Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

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Sham
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Sham » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:56 pm

I'm glad this topic was brought back to life.

So many people suffer from debilitating shyness. It seems 100% insurmountable, and frankly, a place like Burning Man seems like just the opposite place to shatter that shyness. WRONG!

At Burning Man you can be whoever you want to be. Go into a crowded bar, or a busy theme camp and join the fray. If you're short, wear tall shoes. If you're bald, wear a mop of a wig. Wear a tuxedo. Wear wedding dress. Wear a skirt. Go nekkid. There will be no one judging you.

Take some time to figure out your ice breaker. A gift, a song, being helpful. What can you offer up to help you crack your phobia?

There are two people who I stumbled upon while on the playa who were dealing with lifelong shyness. I reached into my backpack and led the way to work some crowds. One of these young guys was crazed will glee that he could go up to anyone at a camp and make a new friend. I've seen both again over the years, and their transformation was permanent. They are no longer shy. Burning Man is a crazy place--honest.

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Re: Burning Man Tips for Shy People

Post by Kelsier » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:19 pm

swampdog wrote:My one "how to dance" tip is - move your booty. Literally. Listen to the bass line and the drum line of the music. Don't get bothered yet about any lead instrument or melody or singer. Just feel that rhythm. Then move your booty. This is hard for guys, we tend to sway or stomp. But like BBadger says, just rock it like you know how. Don't hump the air now, you know better than that. I suspect that's a big turn off for the ladies. Move it arrrooound and arrrouund. Pretend you're holding a stick between your cheeks and use it to stir a bucket of paint. BIG bucket of paint. Try doing figure eights with your hips. You can do this, it's easy.

Once you get your groove on, start adding in other bits. Let your arm follow a horn riff, or quickstep to a bit of drumming, whatever. If you start to feel like you're flailing, stop. Go back to square one. Feel that beat, feel it deep down and let your booty roll with it.
This is still one of my favorite posts on this forum. I remember reading it to my lady over a year ago and we had great fun stirring that bucket of paint.
It seems that this is my circus, and apparently those are my monkeys.
I'll get the net.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by swampdog » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:33 pm

Thanks. Blushing a bit.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by lucky420 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:34 am

You can also try writing your name in cursive with your booty...
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by cranberries » Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:15 am

lucky420 wrote:You can also try writing your name in cursive with your booty...
as long as you're sticking your booty OUT 8) . Whatever you do with your booty, don't stand upright with your cheeks tucked into your spine, bend over some (or a lot) and get that ass down into the beat.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Skuzzy61 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:08 am

Well, turns out I had no problem at all. Not sure why, but I felt really comfortable on the Playa. My Wife said she had never seen me so interactive with people before. I have to admit, it was fun. Met a lot of great people. Even got a few hugs.

I call it a win.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by FlyingMonkey » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:29 am

Skuzzy61 wrote:Well, turns out I had no problem at all. Not sure why, but I felt really comfortable on the Playa. My Wife said she had never seen me so interactive with people before. I have to admit, it was fun. Met a lot of great people. Even got a few hugs.

I call it a win.
Funny how that happens.

I actually think Burning Man is a great place for shy people who want to come out of their shell because everyone is so overwhelmed by the surroundings (in a good way) & we all seem to have a need to share experiences with others. I think that's very common & even total strangers easily strike up conversations on Playa.

Even when 2 shy people collide it doesn't take much of a catalyst to get them talking. I'm not the greatest conversationalist but a simple "Hey how's it going, did you just see ....." is enough to start a conversation. If you don't know what to say then try complimenting someone. People like validation that the outfit they stressed out about is well received by fellow Burners. Try something like "Hey, I really like your feather boa robot costume. Those sequin boots are to die for". Ok, bad example but you get the point. If you see someone with increasable boots or something then let them know. "OMG, I love those boots. Did you make them?" If they did then they are no doubt proud of them & will want to talk about them. If they didn't then it's still not the end of the conversation. "well there awesome, I wish I had an eye for putting an outfit that nice together".

Talking should be natural and effortless but it isn't easy for everyone. Just talking to strangers is a huge accomplishment for shy people, but it's so easy at Burning Man.
Try:
- Complementing someone or saying something nice that will elicit a response.
- Ask a question "Do you know where X is?", "Have you seen X yet?", "How's your Burn going? What's the coolest thing you've seen so far?"
- Offer something "Man it's hot, would you like a bottle of water?", "Do you like beer? Wanna try a tequila double IPA I made?", "My Zorb is incredibly large would you like to try it" (Ok, there's only 1 person on Playa who can use that).
- There are people from all over the world at Burning Man "I love your accent, where are you from?"
- Take inexpensive but useful things & offer them to people that may need them. "Wow, look at that dust storm heading this way. I have a bunch of dust masks, would you like one?"

In person I can be a real introvert so I have to do things like this to get out & be engaged.

Keep an eye out for campmates that may be on there own & include them in your travels. They may be too shy to venture out on there own too. "Hey, I'm too shy to check all this out on my own. Want to join me?"

And always remember that there are hundreds of other shy people on the Playa just like you.

(Edit: Smile a lot! you are more approachable when you are smiling)
In your wildest dreams you can not imagine the marvelous SURPRISES that await YOU.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Skuzzy61 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:48 am

My Wife never met a stranger so she was dragging me all over, but I akin what happened to what happens whenever we go anywhere.

I have a tendency to through myself into the culture when we travel. I am not there just to observe, I am there to become part of it. It is an odd thing. At home, I would rather stay in the house and watch a good movie than go to some party at someone's home.

It did not occur to me I would react like I do when we travel. Probably due to Burning Man being a foreign environment. :)
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by tatonka » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:18 pm

I like Ralph's line " do you like stuff" breaks the ice every time ")

Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed by the masses.
-Plato

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by markusze » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:39 pm

Find a kissing booth that needs a host or a bar that needs a bartender and act like it is your job to interact with people. Easy peasy.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Skuzzy61 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:49 am

I have my theories as to why I felt at "home" on the Playa in 2016, and we are finally making it back to test them out for 2019.
As the camp evolves.....
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Sham » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:15 pm

I have seen so many shy people at Burning Man, that I think it's worth bumping this old post from 2011.
brody wrote:
Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:50 pm
Hi. Are you shy? Do you have a hard time walking into a camp full of complete strangers and striking up a conversation? Does the idea of walking out of your tent in a crazy outfit strike terror into your heart? Fabulous! My people! Read on.

The dumbest mistake I made my virgin year was expecting the playa to entertain me. Waiting for other people to reach out to me and draw me in, figuring all I’d need to do was show up and I’d somehow be assimilated into the vibe. I was intensely shy, and didn’t have much experience figuring out how to insert myself into an unfamiliar culture. I had all the stuff I needed to survive, except social skills.

Burning Man is full of 50,000 people who are more-likely-than-in-normal-life to want to talk to you due to our participatory culture, but they’re still just people doing their own thing. If you are desperately shy and walking around hoping someone will talk to you- it might happen, it might not. But if you make an effort to talk to other people, the results will likely be good. If you don’t make an effort, you might be disappointed. And lonely. And nobody wants that.

Here are some suggestions that have worked well for me, perhaps some might work for you too. I’ve managed over seven years at Burning Man to transform myself from a desperately shy person into someone who is less-shy and can easily talk to others. Most of the time. I still have my moments of wide-eyed terror and wishing I had a book to hide behind.

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.

Have some conversational starters. Not “lines”, per se, but there’s a few things I’ve found that most everyone wants to talk about. I have great success with sidling up to strangers and asking “what’s the coolest thing you’ve seen today?” or “what’s the best piece of art that you’ve run across?” or the like. Everyone has wildly different experiences! Explore them.

Wear It Anyway! If you bring costumes to Burning Man but then feel uncomfortable going out in them, wear them anyway. You might feel terrifyingly like the center of attention when you step out of your tent in something that pushes your comfort zone, but you look pretty normal to everyone else. Nothing is normal in Black Rock City, so the weird becomes the norm. People enjoy complimenting each other on costumes (if they notice you at all). It’s a good conversation starter, too. Ask that person wearing the fabulous costume if they created it themselves.

Float More, Steer Less. Try an experiment where you let the whims of others dictate your day. Walk up to strangers and ask them for a destination suggestion or an activity. When they say something like “go climb the Man base and check it out” or “go visit XYZ camp and do (activity)”, do it. Once you’ve accomplished that task, ask someone else. Repeat. Have adventures. Or get distracted on the way. Whatever.

Go to an activity you find in the What Where When guide. You’ll meet people there because you’ll all be doing the same thing. It provides context, and context is a great way to meet people.

Meet your neighbors in the next camp over. Bring a snack or a drink or just a smile. Ask where they’re from, how their journey to Burning Man went. Let them know that you’re there to help if they need anything. They will usually offer their help too, and often a seat in their shade and a beer and an invite to sit a spell and chat.

Go to the Volunteer table near Playa Info in Center Camp, and ask if they need volunteers anywhere. Many projects and departments need volunteers. Having a Job makes it easy not to be shy.

The Nuclear Option. If all else fails and you feel desperate yet brave, make a sign (hand-held or on a t-shirt) that says “I Am Shy” and go hang out somewhere. People will come talk to you because, well, shit, we’re all shy sometimes.

HUGS!

[edited title & slight content change to match blog post]

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Agaton » Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:06 am

Sham wrote: I have seen so many shy people at Burning Man, that I think it's worth bumping this old post from 2011.
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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Sham » Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:43 pm

Are there any people willing to step up this year and have a gathering of shy people or first timers who may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by all this stimulation? Drinks, nibbles and fun.
I envision a camp with a public area large enough to handle 30-60 people hosting this daytime event.
For this to happen, I think there would need to be 6 or so people stepping up.
Let me know in a PM (or here) if you think you might want to volunteer for this very cool event.
:D
Sham....

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by EXC064 » Wed May 01, 2019 9:08 pm

Sham wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:43 pm
Are there any people willing to step up this year and have a gathering of shy people or first timers who may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by all this stimulation? Drinks, nibbles and fun.
I envision a camp with a public area large enough to handle 30-60 people hosting this daytime event.
For this to happen, I think there would need to be 6 or so people stepping up.
Let me know in a PM (or here) if you think you might want to volunteer for this very cool event.
:D
Sham....
HOW WOULD YOU GO ABOUT IT ? SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT IDEA .

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by gaminwench » Wed May 01, 2019 10:23 pm

Hey, Sham:

Our camp *might* be interested in hosting this earlier in the week.
We're certainly comfy and hosty, and most of our 'action' is after darktime.
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Sham » Thu May 02, 2019 2:22 am

gaminwench wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 10:23 pm
Hey, Sham:

Our camp *might* be interested in hosting this earlier in the week.
We're certainly comfy and hosty, and most of our 'action' is after darktime.
A comfy and hosty place is what's needed. A small core of organizers and a green light from your camp could make this magic a reality.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Kelsier » Thu May 02, 2019 9:04 am

Sham wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:43 pm
Are there any people willing to step up this year and have a gathering of shy people or first timers who may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by all this stimulation? Drinks, nibbles and fun.
I envision a camp with a public area large enough to handle 30-60 people hosting this daytime event.
For this to happen, I think there would need to be 6 or so people stepping up.
Let me know in a PM (or here) if you think you might want to volunteer for this very cool event.
:D
Sham....
I felt a little too shy to attend the last couple Eplaya Meet & Greets. Hope to change that this year.

I'll practice my bucket stirring...
It seems that this is my circus, and apparently those are my monkeys.
I'll get the net.

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by lucky420 » Sat May 04, 2019 8:48 am

gaminwench wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 10:23 pm
Hey, Sham:

Our camp *might* be interested in hosting this earlier in the week.
We're certainly comfy and hosty, and most of our 'action' is after darktime.
I’m pretty shy so I would love to come your camp and socialize
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by Sham » Sat May 04, 2019 9:03 am

lucky420 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 8:48 am
gaminwench wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 10:23 pm
Hey, Sham:

Our camp *might* be interested in hosting this earlier in the week.
We're certainly comfy and hosty, and most of our 'action' is after darktime.
I’m pretty shy so I would love to come your camp and socialize
I guess even you would be welcome. :roll:

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Re: Tips for Shy People at Burning Man

Post by lucky420 » Sat May 04, 2019 9:26 am

Sham wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 9:03 am
lucky420 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 8:48 am
gaminwench wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 10:23 pm
Hey, Sham:

Our camp *might* be interested in hosting this earlier in the week.
We're certainly comfy and hosty, and most of our 'action' is after darktime.
I’m pretty shy so I would love to come your camp and socialize
I guess even you would be welcome. :roll:
Hahahahaha hahahahaha
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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