I Can’t Describe Myself in Three Words

This time of year, a lot of people are going back to school or college and meeting new groups. Many times, people are allowed to be awkward and silent in peace on that first day. Other times, there are (dun dun dun)… icebreakers.

“Stand up and tell us three things about yourself!”

Listen, pal, you’re assuming a lot here. I can barely think of three things full stop, never mind three things about me. And who is “me”? I have a very vague sense of identity, you could probably say three things about me faster than I could.

You can usually get away with your name being one thing, unless everyone already knows each other. Same goes for your age and where you’re from. These are the pillars of basic identification a lot of the time, but some icebreaker leaders (read: tyrants) won’t accept that.

Which is a bit rude of them, actually. Can one of my facts be I think you’re rude?

Probably not.

I can tell you what my favourite colour is, but I really don’t think that says very much about me. I’ve never felt like I gained a great insight into someone’s personality because they like green. Am I alone in this?

I don’t even know why I have a favourite colour, though I have a sneaking suspicion it’s because I was asked so often in situations like this. Especially as a child. Kids get asked what their favourite colour is so often! I think it’s because adults don’t know what else to ask them. How about what they like to do with their time? What books and TV shows they like? If they play sports or do art? What they think of the state of constant decay in the world that is all-consuming in its ferocity and terror?

No?

Okay, well then, my favourite colour is red. Now you know me intimately as a person.

(Feel free to put your favourite colour in the comments and watch me not care!)

If you want people to become friends, making them stand up and talk about themselves in a way that doesn’t allow for any kind of conversation to start isn’t the way to help. Get people to talk to each other, have them do an activity together, or just leave them alone and let them stare at their phones. Not everyone has to be friends.

If you get stuck in a circle and you’re up next to present your Three Amazing Facts About Yourself ™, here’s something very simple you can do.

When you’re asked “Tell us three things about you”, look around the circle, take a deep breath, stand up, and say this:

“No.”

Then sit back down and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Everyone else in the group will instantly want to be friends with someone so brave, and the icebreaker tyrant will flee in tears, crushed that their rule has ended. Then you can all do your class or whatever it was in peace, free of the burden of having to know anything about anyone.


(In case you were wondering, my three facts are that I don’t have a strong sense of my own personality and I can’t count.)