Download a set of ‘Are You More Like…’ questions (see Resources tab.)
Organise the cards so that you have one set of paired statements (a match) for every two people.
Randomly distribute one card to each person.
When ready, instruct each person to mingle with others until they find the person holding a card with their match, eg UP is matched with DOWN.
Once matched, invite partners to share their response to the question posed by the conjunction of their two cards, eg Are You More Like… a CAT or a DOG?
Encourage people to share as much as they feel comfortable.
When ready, randomly re-distribute the cards, and start again.
Continue this matching, sharing and re-distributing process for 10 to 15 minutes.
How To Play Narrative
To get started, you’ll want to download a set of ‘Are You More Like…’ questions from the Resources tab. Or, in addition to, you can of course create your own, peculiar to your group and its characteristics and write these on a set of index cards.
Also, be sure that you have select and organise the cards to start with a complete set of paired statements, ie each person in your group must be able to find a ‘match.’ For example, if you have 40 people, you’ll need 20 sets of matched statements. Get it?
When ready, randomly distribute one card to each person. As an individual receives their card, they are entitled to look at it, but should not show it to anyone else, not yet.
Explain that each person will soon mix and mingle with others in the group in an effort to find their match.
That is, each person is tasked to find the word or statement on another card that is the best fit as matching the polar opposite or antithesis of their own card. For example, the match for CAT is DOG. The match for BOTTOM is TOP. The match for DOOR is WINDOW, etc.
Here is a very short list of ‘Are You More Like…’ questions to help you understand what a matched-pair looks like:
SLIDE – SWING
LADDER – TREE
EXPLORER – SETTLER
LANDING – TAKE-OFF
MOVIE – TELEVISION
GIVER – RECEIVER
ANYTHING – SOMETHING
DEFENSE – OFFENSE
Alert your group to the fact that it may take some time viewing most, if not all, of the cards to identify the best match for one’s card.
Once everyone is matched, invite each pair to share their response to the question posed by the conjunction of their two cards – Are You More Like… a CAT or a DOG?, for example.
Encourage people to dive as deep in their sharing as they feel comfortable. Younger people will often choose the characteristic they ‘like’ the best, whereas older people tend to enjoy exploring the more metaphorical connections. No matter – that people are sharing is all that matters.
Allow each partnership 1-2 minutes to share, and then prepare to re-distribute the cards.
The quickest and easiest way I know to achieve a decent, random re-distribution is to instruct each person to hold their card face-down, and mingle with others in the group, swapping cards one-for-one as they pass. Continue for 10-20 seconds until all of the cards have been thoroughly, and randomly re-distributed. Then stop (ensuring each person is still holding just one card,) and start over.
Repeat this matching, sharing and re-distributing process for as long as there is energy and enthusiasm in your group to share.
Practical Leadership Tips
The first instalment of ‘Are You More Like…?’ questions appeared in the book Games For Teachers by Chris Cavert and Laurie Frank. Chris tells me that there was such a great response to this first set of ‘colourful quandaries’ his colleague Susana and he decided to keep going, and didn’t stop until they hit 1,001 questions to consider. Click here to access 981 more question-pairs from Chris’s blog at FUNdoing.
This exercise works best in pairs, but you can also pose this series of questions to small groups. Just don’t make them too big, lest you shut down some people’s propensity to share.
When possible, depending on the abilities of your group, encourage people to think more about the deeper meaning of the characteristics in each question, and how these may or may not relate to them.
If sharing in a group context, always start with simple questions, and then gradually build to more challenging topics, eg HOT TUB – SAUNA versus DICTIONARY – THESAURUS.
You could integrate Are You more Like into a well-designed SEL program to help your group identify and understand their emotions, thoughts and values and how these influence behaviours in different situations.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Linking Feelings, Values & Thoughts
Identifying Personal, Cultural & Linguistic Assets
Recognising Strengths, Prejudices & Biases
Taking Other’s Perspectives
Recognising Strengths In Others
Build Positive Relationships
Demonstrating Curiosity & Open-Mindedness
Making Reasoned Judgements
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
The reflective process promoted in this exercise, not to mention the invitation to explore one’s awareness of others, makes it ideal for any program wanting to explore emotional literacy. As each round progresses, help your group to observe the diversity of experiences, preferences, and beliefs of others.
For example, simple questions such as Are You More Like a LADDER or a TREE will reveal subtleties in the character of many people to the extent it will reveal a diversity of emotions as much as those we have in common with others. Help your group to describe and name these feelings and emotions as you explore them, perhaps using a tool such as EMOJI Cards to assist in this process.
One or the Other: Form a large circle, facing into the centre. Pose a Are You More Like… question, and invite those who identify with the first object to take one step into the circle, or if they identify with the second object, to step out of the circle. Allow ample time between each question for thinking time, as well as time for people to observe who else made a similar choice.
Mix & Mingle: Create a set of Are You More Like… questions (both parts) onto index cards for each person in your group. Similar to Ice-Breaker Question Exchange, form into random pairs and invite each partner to ask the other the question on their card, and vice versa. The key is that each person may answer the question anyway they choose. At the end of this exchange, partners swap cards and then seek out a new partner to start over. Continue for 10+ minutes.
Guess Who? Distribute a sheet of paper and pen to each person in your group. Choose and announce one interesting or intriguing Are You More Like… question, eg OCEAN – MOUNTAINS. Instruct each person to write the statement or characteristic they like at the top of their paper, and then write three reasons why they are like this characteristic. Then, halfway down the paper, each person writes the statement they do not like and writes three reasons why they are not like this characteristic. Collect all of the papers, and shuffle. One by one, read the statements on each sheet of paper, and challenge your group to identify who the person is. If several people are potential candidates, perform a quick vote, before asking the person who actually wrote the statements to reveal themselves.
Can’t Sit On The Fence: Take a look at Must Choose and This or That to explore two more powerful exercises that explore personal choices and sometimes difficult propositions.
Open the Virtual Adaptation tab to learn how to present this activity online.
Pose your scenario and ask people to consider their preference. Then, ask them to consider what they predict the group preference (or majority) will be. Tip: ask people to write this down. Then, ask all those with option A to put hands on head and all those with option B to cross their arms on their chest. It will quickly become obvious which preference is the majority. Award one point for everyone who predicted that result.
As above, but ask people to stand up or sit down to indicate their preferences.
If possible, allocate two people to a breakout room to discuss their preference for one or the other. Then, randomly re-distribute these participants into a new breakout room to consider a new scenario.
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Useful Framing Ideas
Humans spend a lot of time looking for difference. It’s the way our brains are wired, to be attracted to things that are different, yet in real life, we tend to find comfort with the things that we are like or are like. In this next exercise, we’re going to explore a series of differences that we have with others, and similarities….
You will have heard that most people fall into one of two categories. The interesting thing is that there are squillions are categories. Here are just a few to choose from…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this fabulous get-to-know-you game:
What surprised you during the exercise?
Was it more difficult to consider what you had in common, or not in common with each statement? Why?
Did you learn something about another person? What specifically?
What might this exercise teach us about diversity?
How might this exercise help us to build relationships with others?
The inspiration for Are You More Like…?, and many more fun ice-breaker activities, was sourced from Chris Cavert and his partner Susana Acosta (with thanks.) Check out Chris’s FUNdoing blog for more information.