It’s about time I bring back a post topic that’s an oldie, but a goodie. It’s something that people ask me about all the time: icebreaker games.
At 27, I find that I’ve gotten to the age where I know people from many different areas of life. There are co-workers, bloggers, church-goers, choir singers, RAs, engineers, friends of friends, and people I randomly introduce myself to. How they heck do you get them all to talk to each other at a party? An icebreaker game is sure to do the trick. Here are my top 5 tried-and-true icebreaker games to get people to connect at a party.
Give ‘Em Something to Talk About
Whether your party is extravagant or simple, it’s easiest to get people to start talking when there is a theme or activity to talk about. You don’t need to know the person next to you to talk about how cute the cheese tray is or ask “what does that one taste like.” You also don’t need to know the person next to you if you’re all playing a game – you can skip the introductions and head straight to what’s in front of you right now. My favorite of the themed parties have been: a chai tasting, a beer & cheese party, a find the best bottle of wine under $10 party, and a find the best hot fudge party. Each one of these parties in itself provides questions for the guests to talk about right off the bat.
Ask a Question
One of my favorite, and the simplest one of the icebreaker games, is to ask everybody to answer a question at the start of an event. And no matter how formal the event is I like to keep the question relaxed. What is your favorite new restaurant? What cool new thing have you discovered lately? Where did you grow up? What’s your favorite Disney movie? I even once had a party where we started with “what’s your favorite kind of salad dressing”. Unexpected answers keep things interesting and give people something to talk about later. I recommend the party host answer the question first and then everyone else answers in a (counter-)clockwise circle. That way the host can set the tone right off the bat and nobody needs to “volunteer” to go next.
This is also way easier than something like “two truths and a lie” where people have to come up with something about themselves. That always puts people on the spot of needing to come up with a topic cool enough to use.
Never Have I Ever
This is very similar to the “ask a question” game, but it takes it a step further. Instead of learning the answer to just one question, you and your guests can learn the answers to dozens of questions. The premise is that somebody (or the host) says, “never have I ever…” and you fill in the blank with something you have never done. Anybody who has done this thing needs to complete a certain action whether that’s put a finger up to add a number to their score, have a sip of their beverage, take a step forward, or any other identifiable action to let the other attendees know that this person has actually done the “never have I ever.” I have a few favorite things about this game: (1) it’s fast-paced, which means people are less-likely to get bored, (2) it gives you a chance to learn a lot of information in a short amount of time, and (3) it can be whatever you need it to be. If it’s a game for 12-year-old girls, you can focus the questions in that direction. If it’s a game for 20-something college students, you can focus the questions in that direction.
It’s up to you whether or not you want people to come up with their own never have I evers (which is always interesting) or just narrate the game as a host to keep it under control. It all depends on where you want the evening to end up. Choose wisely.
Go Move Your Car
This is now and forever will be my favorite one of the ice breaker games. It only happens a few times a year that I get to use it, and in all honesty it’s not really easily replicated, BUT I feel the need to tell you anyway. Every year I host a Christmas party in Connecticut at my parent’s house. We have a very long driveway and there’s not that much parking at the top, so sometimes when it gets too congested I send people down to park. What usually happens is I find 5 people who drove and don’t know each other very well and I say, “you, you, you, you, and you, go down the driveway in 5 cars and come back up in 1.” It’s an interesting way to throw people together. Plus, it’s efficient and effective.
Give ‘Em Something To Do
If you’ve tried a bunch of icebreaker games, you’ve tried the “hey Sara, Louise is planning a trip to San Francisco and I know you just went there, you should totally give her some tips about it,” along with the “hey Tom, Sam plays tennis too,” but there’s still somebody hanging out that seems like they don’t have anyone to talk to, ask them if they will help you with a task. I know that when I feel awkward at parties it always makes me feel better when I have a task. It makes me feel more important, like I’m helping the host, and gives me something to talk about.
Do you have any other tips that you use to make people feel included? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.