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Fitting in as a new skydiver

 

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hdskygod

Dec 8, 2011, 1:40 AM
Post #1 of 30 (1918 views)
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Fitting in as a new skydiver Can't Post

I don't even really know how to start this. I've been going to my local dropzone for over 1 year. I only have about 50 jumps though since it took me forever to get licensed due to scheduling and weather. Regardless I guess the main reason I'm posting this is I'm wondering how to fit in better with the skydiving community. I love skydiving but at this point I feel so uncomfortable around my fellow skydivers that I am even skipping out on the rare weekends we have nice weather.

Normally I don't have social problems but I really don't feel welcome around my dropzone and I'm looking for tips to fit in better. Since I got licensed all my jumps have been solo. The only time people talk to me is to discuss load order. It's weird I've been around for over a year and up there almost every weekend but people don't know my name or recognize me despite the fact that I talk to them. I swear I'm not a dick but it feels like people purposely forget who I am. However, there are people up there that say they love people and miss them even though they have only known each other for a few weeks, 2 months at most. Shit is bizarre. My favorite was a coach that wouldn't spend 5 minutes going over 3 ring maintenance so I could get my A-License. Took me a couple weeks to get that scheduled yet afterwards she tried selling me on coached lessons.

I don't know maybe I have assburgers and am totally inept to social situations or maybe I have friends and am not completely needy so I don't fit it. I have yet to travel to other dropzones so I don't know if this is typical. I hope it isn't since I'm already feeling disenfranchised from the sport. Is there something to the skydiving culture that I'm missing? Or is my dropzone just full of elitist douches and I should start acting differently to fit in?


DougH  (D License)

Dec 8, 2011, 5:10 AM
Post #2 of 30 (1899 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

You have to be outgoing and make an effort to be included. There aren't many places where people go around asking solos if they want to be brought in to their jumps, but most people will include you in jumps that are within your skill level if you ask them.

No different from going to a business party where you don't know any one. If you sit and wait for people to approach and talk to you it won't happen, and people will actually avoid you because you will give off a vibe.

I have been to a lot of DZ's since I started jumping and while some were more friendlier than others I never found a single one where I was given the cold shoulder if I introduced myself and talked to people.

Assburgers... might want to check the spelling on that one! If you are eating assburgers at the DZ it might explain your current predicament! TongueLaugh


(This post was edited by DougH on Dec 8, 2011, 5:11 AM)


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Dec 8, 2011, 6:16 AM
Post #3 of 30 (1882 views)
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Re: [DougH] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
There aren't many places where people go around asking solos if they want to be brought in to their jumps,

If not trolling, it's simple....change DZs.
I live at one that WILL go around asking solos if they want to be brought in to their jumps.

Fill in your profile, eh?


DougH  (D License)

Dec 8, 2011, 6:46 AM
Post #4 of 30 (1877 views)
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Re: [popsjumper] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey that great Pops, me too. Like I said some are more friendly than others. Just because people aren't lining up to befriend him doesn't mean his DZ is bunk.

He could be hiding in the corner and being way too shy!


spage  (C License)

Dec 8, 2011, 9:33 AM
Post #5 of 30 (1853 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, this is the complete opposite of my home DZ.


I am typically a very quiet and withdrawn individual, but my fellow skydivers have gone out of their way to make me feel at home. Everyone walks up and introduces themselves and people are super friendly. After just a few months I really feel like a part of the community.


Maybe you should visit another DZ and see if things are different?


charlie5  (A 62022)

Dec 8, 2011, 10:06 AM
Post #6 of 30 (1844 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

Sounds like a DZ problem.

My very first day of AFF I had a couple regulars come up to me. Since finishing AFF I've had people offer to jump with me, only done one solo.

It's like a big family at my DZ, sucks to hear about your experience.


Divinfool  (C 40922)

Dec 8, 2011, 10:41 AM
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Re: [spage] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

Ditto...look for a new DZ. I am fortunate to jump at a very newbie friendly DZ. I only have a handful of jumps, but I have been on many 3 ways, 5 ways and even a few 9 way jumps. Every time other jumpers have asked me to join them after we had been involved in conversation. They usually make me the base, but I am learning tons about RW just hanging and talking with them. IMHO... skydivers are passionate and will talk about anything to do with skydiving. Especially stories that include them or things they have learned or know well. Don't be afraid to look like a noob... everybody started at jump number 1....just ask questions about loads, containers, main sizing and canopy control etc. Also be very friendly with the office staff, packers and manifest.... Good luck. Mike


Premier skymama  (D 26699)
Moderator
Dec 8, 2011, 10:52 AM
Post #8 of 30 (1821 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome to the forums! Smile The vibe at every dz is different, maybe you just need to travel and see what else is out there. Before you go, ask if there is anyone organizing jumps and then get on them.


Sapphire  (A 58862)

Dec 8, 2011, 2:14 PM
Post #9 of 30 (1813 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

Sucks you feel this way, but I certainly can relate. I never felt all that included/welcomed where I learned to jump either - which in turn kept me from staying current. Good on you for continuing on, though.

I've since moved to a new state - so here is to hoping things may be different elsewhere. Maybe check out another DZ - just so you have something to compare your 'home' DZ to.

Best of luck!


JohnRich  (D License)

Dec 8, 2011, 2:17 PM
Post #10 of 30 (1809 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

Some drop zones are like that. They can be very clique-ish, with people hanging out in their own little groups, not doing anything with others. I've encountered that even as an experienced jumper with a thousand or more jumps, and no one wanted to jump with me. You don't want to necessarily take offense at that. When you're an unknown, they don't want someone that could potentially mess up their complicated dives. They've worked long and hard to reach a high skill level, and aren't quick to let some stranger in that might screw it up. However, there are usually others around willing to take on new guys, especially other new guys. So you have to start small and build your reputation slowly over time, to the point where people know you and trust you, and then you'll start getting the invites.

The other thing is, jumping alone all the time can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. People will get the idea that this is what you prefer to do, so they won't even bother to ask. So you want to fight that perception. Go out of your way to ask to be on dives, or to ask others to jump with you. Be known as someone who enjoys group dives rather than solo dives. And don't be offended if people say no. Just smile, and move on to others.


skytrash62  (D 10657)

Dec 8, 2011, 3:53 PM
Post #11 of 30 (1796 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

Do the skydivers @ your DZ hang out and drink large quantities of beer after sunset? If no, then you need to jump elsewhere. If yes, you should be buying beer and making friends.

It's tough to break into some crowds. If your having a hard time there, then jump elsewhere. Some of your best opportunities will be @ boogies. They'll have load organizers. Sometimes you can hook up with the people camping around you. Put yourself out there. Don't misrepresent your skill level, and you'll be fine.


dthames  (B 37674)

Dec 8, 2011, 6:26 PM
Post #12 of 30 (1768 views)
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Re: [skytrash62] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

 
I had an AFF start date set and had never been to a DZ. A few weeks before my start date I went there to visit and look around. They were still cleaning the packing area floor when I got there, so there were very few there and nothing to do but drink coffee while we waited. I am normally the wall flower type, but my goal was to learn. So, I dove in and introduced myself to the jumpers that were there. The first comment was, He looks like a belly flyer to me. I piped back, How can you tell from just looking. I wrote down everyones name and a note of something I could remember them by. I never expect anyone to remember me, at least not right away. But I know that skydiving is one thing you just cant do without help from others. So, I went out of my way to make some friends. I did a lot of watching and trying to select people that had something to give, if I asked. I noticed about one fourth of the people didnt really want to chat or they had their focus somewhere else. But for the most part, I found some people I enjoyed visiting with that appeared happy to see me.

I dont have any specific advice here but I know for me, I have to force myself to be a little more outgoing than is normal for me. Later I visited a much smaller DZ and I would say they were more likely to start talking to me first. One fellow pulled me right into showing me the basics of packing, as I was watching him pack. There seems to always be at least some jumpers that are interested in seeing a newbie succeed. You just have to find them.

Dan


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Dec 9, 2011, 5:46 AM
Post #13 of 30 (1733 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The other thing is, jumping alone all the time can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. People will get the idea that this is what you prefer to do, so they won't even bother to ask. So you want to fight that perception. Go out of your way to ask to be on dives, or to ask others to jump with you. Be known as someone who enjoys group dives rather than solo dives. And don't be offended if people say no. Just smile, and move on to others.


All true and good advice. It happens...if you let it.

If you are at a small DZ, it's a little more likely to be somewhat cliquish simply because there are so few jumpers there. Larger DZs, having more people, increases your odds that there will be someone there that will actively seek you out...simply because of sheer numbers if nothing else.

As JohnRich said, get out there and seek THEM out!


(This post was edited by popsjumper on Dec 9, 2011, 5:47 AM)


Shaggy633  (Student)

Dec 9, 2011, 5:08 PM
Post #14 of 30 (1709 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

All I can say as a noob is spend time getting to know people, I signed up for AFF with my daughter as sidekick & met some great people offering rides if I wanted to go down (that was my 1st jump & they live between my & the DZ. I scheduled other jumps but had to cancel, due to death in family, broken ribs & other problems & this is what was said to me via DZ forum: Sorry to hear about the troubles Shaggy. But it'll make it that much sweeter when you get back in the sky. If it's cold and fizzy and it says beer on the can I can pretty much guarantee it will be enjoyed

So, pretty much, show some initiative & you'll get some invites & be accepted into this wonderful culture.

1) Take beer
2) Ask questions
2) Repeat 1 & 2......... Blue Skies!


(This post was edited by Shaggy633 on Dec 9, 2011, 5:12 PM)


BoogeyMan

Dec 9, 2011, 5:42 PM
Post #15 of 30 (1697 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

See post #10.
When I first started, I was at a DZ less than 10 miles from where arguably the #1 team in the US jumped. You wanna talk about a closed circle.!!! Eventually things came together. Look for someone at your skill level, as new folks are generally always arriving, and buddy up. Build from there, AND welcome the noobs. Enjoy the greatest sport there is.


The_Don  (B License)

Dec 9, 2011, 8:53 PM
Post #16 of 30 (1673 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry guys. But I smell something.


H
D
S
K
Y
G
O
D



Come on.Unimpressed


Andy9o8  (D License)

Dec 10, 2011, 8:03 AM
Post #17 of 30 (1643 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

OK, here's my advice:

1. Keep your mouth shut (especially if you're male).
2. Bring beer (or non-alcoholic stuff, etc). and socialize.
3. Keep your mouth shut, except to ask questions to learn.
4. Change your screen name. Skygod? Really?
5. Keep your mouth shut. Listen, don't talk.
6. Be humble.
7. Keep your mouth shut.


dks13827  (C 9293)

Dec 10, 2011, 12:34 PM
Post #18 of 30 (1621 views)
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Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

Your DZ time should be the highlight of your week.....


BoogeyMan

Dec 10, 2011, 1:28 PM
Post #19 of 30 (1613 views)
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Re: [Andy9o8] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
OK, here's my advice:

1. Keep your mouth shut (especially if you're male).
2. Bring beer (or non-alcoholic stuff, etc). and socialize.
3. Keep your mouth shut, except to ask questions to learn.
4. Change your screen name. Skygod? Really?
5. Keep your mouth shut. Listen, don't talk.
6. Be humble.
7. Keep your mouth shut.


Kood you expand a tad bit on #7?


hdskygod

Dec 11, 2011, 1:57 AM
Post #20 of 30 (1582 views)
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Re: [BoogeyMan] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

I appreciate the feedback. Its interesting to hear about other peoples experiences. Changing DZs is possible but not very practical. The one I go to is like 20 minutes from my house whereas the next closest one is about 2 hours away. I do plan on visiting that one soon just to see if there is a difference. The one I go to is a smaller DZ so that could contribute to it being more cliquish.

I wouldn't say I'm shy and I do try to go out of my way to say hi to people while I'm there. Based on your guys comments I will try to make more of an effort once the season picks back up. I guess part of it that I find frustrating is seeing people that have gotten licensed after me invited on jumps and more welcomed while I haven't. I don't think its a personality thing just that I go somewhat unnoticed.

As for the username. I'm not very creative and have always thought the term skygod was funny. Also that name was already taken. And of course I'm male. I see the special treatment females get so I don't think I would be complaining if I weren't.


skytrash62  (D 10657)

Dec 11, 2011, 6:50 AM
Post #21 of 30 (1560 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I appreciate the feedback. Its interesting to hear about other peoples experiences. Changing DZs is possible but not very practical. The one I go to is like 20 minutes from my house whereas the next closest one is about 2 hours away. I do plan on visiting that one soon just to see if there is a difference. The one I go to is a smaller DZ so that could contribute to it being more cliquish.
20 minutes away is convenient, but 2 hours is manageable. Go to the DZ half as often, but make twice as many jumps. Strap a Go-Pro on your chest strap, and maybe you'll be more popular Cool

Start your own group, and call your group something like the "Slutmasters" "sky bastards" "Free-Flailers" motto-(I'll go down with anyone!) Design a funny T-shirt, and print some up. If someone likes the shirt, tell them they can earn one by jumping with you.

Bring a grill, and cook hot dogs and burgers. Put out a sign saying "free-lunch if you'll jump with me"

Try wearing a pork chop around your neck. When someone asks why, tell them your mother made you wear it so that dogs will play with you!

Always bring beer to the DZ!


Southern_Man  (C License)

Dec 12, 2011, 12:55 PM
Post #22 of 30 (1507 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I wouldn't say I'm shy and I do try to go out of my way to say hi to people while I'm there. Based on your guys comments I will try to make more of an effort once the season picks back up. .

Stop just saying hi. Ask if they are jumping with anybody. Ask if you can jump with them. If they are currently jumping w/ somebody (and that sometimes happen) ask if they would be interested in jumping together later.


Tuna-Salad  (C 38765)

Dec 20, 2011, 12:09 PM
Post #23 of 30 (1374 views)
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Re: [Andy9o8] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
OK, here's my advice:

1. Keep your mouth shut (especially if you're male).
2. Bring beer (or non-alcoholic stuff, etc). and socialize.
3. Keep your mouth shut, except to ask questions to learn.
4. Change your screen name. Skygod? Really?
5. Keep your mouth shut. Listen, don't talk.
6. Be humble.
7. Keep your mouth shut.

Gah.. if only I could follow that advice


skybill  (D 6009)

Dec 20, 2011, 11:07 PM
Post #24 of 30 (1320 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

hI HD,
First off,"WHO ARE YOU???" Second off,"WHERE DO YOU SKYDIVE???" Now....answer these two questions for starters and maybe we can get you squarred away. 'Havn't been on the Left Coast for a few years but at "Scare-us-Valley and Smell-some-more" we had "load organizers!!" "I was one of them" and who ever wasn't on a load and wanted to skydive with "Other people" hooked up with the "Load Organizer" and "Wa-La" "A STAR is born!!" Now, ... fill in your profile and tell us where you jump and just maybe we can figure this out!!


airathanas  (D 29277)

Dec 21, 2011, 11:51 AM
Post #25 of 30 (1266 views)
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Re: [hdskygod] Fitting in as a new skydiver [In reply to] Can't Post

You could easily go to the 2 hour dropzone. I drive 4 hours one-way to my home dz, passing at least 3 other dropzones along the way. People ask me all the time why so I go to one so far away. Simple - THE VIBE! Vibes can make or break a dropzone.

Breaking into the social scene can be difficult for experienced jumpers too.


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