Vlad's Roam Garden

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intentional friend making

This is an activity focused on deliberately creating an interpersonal connection between people.

Preparation

Matching people

Assign numbers to people on arrival

Count people out loud asking them to remember their number

Alternative mechanisms

Ask people to drop the names on a piece of paper into a bag and then pull out the pairs

Do an electronic matching if I have a list of participants

Pre-matching

If you are already friends with the person you matched with - feel free to ask for a rematch, though this may still be an interesting activity to do regardless to deepen your connection

You can also explicitly join as a pair and do the activity together

Run a round of speed friending before the main activity and allocate pairs based on the results of that.

Schedule

Match people and explain the structure - 5 min

Break up into pairs, read the instructions and engage into activity

When indicated switch the set of questions/tasks you're going through to a next set

Questions

Do we do just one pairing or do we rotate people?

One pairing, though it should be possible to run multiple iterations of the session if people will find it valuable

What is the duration of the activity?

1h

Group instructions

INSTRUCTIONS (Please both read carefully before continuing)

You got three sets of questions.

When you finish reading these instructions - start going through the first set of questions in order (please do not skip the questions).

One of you should read aloud the question and then BOTH do what it asks, starting with the person who read the question aloud.

When you're both done - go on to the second question - one of you reading it aloud and both doing what it asks. And so forth.

Alternate who reads aloud (and thus goes first) with each new question.

When indicated - go onto the next set of questions. It's not important to finish all the questions in each set within the time allotted. Take plenty of time with each question, doing what it asks thoroughly and thoughtfully.

Go!

Set 1

If you could invite anyone in the world to dinner, who would it be?

Would you like to be famous? In what way?

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30 year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set 2

If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

What do you value most in a friendship?

What is your most treasured memory?

What is your most terrible memory?

If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

What does friendship mean to you?

What roles do love and affection play in your life?

Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Set 3

Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... ”

Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... ”

If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.