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October 03, 2018 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily

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ile away those fun
facts. Time to forget


cherish the fact you won’t have
to participate in another team
building exercise involving a
hula hoop. We have officially
survived peak icebreaker period.

September is over. The month

of new beginnings is behind
us. The flower calendar on my

has flipped to October. Those
awkward first days of classes
and inaugural club meetings
have morphed into hopefully
a more authentic dynamic of

things are still awkward among
the 20 people in your discussion
section, you can at least take
solace in the “31 Nights of
Halloween” on Freeform.


impressions rarely parlay into

“knock your socks” off kind of
introduction, the icebreaker is
a walk on thin ice. If I could, I
would prefer to stick to the facts
you could probably find on Facebook. Name.
Hometown. Year. Major. There you have it
folks. That’s all you need to know about me.
Anything more than this will likely result
in an answer that I will promptly spend the
next 48 hours regretting. Do we really need
to continue with that question about my
best Halloween costume?

That is the trouble with icebreakers. To

excel at them, it is essential that you have
a curated list of anecdotes encoded in your
brain. A quippy story about yourself that
your publicist would tell you to share if you
were a scheduled as a guest on Stephen
Colbert’s TV show. Or does the publicist
make up the story for you? In that case, I
think I need a publicist.

The sort of answer that is universal

enough to be relatable, yet personal
enough to be unique. Your response should
garner a laugh, but not make people feel
uncomfortable. And of course, you should
never look like you are trying too hard, but
you also can’t give a cop-out answer. People
want to you to “be yourself.” To sum up how
cool you are in a sentence. It is a tall order.
Essentially, you are expected to be like
Ferris Bueller when all I can usually muster
is something closer to Bridget Jones.

The formulaic nature of icebreakers

typically means forming a circle to foster
a safe, welcoming space reminiscent of a
second-grade classroom. Everyone sits
waiting for the person who had this great
idea to pose a question they likely found
via a Google search for “good icebreaker
questions” 30 seconds prior. Then the

moment of truth — what question will you
have to sift through your brain to find an
answer to?

“What’s your favorite movie?” Okay, this

is not too bad. Not as easy as your favorite
place to travel, but still a softball question.
I begin to flip through the movies I have
watched to find an acceptable answer. I
find myself only half-paying attention to
the person droning on about “Moonrise
Kingdom,” buying me a few more precious
seconds to think. As my turn creeps closer
and closer, the panic sets in. I struggle to
even remember the last movie I watched,
let alone my favorite. The only movies that
come to mind are “Mamma Mia” and “Gone
with the Wind.” Great. I will either sound
like a lover of cheesy British musicals or a
cliché film buff. I decide to place my faith

in Meryl Streep. Just before it is
my turn to speak, the person next
to me echoes “Mamma Mia.” My
subpar answer I had spent the
last five minutes agonizing over
is now taken and I am back at the
beginning of not knowing what to
say. Oh, the joy of icebreakers.

Icebreakers have become the

creed of how we get to know each
other. Their relatively simple
nature is the reason they have
become a mainstay of meetings
and introductions. However, I am
surely not the only one who dreads

They are unnatural. Full of pauses
and silence. And often include
glaringly obvious reactions from
the group.

That said, I am absolutely

guilty of the judgment that
ensues when someone offers an
icebreaker response that seems
unnatural or forced. It can be
strange when the first thing
you learn about a person is their
favorite karaoke song or best gift
they have ever received. What are
we really supposed to glean from
these responses? Some would
argue that icebreakers offer a

way for people to find a connection in their
mutual similarities. However, considering
some of my own friendships with people
whose tastes are completely different than
my own, I question this argument.

Learning the faces and names of the

people you meet in September is important.
But, I don’t think we should hold people to
their icebreaker responses. In all honesty,
most of my responses make me cringe
for hours afterward. I agonize over why
I couldn’t think of a more interesting or
genuine answer and hope no one remembers
what I said. Introducing yourself shouldn’t
require a list of favorite things that you
can sing on cue like Maria von Trapp.
However, that might be a good idea for next


Managing Statement Editor:

Brian Kuang

Deputy Editors:

Colin Beresford

Jennifer Meer

Editor in Chief:

Alexa St. John

Photo Editor:

Amelia Cacchione


Elizabeth Bigham

Managing Editor:

Dayton Hare

Copy Editors:

Elise Laarman

Finntan Storer

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 // The Statement





Thank God September is over so we
can be done with icebreakers

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