Icebreakers and I have a tempestuous relationship.
Despite being something of a hot seat devotee and a major fan of random and revealing questions, my first memory of icebreakers is on the traumatic side.
It was the first day of 3rd or 4th grade. Our teacher (Probably Ms. Ellis in fourth grade, this seems like just her brand of sadism) told us we would be going on an impromptu camping trip, passed around a roll of toilet paper, and told us to take what we thought we would need for an overnight stay.
I was pretty sure something was up. I may have been eight years old but I was no fool. They needed my parents’ signatures to bus me to the Science Museum for a few hours. But still part of me was completely appalled at the threat of being spirited away for a night. And having to reveal my toilet paper needs? It was the height of humiliation.
You may have played this game before- you have to share a fact about yourself for every sheet that you take. I don’t remember what I did- probably something middle of the road like 5. Someone took one sheet and another boy (I think it was Pedro) took about half the roll.
So while I have no problem with sharing some level of personal information and even less of a problem listening to other people’s stories (when it doesn’t border on the TMI) I hate the enforced ‘getting-to-know-you’ of icebreakers, which are really only good for uniting a group against the irritating and condescending authority demanding how many bones you’ve broken.
Which is a long way of saying I found 25 fun icebreaker questions and I’m going tonsure some of them.
Please do not be inspired to use these for their purported purpose of ‘team building at work’.
- What was your first job?
My first paid job was as a barista at a Barnes & Noble Starbucks.
- Have you ever met anyone famous?
The most starstruck I have ever been was when I met one of the horses who played Shadowfax in Lord of the Rings.
- If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
So many I can’t choose: a language, hunting with falcons, parkour, an instrument…
- Seen any good movies lately you’d recommend?
Good Time wasn’t my kind of movie but it is being criminally overlooked. It came out in 2017.
- Been pleasantly surprised by anything lately?
The only things coming directly to mind are both today: Clinique’s eyeliner is in fact easy and liquid, and it sounds like Black Panther is super intersectional and has strong female characters.
- Favorite band ten years ago?
I was twelve, which was about the time I got my iPod and started listening to music for the first time. Honestly it was probably Aly and AJ or Avril Lavigne. Embarrassing.
- What’s your earliest memory?
I remember sitting on the rug at preschool and thinking to myself, “I’m three”.
- Been anywhere recently for the first time?
Grasse and Nice!
- What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
The first big ticket item I bought with my own money was one of those felted cardboard cat condos. It was two floors. We still have it. It was $80 and I had saved for forever. I think I was in Elementary school. I was a high roller.
- Any phobias you’d like to break?
Nope, spiders and I are good with where our animosity is, thanks very much.
- What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
I’m such an old person, I like raisin bran. But I remember being young and loving the Cap’n Crunch I had at my cousins’ beach house. When I came home and asked my parents if we could buy it they told me it wasn’t sold in our state. Ah, the lies our parents tell us.