Have you ever been in a meeting in which they ask participants to go around the room and state: what’s your name and some fun fact about you?
I have, and it’s caused heart palpitations!
It’s hard to put me on the spot in a group setting. I freeze up – or at least I used to.
As a near introvert, which I didn’t realize I was for many years but I understand now, I can speak about certain topics with ease, while other scenarios cause major angst.
My friends and coworkers exclaimed: “What do you mean you’re an introvert?” They’d heard me vocalize my opinions on many topics, ad nauseam.
They didn’t understand that, in the comfort of people I knew, I was willing to say just about anything. But in the presence of others, I freaked out and couldn’t come up with an eloquent statement.
“Name a fun fact about you?” was like a death sentence for my teenage and 20-something self.
I wasn’t interesting. I didn’t have anything unique to share. Or so I thought at the time.
My approach to dealing with this dilemma became to plan ahead. Whether work or social activity, I knew the question was forthcoming. I developed two default responses:
“I love fast food, but I’ve never eaten a Big Mac.”
“I’m a calm person, but I have an irrational fear of birds. They’re creepy little critters!”
Both answers led to laughter and follow-up questions. Personal crisis averted!
Despite my pre-planned responses, I realized that, in some informal situations, they didn’t fulfill the need. So as I “grew up” I came up with alternatives.
“I got into “Jared the Subway guy’s” pants.”
After that exclamatory statement, I’d explain that as a TV reporter I literally got into his over-sized pants as part of the national Subway campaign to show how he’d lost weight.
“I interviewed Mario Lemieux naked.”
After dropping this fact, I’d explain that he was naked, not I, and that it occurred in the context of me interviewing him in a locker room. For those who didn’t know, I’d go on to explain that he was an amazing hockey player who owns the Pittsburgh Penguins. (I have comments about how that went down, but I’ll reserve them for another day.)
Bottom line, despite my introverted nature, I’d finally uncovered a few G- and PG-13-rated “fun facts” that I could share in any situation.
How about you? Have you struggled with the same question? If so, or if not, what do you respond?
(This series appears every other Wednesday. In these posts, I pose a random “What’s Your _______?” question, reveal my answers, and revel in your responses.)