How Icebreaker Games Can Create Authentic Connections

And Why Nothing's Better Than Genuinely Interesting Conversations

How Icebreaker Games Can Create Authentic Connections

Remember your college freshman orientation? When they made everyone play icebreaker games to, you know, break the ice with each other? To learn something - anything - about one another? Me too. Well, it turns out… they really work! I learned things, like, 1) my roommate is a Gemini, and 2) that almost every other boy on campus is somehow a Biology major (among other things) even though I go to a small, liberal arts college. But, what I really learned is that icebreaker games work because they’re filled with real answers and played by real people. They’re thoughtful, creative, and engaging on both ends of the conversation, bringing people closer together.

What is an icebreaker game?

Well, it’s not a pickup line. According to Merriam-Webster, an icebreaker is “something that is done or said to get through the first difficulties in starting a conversation or discussion.” Icebreakers can take many forms. They can be games, questions, a topic or prompt. It can all start with a quick question, like “When was the last time you ate ice cream? And what flavor was it?”, or playing a quick game of 'Kiss, Mary, Fight' using Ariana Grande, Matthew McConaughey, and Will Smith as the three options. If the questions or games sound stupid or silly to you -- that’s the point! Icebreakers are conversation starters, created to draw out real answers from real people. If you don't like where the conversation is going, change the topic.

Dating apps have taken over the world

The dating landscape has changed tremendously throughout the years. Nowadays, most modern romances begin virtually and dating apps are the go-to medium. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic keeping mask mandates and social distancing guidelines in place, there’s less bumping into somebody cute while in line for coffee or flirting in the produce section. Instead, we connect with nearby singles by swiping right on dating apps. In other words, dating apps have taken over the dating world. Gone are the days where you can literally walk up to someone and start authentic conversations. Do we even know how to have conversations anymore? It’s almost like we forgot how to even hold those conversations with strangers nowadays beyond simple small talk.

“People forget [that] it was always hard to meet someone… People are still looking for the same things… The milestones are the same, the big questions are the same. [But] how people find each other is the thing that has changed.”

-- Ashley Fetters, The Atlantic

Humans have been loving and dating each other forever. We are social creatures that crave attention and affection from others not only because it’s natural, but because love feels good and healthy. We search for others to create deep and authentic connections with and enjoy being around people who can make us feel secure, seen, and heard. But how can one even meet new people in the midst of a pandemic? The answer is in dating apps. Whether you’re looking for a quick hookup, casual fling, or long-term relationship, there is a dating app for that.

Bringing Conversation Back

The first message sent to a new match on dating apps serves as your first impression. We believe that icebreaker games can help relieve the pressure and anxiety of sending the first message. You get to be your true self, and focus on the conversation instead of the boring, awkward, or annoying small talk. Of course, there’s always your profile photo(s) or bio to give those first impressions too. However, nothing’s better than sparking those genuinely interesting conversations right off the bat.

“Just because you can’t touch somebody, doesn’t mean you can’t fall in love with them,” according to biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, because “romantic love, even in a virtual setting, can trigger the dopamine system” (CNBC).

So what should one say first to start those better conversations? How about with an icebreaker game? Here is an example of how icebreaker games work in our app to create those more fun and authentic conversations between users.

Two Truths And A Lie, Roleplay a fun scenario, Choose a question from our icebreaker library, and more!
Two Truths And A Lie, Roleplay a fun scenario, Choose a question from our icebreaker library, and more!

Icebreaker games won’t solve all the issues when it comes to online dating - like ghosting, catfishes, or awkward small talk. Creating strong connections with someone isn’t easy, let alone meeting that someone in-person... face-to-face. But, with the CDC declaring that fully vaccinated people “can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic,” people are starting to come back out. While we’re still talking and dating online, offline activities (e.g., the movies, mini golfing, etc.) are on their way back. Dating apps like XO are just one of the many platforms designed to build community and bring people together, but this time, with icebreaker games.