5 games to play for building deeper relationships

Relationships deepen with time and shared experiences, but we can also help them along in more intentional ways!

Games are one of the best ways to do that. Whether they put a playful spin on deeper conversations or facilitate ways to work together and compete, they can help take our relationships to the next level.

Here are 5 games you can play with new friends, old friends, or anyone you want to see a different side of.

1. We’re Not Really Strangers

There are so many things we want to know about each other that often take years of being friends to surface. What if we could explore them earlier in the relationship, in a guided, safe way that feels more like an intimate game than an interview?

We’re Not Really Strangers is a card game that does just that. It leads you through three levels of questions, with each level growing more intimate. It can bring strangers together in the space of an hour, and can deepen decades-long friendships in similar ways. Caution: these questions might make you fall in love with the people you’re playing with.

Can be played virtually? YES.
# of players: Best with 2, but possible with more

What do deeper relationships look like? Find out as 11 people explain what true friendship means to them!

2. Jackbox Games

Sometimes, building closer relationships means getting to know each other on a deeper emotional level. And sometimes it means teasing, cheating, lying, and outsmarting each other til one of you rage quits. Bonding can mean being comfortable enough with each other to just want to have fun together without any greater goal than enjoying each others’ company.

Jackbox is the ultimate party game and provides all of the above. Whether you like drawing, wordplay, trivia, or just competing in general — you’ll find something fun here with dozens of different mini-games. Some require teams and some are free-for-alls, so you can pick what works best for your group.

Can be played virtually? YES.
# of players: Varies, but generally 2–8

3. Codenames

Collaborating and making decisions in teams can be both fun and challenging. It’s made even harder when you have to keep in mind how the spymaster of the group thinks so that you don’t make a game-ending mistake! Learning when to trust your teammates’ logic and when to push for your own guesses is a big part of playing well, and helps strengthen your relationship with everyone your team.

Codenames is a game of give and take and negotiation within your team to guess the right words before the opposing team does. The spymaster guides their team with 1-word clues to find the 8 words that will make your team win. Super simple to learn and turns people from strangers to friends to enemies in the shortest amount of time.

Can be played virtually? YES.
# of players: 6+

4. Signal / Kemps

Learning how to pay attention to each other in subtle ways is an art form, especially under the heat of pressure and competition. When both sending a signal and picking up that signal are crucial for success, you learn how to tune into each other very quickly.

Signal (also known as Kemps and under dozens of other names) is a fun and simple card game played with 4 players. There are two teams of two people, with each team creating a secret signal that they use when they think they’ve won the game. You can switch teams after each round or keep playing with the same person to strengthen your bond.

Can be played virtually? NO.
# of players: 4

5. Actually Curious

Talking about some of the things that are most personal to us is one of the surest ways to build deeper relationships. It can be scary to be so vulnerable, but it’s also what creates trust and a common understanding of how we each see the world.

Actually Curious is another question-based card game, but it focuses more on exploring people’s backgrounds, values, and views on important issues. The goal is to spread empathy for others, and it comes in three editions to help do so.

Can be played virtually? YES.
# of players: 2+

Looking to make new friends as well? Check out these 5 places to make new friends online!

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