How many times have you been around people with whom conversation felt stilted? Here, let us give you a few scenarios: gatherings at work, parties with new groups of people, school camps with colleagues you don’t know that well, and even… the beginning of a relationship. Do any of these sound familiar? If so, what did you do to make things less awkward?
We know it and you know it: conversation = the key. You’d like to socialize, but you don’t really know how to start. The organizer/host must have their hands full running the whole thing, so they don’t have time to get everyone gelling. What do you do? Suggest some talking games and see how everything loosens up!
We’ve made up a list of the best conversation games, no matter the context you’re in! Are you interested in some indoor activities or outdoor games? Do you need entertainment for kids, talking games to play with friends, or some ‘Minute to win it’ games for couples? We’ve got you!
Conversation starter games
Conversation starter games are usually icebreakers or ‘get to know you’ activities that encourage communication and incite laughter among players. People are meant to share things about themselves – from names & nicknames to deeper, more interesting stuff (weird hobbies) – that would make the process of getting to know each other a whole lot easier.
1. 20 Questions
This one is a great conversation starter. You might have heard of it under a different name or you know one of its variations, but here’s how you play the classic ‘20 questions’:
- One player has to think of a random word. ‘Think’, not ‘say it out loud’. It can be an object, an animal, or a person.
- The other players must try and guess the word by asking up to 20 questions.
- The main rule is that these questions can be answered only by ‘Yes’, ‘No’, and ‘Maybe’.
- The rest of the players must ask questions until they figure it out.
- You can also check out the full article about the 20 questions game here.
2. What’s Your Favorite?
How could you scrub the surface of someone’s personality? Easy: find out what they love. ‘What’s your favorite’ doesn’t require any supplies. Players must take turns in asking each other questions about their favorite stuff – podcasts, soap operas, bands, sports, colors, and the list can go on infinitely. It only depends on how much time you’ve got for this activity.
Make things more interesting by asking players to come up with a personal ‘Top 3’ for each of the categories you’re tackling.
3. How Well Do You Know Me?
Check out how much the others know about you! ‘How well do you know me?’ is how you get to know more trivial (and personal) stuff about the people around you. This conversation starter game is a great way to bond with your friends or work colleagues. It’s best played in groups smaller than 15 players.
All you have to do is ask questions about yourself, while the other player has to guess the answer. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out our list of ‘getting to know each other’ questions.
4. My Name, Your Name
You’ve got it right. This is the conversation starter game you want to play if people still haven’t got each other’s names figured out.
- Have everyone sit comfortably in a circle.
- Start a rhythm by asking players to slap their thighs twice, then clap their hands twice, followed by two snaps. It’s important to get this one right before going to the next step.
- The first player has to start by saying their name during the first snap and call out someone else’s name during the claps. The person called repeats this pattern by saying their name during the first snap and someone else’s name during the second snap.
- The goal is to learn everyone’s names in the process and, of course, not miss a beat.
5. The Squatting Game
Go beyond the boring, usual introductions and try this conversation starter game.
- First things first: ask players to sit in a circle.
- Start the game by calling out a characteristic you know someone in the group might have (for example ‘vegan’).
- Anyone who has a vegan lifestyle must instantly squat down on the ground, then jump back up.
- Next, choose someone else to call something out, and whoever responds to that must squat down and then jump up.
- You can bet that players will have plenty to talk about when the night’s over.
Do you need other suggestions? Ask who owns an Apple product, who drives to work, who’s an early bird, who likes chocolate (our bet is that you’ll see a lot of squats here), who plays the guitar, or who grew up in the countryside. Be creative!
Talking games to play with friends
1. The psychiatrist
This one’s appropriate for groups that already know each other pretty well.
- First, choose one player to be the ‘psychiatrist’. The rest of the players become the ‘patients’.
- Ask the psychiatrist to leave the room.
*If you’re playing this game on Facetime or Zoom, send them to a breakout room.
- Now, the patients have to decide upon a specific pattern that everyone will follow. This pattern will be called the ‘illness’. For example, players can choose to be the person to their immediate left, so they have to speak and behave just like them.
- After the illness is settled, the psychiatrist is allowed back in the room. He/she must start asking questions to figure out what’s wrong with them. The psychiatrist can interrogate only one patient at a time.
- If a patient answers incorrectly, the person they are pretending to be yells out ‘Psychiatrist!’, and everyone gets up and rearranges themselves.
*Note: Here, players can turn off and on their web cameras.
- The game ends when the psychiatrist wins by correctly guessing the pattern. You can also set a timer for this activity and, if the illness is not guessed within that time frame, the patients win.
- If you want to keep playing, the last player who spoke to the psychiatrist becomes the new psychiatrist.
2. Hot Takes
‘Hot takes’ is an enticing conversation game to play with friends. That’s because ‘a hot take’ refers to an unpopular opinion someone feels strongly about. You’re bound to find out some strong, niche opinions your friends hold.
- Players take turns in randomly calling out their hot takes.
- Then, take some time to let people weigh in on the debate.
Here are some examples of hot takes:
- Poached eggs are the best way to eat eggs.
- Marvel is better than Universal Studios.
- Chocolate doesn’t taste good.
- Coffee is a joke.
- Oatmeal raisin cookies are better than chocolate chip cookies.
- The Harry Potter movies are better than the books.
- Bacon doesn’t taste good
- Queen (the band) is overrated.
- ASMR is extremely stressful.
This talking game can be very fun if the takes are enticing. Just be careful to set some ground rules before playing. Our suggestion would be to avoid politics, religion, and any other sensitive topics.
3. Who Is Most Likely To?
If there was a category named ‘Find out what your friends really think about you’, this game would be at the top of the list.
‘Who is most likely to’ needs a bit of prepping in advance. Make up a list of scenarios (randomly or… not) and start reading them out loud when all the players are in their places – each statement at a time.
They have to decide which one of them would be most likely to do the thing that it’s being presented.
Here are some suggestions:
- Who is most likely to get locked out of their vehicle?
- Who is most likely to adopt a child?
- Who is most likely to fall asleep during a work meeting?
- Who is most likely to win a medal?
- Who is most likely to go on a space mission?
- Who is most likely to go the longest without drinking alcohol? (Speaking of which, we’ve got some pretty cool ‘Minute to win it’ drinking games for adults. Go check them out!)
- Who is most likely to join the army?
4. The Questions Game
This conversation game works best in smaller groups. The ‘Questions game’ challenges your focus and quickness, keeping you on your toes.
- The game begins when the first player by asking a question (for example ‘How would you feel about playing a game?’)
- Next, the second player has to answer the question with another question (for example, “What do you have in mind?”).
- Then, each player must quickly continue the conversation by using only questions.
- If one of the players hesitates or answers a question with a statement, he/she is out of the game.
- The goal of this talking game is to see how long players can maintain a dialogue of asking questions back and forth, without getting thrown off guard.
We assure you that this one’s highly entertaining – both for participants and for those who watch the madness unfold.
5. Just A Minute
This one tends to get a good laugh out of people!
The only rule is the following: each player must talk continuously – for one minute – on a specific subject. This may sound easy… until you get asked to speak on an obscure topic that you know little to nothing about.
If they get to do it successfully, the whole way, they get 1 point. The idea of the game is to speak confidently, as though you know exactly what you’re talking about, even if you don’t have the slightest clue!
If they hesitate, repeat themselves, or deviate, they get 0 points. If you want to make it less intimidating, you can also award 0.5 points for anything that falls somewhere in between.
Here you have a list of possible topics:
- How to make the best cup of coffee
- Wine tasting tips for beginners
- The pros and cons of Instagram
- The best way to propose to your boyfriend/girlfriend
Other classics that can turn into great talking games with friends, would be:
- Never have I ever
- Truth or dare
- Would you rather
- 2 truths and a lie
Talking games for couples
1. They’re A 10 But…
You must have seen all those memes on Instagram – ‘He’s a 10 but he doesn’t do the dishes’. Well, it turned out to be a great couple conversation game because it reveals what’s significant for every partner. Give it a go when there are more couples involved!
Start the game by thinking of a hypothetical person who is perfect except for one single flaw. Everyone present then says if that flaw is a big enough deal-breaker to make them uninterested in the person.
Let us help you with some examples:
- She’s a 10, but she’s rude to waiters.
- She’s a 10, but she spends too much time on social media.
- He’s a 10, but he doesn’t enjoy outdoor experiences.
- She’s a 10, but she despises cooking.
- He’s a 10, but he constantly cancels plans.
- She’s a 10, but she pronounces ‘often’ as /ɒfən/.
2. Orange Flags
If you’re in a relationship, you’re clearly familiar with the concept of ‘red flag’. And if not, let us make things easy for you. In dating, disturbing traits about our partner are referred to as ‘red flags’, while the positive ones are called ‘green flags’. This game is meant to tackle the ‘orange ones’. These are not necessarily deal-breakers, but they do make you stop and say ‘Hmm, we’ll see about that.’
Just like in ‘They’re a 10, but…’, one player starts the game by stating a fact they consider an orange flag. Next, everyone can chime in, either agreeing that it’s an orange flag, saying it wouldn’t bother them at all or, on the contrary, stating that it’s a deal-breaker.
Take a look at these examples:
- If he mentions his mom on our first date – then it’s an orange flag.
- If she doesn’t have good taste in fashion – then it’s an orange flag.
- If he doesn’t have a job – then it’s an orange flag.
- If she posts selfies daily on social media – then it’s an orange flag.
We promise you – this one’s a conversation game for couples that can really stir the pot!
3. Love, Like, Or Leave
Find out what your partner’s taste in people looks like by playing this couple conversation game.
Start by calling out 3 people that are in a similar category.
The other player has to assign the following tags to each one of them: love, like, or leave.
Get as creative as you wish. You can go for friends, acquaintances, fictional characters from books and movies, or celebrities. Here are some interesting combos:
- Harry Potter, Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, or Tom Holland’s Spider-Man?
- Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, or Sofia Vergara?
- Harry Potter, Frodo, or Peter Parker?
- Kim, Khloé, or Kourtney Kardashian?
A variation of this game is ‘Kiss, marry, or kill’. You’ll definitely know where your partner stands after answering a few of these questions. Just give them 3 options to choose from, and ask them who they would like to kiss, marry, or kill. Unlike ‘Like, love, or leave’, the 3 names do not have to be in the same category. For example, you could say ‘Lisa (one of your friends), Margot Robbie, and Hermione Granger’.
4. Who’s Better?
This game is all over TikTok and it turns out that it’s a great way to have fun with your partner.
All you have to do is have someone come up with some statements and read them aloud. Both you and your lover have to sit next to each other, with your eyes closed.
The instructor starts reading the statements and both of you have to point toward the person that’s more suitable for that action/description. Here are some examples:
- Who’s a better kisser?
- Who flirts the most?
- Who’s more clumsy?
- Who’s smarter?
- Who talks the loudest?
- Who gives better presents?
- Who has a bigger butt?
- Who has a better vision?
- Who is a better driver?
- Who was the first one to have a crush on the other?
- Who has a better laugh?
*Tip: Try filming this entire thing. You’re going to create quite a memory!
5. Between The Sheets
Spark things up by playing a conversation game for couples that makes your partner aware of… your interests and hobbies (let’s put it that way).
Come up with a list of questions and see if your partner is aware of all the things you like. The night can be both romantic and fun.
6. Whisper Challenge
This one’s a classic that works even better in couples because you, lovers, have all sorts of inside jokes.
- One of the 2 players must wear a pair of headphones with music playing at a volume high enough that they can’t hear a thing.
- Next, the other player says a word/phrase, and the person with the headphones on must guess what was said.
Talking games for kids
Conversation games are a great way to make children mingle and get to know each other better.
1. Name 10
The instructor or one of the kids decides upon a category (for example cartoons, sweets, or sports).
Next, the other players have to come up with 10 items that can fit into that specific category. You can turn this one into a ’Minute to win it’ game for kids and set a timer for 60 seconds.
2. I Spy
In this talking game for kids, everyone takes turns guessing what the person is thinking after saying ‘I spy with my little eye…’.
- The ‘spy-er’ must notice something around them and then say, ‘I spy with my little eye something that starts on the letter .’
- If no one gets it right, the kid can give hints (the object’s use, color, etc.).
- This one starts with one player stating a name and an object starting with the letter A. For example, ‘I am Anna and I like apples’.
- Then, every player takes turns adding a name and an item, in alphabetical order.
If you want to challenge the kids’ memory, have them repeat the names and objects that were previously mentioned (*of course, in alphabetical order).
4. The Telephone
This one is a classic talking game that suits especially the tiny ones.
- Have the players form a line or circle, and ask them to pass a short message down the chain.
- The first person has to come up with the message (preferably something that is easy to mishear), then whisper it into the ear of the player sitting next to them. Each player then repeats the message to the person next to them.
- Finally, the last person is asked to reveal what reached their ears, and the first person has to reveal the original message.
The fun is seeing how much the message has changed.
5. I Like You Because…
This one encourages kindness among kids and that’s what turns it into a nice conversation game.
- Sit in a circle and have everyone say something nice about the person next to them.
- After going around the circle, mix up where everyone is sitting, so they can now say something nice about a different player.
Try playing this game if you’re navigating conflict in the classroom. It can remind kids that despite their differences, they actually care about the people they’re with.
What’s the purpose of conversation games?
- To start off discussions on a good note.
- To skip the boring introductions by going for fun icebreaker questions instead.
- To share personal stuff about yourself and get to know others in a fun way.
- To enjoy yourself at a get-together with your friends and work/school colleagues.
- That if you go for talking games, there’s no way you’ll run out of topics during the night. They don’t have too many complex rules and they usually don’t require any supplies. They are also simple for everyone to understand so it’s pretty easy to get things going right away.
How to organize conversation games?
No rocket science here. When setting up a game night, just make sure you keep in mind the following things:
- Come up with talking games suitable for the age group and context. The activities when kids are involved will differ from the ones when adults are playing. The same goes for gatherings with friends vs get-togethers with work colleagues.
- Next, you shouldn’t pry into other people’s lives: If you don’t know the members of the group well, suggest neutral conversation games. These will also make the talks flow freely, without getting too personal.
- You should be able to laugh at yourself. And when playing a conversation game, it’s very likely to spill the tea by saying silly things about yourself. Make fun of the moment! That will help everyone relax and enjoy the time spent together!
- Make sure that everyone’s involved. Talking games can be a great way to get everyone talking. Remember to pay attention to all the players participating in the game.
- Don’t forget to have fun! At the end of the day, that’s what games are for.
Hopefully, you’ve just turned a really sad evening into a barrel of laughs! Just keep eTeamBuilding up your sleeve for the next time you’re looking for some fun!