We’ve all experienced uncomfortable moments introducing ourselves to someone new – whether in a professional or social setting. We want to make a positive impression, but we often aren’t sure what to say or talk about. As ex-pats, this situation might be doubly difficult, because of the added language and cultural differences. This weeks idiom, To “break the ice,” is about making these potentially awkward first meetings easier and more successful. “Breaking the ice” is about making people feel more comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.
The handy, online Free Dictionary provides the following definition:
break the ice (definition here)1. Fig. to attempt to become friends with someone. He tried to break the ice, but she was a little cold. A nice smile does a lot to break the ice.2. Fig. to initiate social interchanges and conversation; to get something started. It’s hard to break the ice at formal events. Sally broke the ice at the auction by bidding $20,000 for the painting.
If you’re a professional currently working in corporate America, or a student who spends time in the classroom, you have also likely heard of an “icebreaker.” This term refers to an action that is used to “break the ice,” typically at the beginning of a meeting or event. Telling a joke is a commonly used “icebreaker.”
The next time you’re around new people, be the person to break the ice – introduce yourself and start a conversation. Everyone will be glad you did, and you’ll probably make new friends in the process!