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‘Fun Facts’ Are Never Fun

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As if starting a new job (or joining a new group) wasn’t scary enough, so often you’ll be asked to introduce yourself by way of a “fun fact.” Inevitably, at this moment, you will forget everything you’ve ever done, every place you’ve ever been, every one of your accomplishments. There will be nothing to say, and you’ll end up blurting out your dog’s breed, or the sport you used to play in high school, or something equally uninteresting, and un-fun. It’s not your fault. This is a bad practice, a damning prompt. Employers, especially, should not ask their employees to produce fun facts. It’s enough to be there to do the job for which you were hired.

But if you once again find yourself in a situation in which you must produce a fun fact — and you will — you might as well be prepared. The ideal fun fact is two things: (1) interesting enough to ensure nobody makes you do it over, and (2) not so interesting that everyone has lots of follow-up questions. It doesn’t have to be fun. It will rarely be fun. You just need something to say. Here are 25 ideas and prompts you can keep in your back pocket for the next time you’re asked.

1. Your proudest atypical accomplishment. The year you made every recipe in Deb Perelman’s cookbook; the time you built an IKEA dresser in an hour flat; your Jenga title; your famous Super Bowl dip.

2. Your most prized collection. Whether it’s old coins, stamps, or something less-grandfatherly, this is a perfect “fun” fact.

3. Your biggest (non-serious fear). You don’t want to get TOO vulnerable here (“My biggest fear is death” might chill the room a bit), but if you’ve got a very specific, less-common fear, like chipmunks or something, go with that.

4. The first job you wanted when you were a little kid.

5. Your high-school superlative.* (*UNLESS you won, like, “Most Popular” or “Most Likely to Succeed.” No thanks! Keep it to yourself!)

6. Your go-to comfort-binge TV show. Say something like The Office, Friends, Fresh-Prince of Bel-Air, and people will be like “ha, same!” and never think of it again. (Ideal.)

7. Something you were embarrassingly late to realize. Like finding out narwhals are a real animal, or finding the arrow in the FedEx logo.

8. Your celebrity crush. The best options here fit in the Totally Kind of Hot category — not universal, but niche-relatable.

9. Your best celebrity sighting. Personally, I once saw Lindsay Lohan smoking a cigarette on a stoop in downtown St. Paul!

10. How many tattoos/piercings you have. IMO, this one could be considered a little risqué (like … where are they?), so you’ve got to feel out the office vibe first.

11. What your last meal on Earth would be.

12. The trip you most want to take, but haven’t yet. (For me, Roswell, New Mexico, for alien reasons.)

13. An embarrassing piece of trivia from your Spotify or other music-streaming account. Some apps organize your data for you, so you might as well use it.

14. Your favorite word. (Probably don’t pick one that’s NSFW.)

15. A superstition you have.

16. The most unusual/severe illness you’ve ever had.

17. The weirdest (nonsexual!!) thing you can do with your body. The downside here: Be prepared for people to ask you to do it. You’ve been warned!

18. Your most unusual pet.

19. The longest travel delay you’ve ever experienced. People love to commiserate about travel delays.

20. A contest you once won. Like, say, you and your friend dressed up, stood in line, and were rewarded with free Black Eyed Peas tickets from a local radio station.

21. A poem or song or scene from a movie that you’ve memorized. The trick here is to pick one that’s long enough to be notable, but not so long you’ll be asked to demonstrate.

22. The amount of prepping you’ve done for the end of the world/your strategy in the zombie apocalpyse.

23. The animal you’d be if you knew you’d be reincarnated as an animal.

24. The first concert you attended as a teenager (generally gets at least a few nostalgia laughs).

25. Insist there’s nothing interesting about you at all. Funny and the only truly respectable option.

This post has been updated.

‘Fun Facts’ Are Never Fun