Food

Dinner Party Conversation Starter

Dinner Party Conversation

The other day, I went to a dinner party, and as we sat down, the host said those four dreaded words…

“Let’s do an icebreaker!”

She asked us to go around the table and share three fun facts about ourselves. Sitting to her right, I was the first person to go. I scrambled to come up with offbeat stories and ended up spouting random things: “Um, I have a twin sister… Uh, I don’t drink coffee?”

But by the time we got halfway around the table, people had warmed up and were telling EPIC tales. One woman could remember everything she’d done every day of her life (but never realized that was weird until she saw a 60 Minutes piece on endless memory). Another woman had married her husband twice — first at 20, then they divorced at 21, then re-married at 22. A third woman revealed that she had spent years working as the personal assistant to a major celebrity. (!!!)

The party was a huge success — we were laughing so much, and people shared things that would have never otherwise come up. It was the ultimate conversation starter. Every contribution sparked a dozen more questions, and the game lasted the whole night.

Update: Since then, we’ve also asked guests to share either an irrational fear or their celebrity crush — which have led to fascinating answers.

Thoughts? Any other tips for dinner parties?

P.S. Leaving a party, and how to host an articles club.

  1. I actually love this idea. You always get that weird sense of anxiety when you get put on the spot, but I imagine this would get conversations flowing much faster than normal… which ends up saving many more awkward silences!

    http://www.thislifeisbelle.com

  2. Joi Caplen says...

    I’ll l write a celebrities names on post its and put each one on my guests back. During the cocktail hour you have to ask a person questions that require yes on no answers until you get the celebrity on their back. So much fun.

  3. Ann says...

    At a fun multi-family lake trip each night we would gather around the table, we took turns making the dinner each night and the dinner would always start with 2 questions for each person: “what was your pony today?” and “what was your flippin’ unicorn today?” It was so fun for the kids and adults. The kids responses were priceless.

  4. I love this idea! I think we need an entire separate post on how to maintain healthy conversations/relationships with our kids. Kerry, I would love to hear your list!

  5. I love this one: you say three things about yourself – two true and one false – and the group has to guess which one is a lie! It’s always hysterical.

  6. Layne says...

    I love this! Sometimes I do a version called, “2 truths and a lie.” It’s still 3 facts but people have to guess the lie!

  7. Kate Toussaint says...

    A colleague is big on improv. He sent an article to me about a game that is super fun- word ball. So now my husband and I have started to play: I say a word “pizza” and my husband will say whatever comes into his head “Italian” and around it goes. Lots of laughs and can be played with any number of friends.

  8. Claire M says...

    Yesterday my team at work was in a pretty depressing mood so I started an email chain with this starter. We have never laughed so hard! Ordinary people really do have great stories.

  9. It was quite possibly your website that gave me this idea initially by posting a link to the article, but I can’t remember for sure. It was a NY Times article about how granny panties were back in style and thongs were oppressive, anti-feminist. I remember being totally shocked by this article. (Full disclosure: I’m a former college volleyball player and those spandex we wore meant we all got very comfortable with wearing thongs.) A few days later was my 29th birthday, and I invited a bunch of my girlfriends over for a casual dinner. I brought up the granny panties vs. thongs debate and it led to the most hilarious conversation.

  10. Gabrielle says...

    At Thanksgiving last year I set out a tin alongside some blank cards and pens and wrote at the top “I’m Thankful For…”. People filled them out during cocktails and when it came time to sit down we passed the tin around and every person read one card each. It’s totally anonymous and gets so many memorable reactions!

  11. Haha! I was wondering where the part was where she shared the icebreaker that really worked! I would feel kind of mortified to go first for this “game”. I do love the idea of sharing one thing at a time around in a circle. I’m going to a big dinner with some close friends and some strangers this weekend, so I think I’ll try it!

  12. Alina says...

    I worked at a startup and at the first all-company lunch of your first week of work you had to tell THE WHOLE COMPANY something about yourself that cannot be found on the internet…. I also went first that day so I shared the lamest fact about myself (can’t even repeat it) but everyone else told hilarious stories. Point: sucks being the first person in these situations, right?!

  13. Jill says...

    I went to one party where the host asked everyone to tell the story of the first time they got really drunk. The stories were hilarious, and I don’t even drink.

  14. I make name tags for people and they have 4 questions that they have to answer. That way you walk around with your “ice breakers.” I’ve had things like:
    -My name that I don’t use
    -City I would most like to live in
    -Someone I would like to meet
    -If I had 3 unexpected hours of free time I would
    -I would never want to visit

    I make up new ones for every party.

  15. Em Marie says...

    My favorite icebreaker is called 7 things. You go around the table 7 times sharing things you love or that fill you with joy and why. You don’t say them all at once so I tend to find inspiration in what others have shared, it’s a feel-good conversation, and you find yourself bonding with others in those “OMG me too!” moments.

    • Olivia says...

      I love this idea. It’s great for introverts and extroverts. It focuses on positives things that people might actually find in common much better than those truth or lie or tell me something about yourself statements.

    • Jill says...

      Really nice idea.

  16. I love the idea of an icebreaker. We recently went to a wine party at our neighbors house, and it felt like it took awhile for all of us to get a good conversation going. The wine helped eventually, but an icebreaker would have got the ball rolling much earlier in the night.

    How funny that you don’t drink coffee! It makes me a little cuckoo too, but I can’t help myself! ha! In hindsight, what other names would you have named Cup of Jo instead?

    xo Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha i have no idea! my brother actually came up with the name. he was the one who convinced me to start the blog a thousand years ago! :)

  17. I love that! It can be so awkward but icebreakers are fun get to know yous

  18. Olivia says...

    I think these “go around the table and tell us…” are awful. They feel forced and you’re left feeling like you have to come up with something that wows the rest of the room. These are great for extroverts but something like this scares most introverts. I personally prefer something as simple as a question that everyone could answer and which could lead to more in-depth conversation.

  19. Mara says...

    Nothing strikes fear into my heart more than hearing the words “Now let’s go around a circle and…” These games are perfect for extroverts, but even among my best friends and family, the nerves and pressure would hit hard. A great reminder to consider your audience!

  20. Jenna says...

    I play a version of this called 2 truths and a lie, where you give 3 ‘statements’ about yourself and everyone has to guess which one is the lie!

    • I was once at a gathering where this game was played, and one of the men — an idiot? — shared that he had killed someone. That turned out to be true. It kind of killed the party vibe…

    • Sara says...

      Omg, Lori! That’s awful!

  21. I think that sounds fun at a dinner party. I’ve had to do that with new hire orientation and its just awkward. and slow. and with so many people you never remember much.

  22. Candice says...

    My husband and I recently had a night to ourselves and he came up with this game where we’d blurt out a number, say 12, and the other person had to tell a story about something that happened to them at that age. It was great digging into the nooks and crannies of our brains for stories we still hadn’t told each other!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so adorable!!

    • Heather says...

      I love this idea! I’ve been married for ten years, and sometimes it feels depressing because it seems like we know everything about one another! What a fun way to dig in a little deeper!

    • Love this. So sweet. :)

    • This was such a great idea! I did this last night with my husband, sister, and her husband. These are people I know very well and it was so fun to learn even more about them 😊

  23. I have to add my latest dinner party question …. it has generated some great discussion. “Who in the world is the person who is most like you?” Most like you might = personality, quirks, appearance, lifestyle, workstyle, etc. Not surprisingly, many will say that one of their children is most like them. [I have two sons. My eldest is so like my husband, it’s spooky. My youngest son is incredibly similar to me in many many ways and we really understand each other on a deep level.] However, many are stumped, saying “NO one is much like me.” Which I find really cool – that on a planet of billions of people, we are unique.

  24. Fun! I love icebreakers. Because of the reason you just shared, it ends up being so much more interesting than if everyone just talked about the weather and blah boring things for 20 minutes!

  25. marcela w says...

    I live with a bunch of my best friends and we have people over all the time and are well known for having fun dinner parties/parties/movie nights etc. There are a number of things we always do for example the random facts or weirdest thing about yourself, or an embarassing story, the trick is one of us always starts out with something super weird so people wont begin with the boring stuff! We also play a game called would you rather (ex would you rather loose an arm or a leg), some would you rathers are heavier than others but it always gets people talking. We are all from different countries so there is always a Caipirinha night or Colombian Arepas night, or german tea time etc :D

  26. I was asked once at a family party, “What have you been doing lately for fun?” That question gave me pause, because I’d never been asked that before, and I had to really reflect. What HAVE I been doing for fun? It made me realize I need to do more fun things for me, and not sweat the small stuff as much. That question has stayed with me since.

    • Wow. I really love that question! Takes the conversation in a lighter direction than the typical “What have you been up to?” which always seems to veer in the direction of school, work, life drudgery. :)

    • Cait says...

      I hate that question… it seems to always get asked at a time when I am dead tired and the only thing I’ve been doing in my free time is collapsing on the couch and watching something embarrassing on Netflix.

  27. First of all, you don’t drink coffee? Say what? haha.

    I am not 100% convinced about this icebreaker, seems a little bit forced, although if it worked for this dinner I am sure it will work for others.
    I would rather have the host start conversations that are interesting and relevant for the table, but, at the same time… it is all good if you had a good time. I will try it.

  28. Shelby says...

    My friends and I always play Two Truths and a Lie. You tell the group three things about yourself, two of which are true, and one is a lie. The group then has to figure out which of the three is a lie. It’s fun with people you don’t know but also a lot of fun with people you know well because you’re forced to come up with really obscure things you have never told them before.

    Some people get really into it with the psychology (YOU LOOKED TO YOUR LEFT WHEN YOU SAID THAT, IT IS A LIE!!) and it is a really engaging icebreaker :)

    • Megan says...

      I love that game! I was introduced to it at a work function and it was a huge hit.

  29. Caley says...

    Usually I don’t love icebreakers either, but at a work event recently they had us all share something about our names. It was incredible hearing stories of names passed down from past generations, or that someone’s mom read the name in a trashy book but loved it anyway, or the way a person’s nickname had evolved over the years. Everyone seemed comfortable talking about that topic but the stories got really personal and I loved it! Filed that one away for future use.

    • Rachel says...

      Ooh, that is a good one. I may try it at my next party.

    • Cynthia says...

      I’ve done this too — it wasn’t planned, but at my husband’s birthday party, which brought together people from a few different social circles, we went around and told stories about where our names came from, how we felt about our names, if we were ever teased about them as kids, and so on. So many interesting, unexpected stories. It was such a great way for our guests to get to know each other, and we learned new things about even our oldest friends as well!

  30. I would MUCH prefer this to another dinner party tactic I’ve been subjected to – being assigned a seat between two people you’ve never met (and nowhere near your spouse!) Not so fun for an introvert.

  31. Lor says...

    I hate icebreakers. At work or at a party…especially at a party. I’m going to drink, eat and have fun. If someone were to bring that up at a dinner party I’d spend the whole time worrying about what I had to say instead of listening. Hopefully people keep that in mind at their next dinner party, there are some people who are not excited to talk about themselves.

    • Agree. There are always people that love to talk about themselves… let them do the talking. I like to listen better.

  32. Ha! I usually say “I have a twin sister” too. It makes up such a big part of our identity, right?

    I remember in college we had to say an adjective that started with the same letter our first name started. Mine is Olga. I could not think of anything but Objective and it sounded so boring and blah. But it was a great way to try to remember people’s names.

    • Cynthia says...

      I sometimes do this the first day of class so that I can remember all my student’s names- or at least their adjective!

  33. I am TOTALLY trying this at my next dinner party. I love icebreakers! You never know what crazy/awesome stories people have to share. Great way to get to know people and bond in a situation that isn’t always the most comfortable!
    xo,
    Anika Yael Natori, aka, “The Josie Girl”
    http://josiegirlblog.com/

  34. Callista says...

    At a girlfriend’s big anniversary bash, she had everyone write their first jobs on their nametags. It was so much fun! Everyone had really funny and interesting stories about their first jobs. I was really surprised by the diversity!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is really fun!

  35. Ramona says...

    At our last staff meeting, our Director had us each take some M&Ms from a small bowl that was sitting at the center of the table…but we couldn’t eat them! At the beginning of the meeting she said for each M&M we took we had to say something about ourselves. It was interesting…some people only took a few, while others took as many as 20!

  36. I remember whenever my parents had couples over, my dad would always ask them to tell the story of how they got together. It was always fun to listen to, and it set a great tone for the evening.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!!!! i LOVE asking people that. they also light up and it’s so so fun to hear.

    • I always ask people that because it’s so interesting. It always surprises me when kids don’t know how their parents met. Mine were set up on a blind date.

    • Yes, this is my favorite easy “adult” icebreaker!

    • Lauren says...

      I always ask people how they met their significant other, usually not too long after I’ve met them. I love hearing those stories, the little details they still recall from when they first met, their first impressions, all of it!

    • Heather says...

      Isn’t that funny? I always go into panic mode when people ask me how my husband and I met. We met online in the late 90’s, way before it was accepted and cool. My family had a grand cow and just knew I was inviting a serial killer into my life. To this day, it’s like this sacred family secret. I always just tell people we met in college. Technically true and way easier!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “a grand cow” = hahaha. love that expression.

  37. Ice breakers are so fun! I love playing “have you ever” and then making teams to do a scavenger hunt. I think I did that once in a college class and thought it could totally work for a dinner party.

  38. A favorite of mine: “What’s something you got in trouble for you when you were a little kid that’s funny now?” I once heard everything from someone doing their homework in yellow pencil so it wasn’t readable to mischief involving firecrackers. It’s so revelatory and fun!

    Also, inspired by the Around the Table podcast, I’ve started asking people what they are “reading, watching, listening, or following (on social media)” lately. Everyone — even the people who are reticent to come out of their shells – always has something to share. Not only have I gotten a ton of fantastic recommendations, I keep that question in my back pocket now when there’s a major lull in conversation. It’s the best!

    • Ah, I could see that having hilarious results! The first thing I thought of is how my husband ran naked down the street to his grandma’s house. He was 3 :)

  39. I was at a gathering recently where everyone shared a murder/crime story from their hometowns. It was so fun, and felt very campfire-y :). And surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly?) pretty much every single person had a tale to tell!

  40. Ah! I thought those 4 dreaded words were going to be ‘what do you do?’ which I despise. I love icebreakers! I think they’re a great way to get to know strangers who you’re spending the next few hours with!

    – Dara | http://www.peoniesandhoneybees.com

    • Dara! those are my dreaded words too! Its the most boring question even though I love what I do.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      same!!!

    • Lauren says...

      I’ve always hated the ‘what do you do?’ question, because it always made me feel as if it was defining people by their occupation/lack thereof. It’s great if people have careers or jobs they are passionate about and want to be identified with, but it can make others (like myself!) feel self conscious, particularly if we’re with people who have very different, or more celebrated occupations than we do. I’ve felt similarly with the ‘Where did you go to school?’ question (I work in higher education) – not everyone has attended college, so it can cause embarrassment, shame, etc. Not everyone is even interested in attending college! I always hope to get to know people by who they are as a whole person, and not focus too intently on one part of the package.

  41. Jeannie says...

    Ummm. Tom Cruise’s assistant? I’m sure she has some good stuff in her pocket for party stories!

  42. That was such a fun night! Just when you think you know someone… ha!

  43. Emily says...

    LOVE this! I do an ice breaker at the very beginning of every team meeting and we all end up learning a lot about each other and laughing a ton. Great way to lighten the mood before diving into business!

  44. beckxoxo says...

    The small talk question/ice breaker I always use is “So, what’s exciting you lately?” People get so carried away with their answer that all your work is done! Normally the other person won’t shut up. Ive had people tell me long stories about how exciting their new make up discovery is, a food they’ve tried, their upcoming holiday. All kinds of stuff. Everyone has SOMETHING! Even if its really boring and trivial it starts off a nice convo.

    • Lauren says...

      That’s a great question, and an upbeat, fun topic! Probably gives everyone else ideas of what they want to try, too!

  45. ne says...

    So curious about the lady with the endless memory! Did anyone ask her what was the first date she remembers? How does she remember days without words?

  46. sabrina says...

    I love to ask the question, Who would be your backyard band?
    As in, if you were having a party in your backyard with all your best friends, and you could have any band or singer play for you, who would it be? (Dead or Alive)

    I usually have to go with Michael Jackson. But I’ve also picked, Johnny Cash, Nirvana, Grateful Dead and Whitney Houston in the past.

  47. I never knew how much I loved icebreaker games until I started playing them with my kids at the dinner table. At the young ages of 4 and 5.5 it can be hard to encourage them to sit still-ish, share details about their days and eat healthy foods. By refocusing their energy to playing “two truths and a tale,” they sit still, tell me about their day without realizing they’re doing it, and they eat (!). Now we have a whole list we rotate through (including a hilarious kid version of “I never”). It’s fun and silly and we all learn a little something about each other every day.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what an adorable idea, kerry, i love that!

    • LC says...

      I work with kids, and one of their favorite ways to check in is “wow, pow, chow” (wow=the best thing that happened that day/week, pow=the worst thing that happened, and chow=the best thing they ate).

    • I love this idea! I think we need an entire separate post on how to maintain healthy conversations/relationships with our kids. Kerry, I would love to hear your list!

    • List please? I love this idea!

    • Fun! And I love “wow, pow, chow” hahaha…

  48. Sitting with strangers for dinner can be tough. My husband loves to ask, “What is the first concert you ever attended?” Everyone has an answer. So many of the concerts are incredibly vintage and cool. It is an instant conversation. What was your first concert? Mine….Cyndi Lauper!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      mine was paula abdul!

    • Jen says...

      Me too! And both my parents came too ;-)

    • Jen says...

      The me too was for Cyndi Lauper, just to clarify. ;-)

    • Alex says...

      mine too!!!! 1984!

    • Rick Springfield.

  49. How hilarious! I swear that gives me flashbacks to the early years in college! I would love to start hosting more dinner parties! I really love hosting, but it can be so hard to find a good group of friends (especially couple friends). My husband and I just got married (In Paris, and I just posted the photos on our blog today!!!) and as a couple with a significant age difference, I find it can be hard to find great couple friends. I would love a post on that!!

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

    • Michelle says...

      My husband and I are 19.5 years apart! :)

  50. Tess says...

    My mother attended an engagement party where guests were asked to bring a toast or speech in lieu of a gift. We have adopted the tradition, and it has made for some INCREDIBLE parties. As a gift, someone usually records the audio, and the person of honor can have that forever. Really amazing stuff!!

    • I am going to also adopt this tradition–love it!

    • Lauren says...

      That’s such a lovely idea! And not just for engagements, but for birthdays, or other special occasions – I am so glad that you shared this!

  51. Lauren says...

    kinda simple– but just asking someone “what did you do today?” keeps things going and is always interesting to see how different peoples days can be !

  52. Celeste says...

    Ha! Yes! I ask new people at work this all the time. People start out thinking it’s intimidating but they usually end up telling funny stories or things I otherwise wouldn’t have found out because these things never tend to come up. I usually wait for a moment when they’ve had time to figure out where the bathroom is, but while they’re still in their first week. I’ll say, “So, tell me.; What are three things I need to know about FIRST NAME LAST NAME?”

  53. Colleen says...

    I find just saying “What’s new with you?” pretty effective.

    • Laura says...

      I actually hate this question! I had two stillbirths in two years and the question “what’s new with you” filled me with such dread and anxiety. It felt as though nothing was new – I was just sad all of the time. Now I DO have things I *could* talk about, but in the moment that I’m asked, nothing seems very exciting. I guess it depends on if the person who is asking is someone who knows me well (in which case, I’ll likely have nothing new to tell) or someone who I haven’t seen or talked to in ages.

  54. gayle says...

    I recently attended a family reunion where there were cousins I had not seen in 40 years! We played this game sort of in reverse. Our hostess prepared trivia questions about all the family members and (we had sent her facts we thought no one else knew), we had to guess who it was. It was the best part of the reunion! One cousin gave himself a hemroidectomy! No lie!

    • Cynthia says...

      I can’t believe your cousin admitted that. My husband removed a giant mole off of his face by himself, much to my displeasure. I was sure it was going to be a mess.

  55. A colleague recently told me that she’s never tried coffee. Not even a taste! And she is close to 40 years of age. I was really amazed, I don’t think I know any other adult who hasn’t tasted coffee.

  56. Briana says...

    In the vein of interesting conversations at dinner parties, did you see the Wired piece about the dinner party where they banned small talk? It sounded fascinating/scary! I really want to try it!
    http://www.wired.co.uk/article/banning-small-talk

  57. I recently went to a dinner party where the hosts were the only people who knew everyone at the party. The host said “oh! i never do this but it sounds fun to go around and everyone share something with everyone that no one at this table besides their spouse knows about them.” it was so fun and the same thing happened…epic, funny, tragic, and crazy stories ended up being told even though some people (including me) at first felt like they didn’t have any interesting facts about themselves. it almost became a challenge to turn an otherwise boring fact about yourself into an interesting story. definitely doing it at the next dinner party i host!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s such a great question!

  58. Anne says...

    I love ice breakers, but this one is way too open-ended, it’s so much pressure! My favorite is, “What’s the story behind your name?” People end up having such interesting stories about the family member they were named for, or their parents’ time in a hippie commune, or whatever. And as a bonus, it helps learn everyone’s names :)

    • Aly says...

      Love this!

  59. Sarah says...

    We did something similar out to dinner with a visiting faculty member. Whoever suggested it called it High, Low, and Awkward. We all went around the table talking about a good thing, bad thing, and awkward thing that happened to us that day.

  60. The main times I’ve done this it’s been at an event, so there hasn’t really been time for the lovely back-and-forth surrounding it. I love it, but at the same time never feel like I’ve thought of anything good and can feel awkward! At the start of my moms’ group this year, we went around and introduced ourselves and shared the most random thing in our purse at the moment. That was pretty hysterical as moms!

  61. Chelsea says...

    Love it! I love a good icebreaker. I especially love more pointed questions to help out the ones who get nervous by vague openers- like “when you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?” or “what are a few things you’re LOVING right now (light, silly, or deep)?” or “what helps you recharge?” (that last one is especially good for a group of women). It’s always so fun!

  62. Jessica says...

    FYI – the link you put for the 60 minutes endless memory doesn’t work because you have to be a subscriber. But I found it on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHeEQ85m79I

    It is so interesting! I watched the whole episode right now! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!!!

  63. Ashley says...

    My friend’s new boyfriend was hanging out with our crew for the first time and completely WON THE NIGHT by asking everyone to share their ideal last meal – with a twist. The dishes could be from anywhere, and the game included two appetizers, a salad, one main, a dessert, and a drink. We spent hours going around the circle, each sharing first one appetizer, then the next… it was hilarious and the stories that resulted were amazing. People got SO ANIMATED describing their chosen dishes, with much teasing and sentimentality (the crab rangoon from Tac Quick in Chicago! burrata in Rome!). We even added extra rounds to keep the game going.

    • Meghan1207 says...

      That crab rangoon is very delicious! haha.

  64. Telling fun facts is an amazing icebreaker!! It was hilarious because the girl who taught me this had two brilliant, but also terrifying fun facts herself- 1.) that she ate her twin in the womb (I still don’t know whether this is scientifically possible… maybe it’s more like absorbed) and 2.) was born with 2 sets of teeth! Been using it ever since when I meet a new person :)

    • Anne says...

      Her twin’s teeth?!?

    • I have an extra set of baby teeth on my top row of teeth!! Maybe I had a twin too?!!!

  65. Well now you need a site rebrand!

    • Laura says...

      it took me a few seconds to get this but LOL – good one!

  66. I love this one: you say three things about yourself – two true and one false – and the group has to guess which one is a lie! It’s always hysterical.

    • i love this one too! so fun for getting to know strangers.

  67. Kathryn says...

    One thing my husband likes to do is ask one of our dinner guests to bless the food before we eat. The catch is that he asks them to do it in any language besides English. We’ve yet to have someone turn him down, whether it’s broken Spanish that they picked up in high school or fluent Mandarin from serving abroad. We’ve had so many prayers in different languages bless our home and food and it immediately starts a conversation with other guests after the prayer to learn about how they learned their second language.

    • Colleen says...

      Love that!

    • Cynthia says...

      Cool idea.

    • This is so sweet. I would probably have to give a blessing in pig latin hahaha… but it would be funny nonetheless. ;)

  68. back up… you don’t drink coffee??
    not even a latte?

    • Amy says...

      Ha, I had the same response. No coffee? Ever?

    • Rachel says...

      …”And your blog is called ‘cup of jo,?” Haha! That was my response too! :)

      P.s I’m not a big coffee drinker either, but I do love an occasional mocha!

    • Haha! That was also my first reaction! What the wha??? Blasphemous! :)

    • Penny says...

      Stuck at no coffee too

    • I don’t drink any coffee either, Joanna. Decaffeinated peeps unite! ;)

  69. I love that this worked out well for you, but I think it can feel quite forced and I always end up feeling put on the spot with the pressure to find anything funny or interesting about myself. But it is a cool way to get to learn about new people without the awkward ten minutes discussing weather and work xxx

    ALittleKiran | Bloglovin

  70. this used to give me so much anxiety on the first day of class when the professor would have us go around and say something about ourselves. so i actually kept a list of “interesting facts about myself” on my phone – so i wouldn’t freeze up and forget in the moment, but also so i didn’t have to tell the same one over and over again :)

    • rachel says...

      Totally did the same thing!!!! I had to play this game so many times back in high school and college and internships that I just made a go-to list for “interesting things” and “two truths and a lie”. I’d much rather be asked really specific questions that don’t require me to be creative and impressive on the spot, and then let the convo grow from that, you know? Or else “would you rather” questions — I feel like those are pretty good icebreakers, and give people with social anxiety limited things to choose from ha!

    • Laura says...

      I LOVE this idea!! I do something similar, but for calls to family members/friends I haven’t spoken to in a while that’s “Interesting things I’m up to these days” ;) Hahaha!

    • Amy P says...

      Hahaha! I love that you do this….partly because it’s totally something I would do!

    • Tracey says...

      similar to Rachel above my favourite is “either/or”. The most contentious topics usually revolve around my all time biggest obsession – food! Here they are if anyone is interested;

      1. You have to give up one forever and ever right now, which is it … potatoes or cheese? OH to live without fries, but cheese… but mashed potato with gravy… You will find all sorts of people bargaining and debating and then people start arguing the merits of each choice. It is hilarious to watch strangers make allies and (friendly) enemies so quickly.

      In a similar vein is “crunchy or creamy”. I guess it is just asking a preference but the idea of giving one up completely makes everyone take it so seriously.

      Yesterday I came up with another that I plan to float today at dinner… Would you rather win 2 million dollars anonymously or 40 million dollars and it be public knowledge?

  71. AG says...

    This icebreaker assumes that everyone enjoys talking in front of a larger group. As an introvert, hearing “let’s go around the circle and tell everyone…” makes my stomach sink and my heart race. I’d much rather contribute on my own when I feel like adding to the conversation or get to know the people sitting next to me one-on-one.

    • Dinh says...

      Totally agree! I’ve hated this since elementary school!

    • B says...

      So glad it’s not just me that feels like this! My heart is racing just READING about ice breakers! Haha, hate them!!

    • Colleen S. says...

      I was thinking about this too. I had to do this in high school, at a new school. I had become the center of attention because I was from California, and most of the people there had either never left New England or never been anyplace warm except for Florida. It made me very self-conscious.

    • Well, that may be YOU as an introvert but that’s not ME as an introvert. I don’t like being surprised into socializing but if i’m going, I’m going all in and will glady participate in any activity. I have many MANY people surprised I am an introvert because I am the life of the party I know about and chose to be at. I just then need refreshing time after. I would say that’s more social anxiety than introversion from the symptoms you describe.

  72. Rosie says...

    We do this as icebreaker for training stuff at work sometimes… only with a twist: the three fun facts are two truths and a lie – everyone else has to guess which is the lie. You learn so much about people – including who’s a good liar!

  73. Nicky says...

    Ice breakers are so fun but I’m sweating just thinking of the anxiety I’d feel by fishing out something interesting about myself. Similar to the way when I see a new “Humans of New York” post and think to myself how are all these people all so eloquent/deep/interesting?!

  74. Leanne says...

    So we recently celebrated a good great friend’s 40th birthday – just a group of 8 close friends sitting around a table with beers and the mission to collectively name 40 things we love about our guest of honor. We took turns around the table and each person’s “thing” evolved into a story, a history, laughter, and sometimes tears. We all learned things we never knew about our dear friend and about each other. It was phenomenal and I get a little teary eyed thinking about it!

    • Hillary says...

      I love this because it is not about you, but the guest of honor.

    • My husband did this for me in advance of my 40th and printed them out for all to see. Some were very obvious and well known things, but there were lots of tiny, but sweet details that he’s noted about me over the years. It made me feel very understood … and very loved!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so, so sweet!

    • Cynthia says...

      wonderful idea.

    • Lovely. I want to do this for allllll of the birthdays now. People deserve to hear how and why they are loved on their day. xo

  75. Abby says...

    As an introvert who’s terrible at starting small talk, I always appreciate a good ice-breaker! Having a prompt makes it so much easier to strike up conversation with new people. Years ago, I was at a party with a lot of people who didn’t know each other. During a quiet moment, one guy (meaning it as a joke) said, “Okay, everyone go around the table and say your name, your college major, and your GREATEST FEAR.” To his surprise, everyone started doing it! It was so fun – some people said something silly, and others shared something really deep. I’ve used this ice-breaker so many times since then!

  76. Jean says...

    I like this in theory, but I’ve been present when this question was asked and I really hate it, haha. I just hate being put on the spot, my heart races and social anxiety kicks in – I think because it’s like making an impromptu speech to make yourself sound interesting. It seems I’m in the minority, though!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      the good thing about this particular game is that people jump in with questions or funny side notes while you’re talking (in a good way) so it never feels like you’re up on stage or anything. but i hear you about not wanting to be in the spotlight!

    • I totally agree, in theory it sounds nice but this type of thing has always made my heart race and I hate it.

    • Lauren E. says...

      Yup, me too. And if I’m at the end of the circle I spend the entire time others are talking trying to come up with what to say about myself! Social anxiety is not fun,

  77. SKB says...

    I agree with Adriana’s comment! Just reading your two things made me want you to elaborate more- so I can see how this is fabulous for dinner parties!

  78. Trish O says...

    I know they are dreaded, but I think they end up being fun. Especially if you are trying to combine different groups of friends. I was attending a dinner party recently where this was done. The question was where would you travel back in time. The answers were so interesting and all so different. They can be fun.

  79. Emily R says...

    This sounds like so much fun! More so because I’m dying to go to a dinner party where I meet new people. I know pretty much everyone’s life story at the dinner parties I attend.

  80. Adriana says...

    Can you talk more about having a twin? Do you have the psychic connections? What was it like growing up – when did you first separate – what is it like now as adults (long distance besties)? (Also you don’t drink coffee??)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      You are so sweet! Haha we don’t have psychic connections, but we are really close. It was fun growing up with a twin, especially on family vacations (it felt like you always got to bring a friend along), and since we naturally gravitated toward different activities (me = ballet, her = swimming and track), we weren’t too competitive in that way.

      And no coffee for me! It makes me really jittery. Funny because my site is called Cup of Jo! :)