Keep reading to find out if we’re a match. If you’re anything like me, then you probably also despise icebreakers with a passion, or really any other obvious or inorganic attempt at getting-to-know-you style ‘conversation’.
If you’re anything like me, then you probably also despise icebreakers with a passion, or really any other obvious or inorganic attempt at getting-to-know-you style ‘conversation’.
My personal experience has always been that icebreakers tend to give me more social anxiety, and build even more ice on top of the already existing albeit hypothetical ice that it’s meant to have had broken in the first place.
I was 19, and I was going on Birthright. For readers that aren’t aware: Birthright is a non-profit Jewish organization. Usually in conversation, when people mention ‘birthright’, it’s in reference to the fully-funded, organized trip to Israel they sponsor for around 40 individuals (read: mix of pre and post pubescent Jewish teenagers, all at varying stages of hormones, horniness and religiosity.) As you might suspect, I was already feeling unnerved to be going on a 10-day trip with no one I knew (most of my close friends growing up weren’t Jewish, which is one of, if not the main criteria for being accepted for the program.) I also quickly realized that most of them had signed up in groups, making me and a few others the obvious social outcasts.
I’ll skip the boring parts and cut to the point where we all got to the airport, having passed security, and are now (all 40 of us) waiting at the gate to board. The guide/lead/teenage-glorified-babysitter-turned-chaperone was quick to recognize the opportune moment for what it was; so, she got up and told us all to form a circle because we were about to do an icebreaker.
I didn’t doubt that the intensity of the joy she had obviously felt in anticipation of the icebreaker (and, to be sure, I would never want to deny someone pure happiness.) It’s not so much the isolated event that was worrisome to me. Her reaction said everything I needed to know about her and the kind of person that she was (having had met many women like her when I had gone to a Jewish summer camp) and I knew this would be the first of many insufferable group torture sessions that she would initiate over the next 10 days. The prompt was to say your name and a weird hobby you have, or something you’re into.
My turn came, so I went to the middle of the circle (not by choice), said my name, and spoke about how I’m passionate about Norm MacDonald, the Canadian stand-up comic that used to be on SNL during the 90’s as the Weekend Update host and had also just started his own podcast with his co-host Adam Eget who also runs the Comedy Store which is essentially the spot for up-and-coming comics. Anyway, I suggested they all check out Norm’s stuff because it changed my life and was available on YouTube, like everything else.
From the middle of the circle, I could see the expressions from all the forty faces of the people I didn’t yet know go blank. ‘I guess you know it’s weird when after you say it the room goes silent” I said.
If you’re thinking, ‘this is cute but not all that interesting’ and are wondering where I’m going with this, you are not alone, and I am with you. This is a meandering story and where I’m going remains unclear. What does any of this have to do with what the blog is about? Well, much like this blog, I’m hesitant in saying it is about x because I know I will want to write on other topics or share dumb anecdotes like the one I just did. I’ll say that this blog is Seinfeldian in spirit, and is about no one thing in particular. Will try to keep things light and chill, but really no promises!
Until the next one.
Here’s the thing, I love movies. I’ve seen hundreds (nearing a thousand, I’m not kidding — I keep a list.) There are many classic movies worth seeing. In no particular order, this is a list of ten movies I
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