Icebreakers, though meant to facilitate interactions, oftentimes create more tension and discomfort than awkward silences do. People in a group should try to get to know one another but should do so on their own terms. Introverts and extroverts alike don’t jump at icebreaker suggestions, and here is why.
1. They bring about anxiety.
Icebreakers create an unnecessary burden of anxiety. Much like before raising your hand to answer a question in class for the first time, your heart begins to pump faster before you’re about to speak to a group of near-strangers. You dread the moment when it will be your turn to share, hoping your voice doesn’t betray your cool, confident sway by cracking midsentence.
2. You become the center of attention.
Especially on the days when you aren’t looking your prime, icebreakers bring attention that you do not seek from your peers. On these days, you just want to be finished with your introduction and divert everyone’s attention to the next victim.
3. You have to come up with something interesting, which oftentimes is a lie.
Though watching the finale of “Orange Is the New Black” was really the highlight of your week — and possibly your whole summer — you can’t let the rest of the class know how boring your break has been. Your summer activities don’t adequately show everyone what an interesting person you are, so you make up a story that is up to par with the rest of the group’s (presumably also exaggerated) exhilarating lifestyles.
4. You can’t share certain things.
How can you tell a crowd of 30 acquaintances that the last — and only — books you read in the past year are in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series? You’ll keep those details to yourself until you feel comfortable enough to release the inner beast that is your true self.
5. They don’t really break the ice.
As informative as someone’s favorite fruit being the strawberry is, you do not feel more inclined to speak to this person after learning this fascinating detail about his or her life. A game you played in elementary school doesn’t suddenly make you want to become friends with the person next to you, either.
6. They feel cliche and forced.
Forcing a group of people to interact with one another is as useless as your endless attempts to set up your two single friends. We should just let our instinctual need for interaction take its course and allow people to talk to one another without the help of icebreakers.
Image source:Anthony Quintano under Creative Commons
Contact Catherine Straus at [email protected].