is the priority.

I am not one for posting pictures. I do not have a camera with me all the time and it is a pain to get them from the camera to the Internet. No, I do not have a smart phone. I cannot help but notice how "smart" phones make so many people look much less intelligent than they really are. Besides, I cannot drive one. I have tried.

See how I just waddle off into the ether? Sheesh.
I really would like to change the world, but I do not have access to the source code!
Duct tape is like "The Force"! It has a dark and a light side, and holds the universe together!

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:02 am

You're building a Cobra AND a '62 Vette, with C5 suspension?!!
You just wandered into the right bar. There are several of us on here who do that kind of thing, including me!
I've got a '55 Bel Air that's always apart getting something, and up here we're setting a '57 Bel Air onto a '92 Roadmaster chassis.
Go find "The Car Thread" and you'll see all sorts of stuff like that going on in Burner's garages.
And check out the thread "Bike Builders Unite", where we get into our custom bike projects, and the mechanical engineering that goes into some of the more radical ones.

Youve got plenty in common with lots of Burners.
If you see the huge Shark art car, go up and talk to Gaz, at home he builds very high end hot rods.
You've got no problem. You just didn't yet know how many builders of things there were right in front of you.
The ultimate "in" to start taking to people and make friends in that world in BRC is to show up with your own that you built, of course...


Ha, see what I did there, now you're gonna be bitten with an extra sickness...
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Skuzzy61 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:18 am

I can talk about cars. No problem there. The engine for the Cobra will be my 48th Ford small block build. First car I turned a wrench on was Dad's 54 Ford flat head V8, back in 1960. He used to race it. Dad owned an auto parts store, which saw me spending every free penney I had on my cars in high school (68 Ford Falcon "Little Red Wagon" Station Wagon, 69 Plymouth "Beep! Beep! Get out of my way!" Road Runner, and a 67 Ford "Like my tail lights?" Mustang). Every penny spent on those cars was earned by me. None of them were close to stock. The Falcon and Road Runner were my drag cars. The Mustang was my daily driver. Never mind it idled at 1900 rpm. That was one tweaked 289. The Falcon had a 390 in it. The Road Runner,..well,...I got a ticket once for doing 172 in a 35. Yeah,...young and stupid.

Used to go to the race track and just walk around the pits (Dad had pit passes) and ask if anyone needed help. Got to be known as a pretty versatile grease monkey. The guy living across the street from us was a custom builder. Taught me how to use an English wheel.

When Don Gartlits came to town, he would park his rail on the corner in front of Dad's store. There is a picture of me sitting in it somewhere. It was his front engine rail.

Yep, I can talk about cars.
I really would like to change the world, but I do not have access to the source code!
Duct tape is like "The Force"! It has a dark and a light side, and holds the universe together!

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:24 am

English wheel... I've always wanted to learn to use one of those.
It sounds to me like you need to build a Mutant Vehicle!
A good one, not one of the decorated golf cart things.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Skuzzy61 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:41 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:English wheel... I've always wanted to learn to use one of those.
It sounds to me like you need to build a Mutant Vehicle!
A good one, not one of the decorated golf cart things.
I actually started penning one up, but then stopped as I realized there is not way I could get it done in time and the Wife would kill me if I started another project before I finished the current ones I am working on.

I am horrible that way. If draw it, it will get built.
I really would like to change the world, but I do not have access to the source code!
Duct tape is like "The Force"! It has a dark and a light side, and holds the universe together!

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Savannah » Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:24 pm

Skuzzy61 wrote:
One of the problems with the written word is not being to realize all the perspectives the readers may approach what you have written. I am a very happy person. I like who I am. I do not mind, at all, being the one in the corner watching others. I have never felt a need or desire to fit in. I am true to who I am every day. I do not feel I need to be "fixed". Some may argue with that.
Not me! :)
I was just bringing a different perspective on what could be perceived as being "shy". I am not "shy". I no longer fear people as I did when I was younger. I learned to be highly self reliant/independent. I have no "need" for anyone. I think a number of people will be offended, put off, and/or irritated by what I just said.

I feel I am handling this badly.
Not at all. Independent and self-reliant people are probably prized more highly than average here, and out there.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Skuzzy61 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:22 am

Thank you Savannah. Nice of you to say.
I really would like to change the world, but I do not have access to the source code!
Duct tape is like "The Force"! It has a dark and a light side, and holds the universe together!

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by divadidati » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:44 pm

:lol:

thx
Awesome post makes me feel I could actually do this

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by sallycakes » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:21 am

Wow spent last hour or so reading through this wonderful tread!
I have been following burning Burning Man goers adventures for years now, wishing I was there.
Unfortunately my friends are not so keen to experience this so I have been thinking about doing it solo or joining a camp. Terrifies me but I want this so badly so I only have one choice really, it has to be done.
This is going to be huge for me, I can be my own worse enemy when it comes to being social in a big gatherings like this. I get all shy, nervous and very anxious, worrying about silly things and I scare myself away. This has often prevented me from doing stuff and I would miss out on some good times and of course regret it after. I'm so determinant that this will not happen with Burning Man experience, I want this and I need this.
This beautiful tread gave me goosebumps, made me laugh out loud, made me feel welcome, 'normal' but mostly made me think how amazing people can be and I need to be less afraid, embrace it and do this :)
I have now decided that 2017 is the year I will go and fulfill this dream! I know I will worry about it and maybe even think about not going but desire to be there is now so big that I will have to overcome my fears, worries and just do this. Stumbling across this tread and reading all the post truly helped - thank you all!
Big Love!
Sallycakes

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Sep 22, 2016 10:18 am

You don't have to start out dealing with big crowds.

Start small and work your way through your comfort levels.

I usually sit alone in my shade during the hottest part of the day and invite people to come cool off in front of my bucket cooler.

Always happy to talk when I'm sitting down.

If I'm not sitting, I'm busy, give me a minute!!! 8)

It's not big crowds everywhere.

The playa is ROOMY!!!
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Sham » Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:18 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Always happy to talk when I'm sitting down.
.....and when you're standing up, or laying down or........
8)

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by tatonka » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:36 am

use the old japanese way of introducing yourself. "Kancho" everyone will love ya


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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Aurelia » Sat Jun 24, 2017 5:21 am

:mrgreen:
Do not wear a mask!
Be yourself
Be real
Let's be friends

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Ratty » Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:54 am

Aurelia, You are talking to a robot/troll. You're being nice and they, (there are 2 of them), are only here to promote something. Don't get too attached to them. Our robots can kick their arses. (I say robot but I really mean our mods.)

Hey, it was nice working with you last week at Headquarters. A fun crowd and we got the job done.
Those aren't buttermilk biscuits I'm lying on Savannah

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by swampdog » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:02 pm

Burning Man is part of the reason I no longer consider myself shy. It's an amazing laboratory of possibility. You can stay in your comfort zone, you can try on whole new personas, or anything in between. One of my earliest BMan lessons was when a friend said "Burning Man is a place where you can go up to anyone and say, 'Hey, what are you freaks doin'?". Or, y'know, not. The great and scary thing is, IT'S ALL UP TO YOU. Nobody really cares what you do. You do you.

My kids really struggle with social anxiety. It's WORK for them to be in a crowd of people. So they regularly shut down, close up, go recharge by themselves for awhile.

My (free) advice* is, try not to worry about it in advance. When you get there, be as bold as you want to for as long as you want to. You can walk around the whole time and not talk to anybody if that is your comfort zone. When you need to retreat, respect that need. If you find yourself thinking, "wow, I wish I could be bold enough to try that", well maybe give it a try.

In my experience, people are their best selves at Burning Man. Loving, kind, gentle.** Nobody is going to intrude on you or disrespect a request for space.

You got this, bro.

*Free advice is worth what you pay for it.
**Also, rowdy, boisterous, sometimes rude. DPW for instance pride themselves on being tough mofos with bad attitudes. Don't believe it, they're pussycats.

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