The about me section of any questionnaire, icebreaker, or profile is by far the hardest part. I’m a pretty boring person when I really think about it. I wake up every morning, drink my coffee, go to class, come home, and sleep. That’s about it. I can’t say that I’ve swam with dolphins or gone skydiving, I’m not fluent in six different languages, and I haven’t created my own app. It’s hard to write about yourself without sounding conceited or self-absorbed and that’s definitely not the first impression you want to make on people. You also don’t want to seem like a total bore. I would never actually tell people that I go to bed at 10:00 and my mom’s my best friend, because that’s weird to say outloud and especially to a room full of strangers. So how do you describe yourself to people you’ve never met? It’s a very hard thing to do, but I’ll see what I can come up with.
Most of the time it’s the first day of class. Your professor asks everyone to stand up and introduce themselves. My palms usually get sweaty and my heart starts to beat faster because I’m not the best public speaker. I aim to keep things short and sweet because there is less of a chance my voice will crack. My introductions sound something like this, “Hi my name is Jessie *hi jessie*.” At least that’s what I imagine would happen. Ever since therapy groups started doing it, repeating someone’s name in a monotoned voice seems to be the norm. “I am a senior, a comm major, and my favorite color is green.” This is where I would normally stop. Leaving my audience with zero information about who I really am. What is the point of introducing yourself if your classmates still know nothing about you? If I were a better public speaker and my voice didn’t crack every other sentence, I would say, “My name is Jessie, the homies call me Lube. My dream job is to create the names for the Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream flavors. And my bedroom in elementary school used to be surfing themed even though I’m afraid of drowning and I’ve never been surfing.” That would be the perfect introduction, if I could pull it off, but that’s a personal problem.
Everyone aspires to be relatable and well liked. It’s not fun to be stiff and boring all the time. No one really cares what your major is, where you’re from, and what your favorite color is. If you asked me what my friends favorite color is I probably wouldn’t know because it’s not that important. Instead of telling everyone where I’m from so they can make assumptions about me based solely off of that, I could say, “Hi my name is Jessie, my last name is pronounced lube-ka, not lub-ka or loop-ka. I’ve kept a list of inspirational quotes in my phone since I was a freshman in highschool. And my parents always thought I was too irresponsible to have a pet.” All true facts, all conversation starters, and all about me! I’m not boasting that I was published in the Hartford Courant, or that I have a paid internship this summer. I like to think that the point of these about me introductions is so that your classmates will have something to talk to you about. Maybe someone else in my class is deathly afraid of drowning and will come up to me and start talking about how they hate the ocean. Boom, the start of a friendship.
I admit that it is hard and uncomfortable to tell strangers personal information. I can barely say three sentences without having shaky hands. I’m not embarrassed that I get inspirational quotes sent to my phone at 9:00am every single day, but somebody else might be. I’m not a therapist and I can’t tell you what to say, but don’t be boring. That’s my (un)professional opinion. Boring is boring and no one wants to be bored. The next time you’re asked to describe yourself in 3 words don’t say, fun, outgoing, and hardworking or I, don’t, and know. Try saying something like, spontaneous, positive, and driven. And the next time you’re prompted with the dreaded about me section, take it on with confidence. Tell a funny story, make a couple jokes, and just be honest. If it’s a job, or a dating website or what have you, the recruiter or potential mate will admire because you are honest, not because your favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla. (side note: don’t say vanilla, that would be very vanilla of you).