There’s something about meeting someone for the first time that makes you lose it. The butterflies in your stomach, the trembling hands, the sweaty forehead, the I - don’t - know - what - to - do - but - it’s - kinda - awkward - if - I - also - don’t - do - anything feeling are all part of the experience when meeting someone new.
But what if they’re not that new? What if you’ve known them for years but are just meeting them again after who knows how long? What if you’re meeting your book club face to face for the first time but have known each other for a year online? What if it’s reuniting with some of your old friends from elementary school? You can just imagine the awkwardness you will have when meeting them again - the awkward silence after saying hello, the random clearing of the throat after saying, “I’ve been doing well, too!” Even some of the closest friend groups don’t always pick up where they left off when they meet again after a long time, so here are a few icebreakers to spark up some conversation:
1. Reminiscent Games or Activities
Maybe it’s reliving your old childhood games, revisiting your past activities, and eventually fun experiences you’ve once had that will help get rid of that awkwardness. Some games or activities that you used to do before will give your group some common ground and help some open up after remembering the closeness of the group when doing activities the group used to bond over.
For example, if you’re meeting some of your old high school friends, then you could go to a coffee shop you once frequented or visit some of the restaurants or places your friend group dropped by after class. These activities will undoubtedly bring up some memories you had in the past and get you talking.
2. Custom Bingo
This is ideal for those larger groups with more than eight people meeting again after some time. It involves making your own Bingo card and asking people to mark spots they own, have done, or experienced before. The bingo card should be creative and relevant to the group you are meeting to make this a fun activity.
For example, if you plan to meet with a group of animal lovers, it would help if the bingo would contain choices like: had my pet since I was five years old, own or owned a reptile, hate cleaning my pet’s poop, my pet is an alarm clock in the morning, and the likes - featuring some relatable experiences of pet life which could spark conversation on each of the boxes that were ticked. There may be a mix of stories that you’ve already heard, but there will surely be more stories to share as you go along the bingo card.
3. Finding Common Ground
Looking for something that all members of the group have in common may be difficult if you do not know the people you are meeting. However, given that you may have known these people before or met them virtually, it would not be that difficult to find commonalities, especially for small groups.
To illustrate, if you’re a religious group who loves books, talking about a book that all of you have read, such as The Other Side of Fear by Veronica Lisare, would help your group break the ice and share their favorite lines or parts of the book. This could also jumpstart other conversations like previous experiences they’ve had relating to some parts of the book the group was discussing.
4. Pictionary or Charades
If you plan to meet in a spacious place, playing Pictionary or charades would be a good choice since this would spark conversation and even bring back some inside jokes of the group.
For bigger groups, you could play telephone charades or the doodle challenge. Telephone charades is played when a person acts out a charade for only the next person standing in line, who in turn acts out the action again for the next person. The last person in the line attempts to guess the original clue. Doodle challenge where people in a line would draw on each other’s back wherein the second and succeeding people try to recreate the image by feeling the movement of the pen. These are hilarious since the actions or drawings would often change after it was passed on from one person to another.
5. Two Truths and One Lie
This activity will help you find out something new about your friends while trying to remember what you already know about them. To play this game, each person will tell three statements, two of which are true and one is false. The other people will then try to guess which of the statements is a lie.
To make it interesting, your group could also set boundaries or make categories for the statements they will make, such as themes of love life, career, hobbies, and the likes.