What are some good games to play on a date? It’s been recommended to me to bring along a game in order to enhance conversation on dates. What do you suggest based on experience?
Admittedly, I am not particularly well-versed in the dating games du jour. Nevertheless, as a general rule, I would personally recommend games that engender conversation, comfort, or conviviality, rather than those which produce self-containment, uneasy talking points, or intense competition.
That being said – and as apprehensive as I feel about pontificating on the topic of board games and the like – as is so often the case, which specific games would be best for a date very much depends on the personalities of the daters and the goal of playing the game. In the same way that different people enjoy different foods, music, and reading materials, different people also enjoy playing different games.
To provide a few examples, games such as Boggle and Bananagrams are light, tend to have shorter rounds, and require a significant degree of lighthearted interaction.
For those of a more jovial disposition, and who are endeavoring to better present that aspect of themselves on a date, games such as these often bring out just the jocundity being sought. However, those who are not of a particularly gregarious temperament might find partaking in such games to be puerile and inane. If one is not envisioning much in the way of breezy conversation in their future marriage, there is no reason to force it to happen during dating.
On the other hand, games such chess or Risk are contemplative, slow-paced, and yet provide an opportunity to interact without much conversation.
For the merry dater above, that may be unnatural and lead to an excruciatingly disquieting and painfully boring date. Conversely, for daters who are quite comfortable with silence, and are simply endeavoring to fill some empty spaces that had been making previous dates awkward, it might be exactly what is needed.
And finally, there are dating games which fall under the category of “icebreakers”. Such games are intended to help individuals feel more comfortable with one another, introduce a little more fun and amusement into the date, and provide daters who may be reticent to divulge personal information through the course of plain conversation with an opportunity to share more about themselves through the vehicle of a game.
For daters struggling to accomplish any of those objectives, such games can indeed enhance a date in a very substantial fashion, and are highly recommended. However, such games are generally unnecessary for daters who are already comfortable with one another and are having no difficulty in sharing material about themselves – although they certainly may still provide an enjoyable dating activity that is both cost efficient and does not require much in the way of finding an exciting and interesting new place to go.
And again, for those who are uninterested in an amusing game, and are fine with what they have learned about one another, but are looking for some sort of quiet activity for a date, such games may be more unsettling than pleasant, or even agreeable.
In short, one of the purposes of employing a game is in an attempt to make the date more comfortable and natural, and to bring out those proper reflections of one’s characteristics that may not be revealing themselves on the dates. Accordingly, what is comfortable and natural to one, and what may lead to the unearthing of their true personality, might be just the opposite for another.
The goal is not to reach for the most popular game and hope for the best, nor is it a matter of ascertaining what is universally considered to be the best dating game out there. Rather, the goal is to understand what is lacking on the date, why it is lacking, and what type of game may perhaps remedy the issue.
Consequently, one must be honest with themselves about their intrinsic nature and what recreations they personally find to be entertaining, along with identifying which aspects of who they are seem to be absent from their dates. Once provided with authentic and genuine answers to these questions, one should be able to determine which games on the shelf they should be reaching for.
May the Borei Sasson V’simcha provide all those in shidduchim with the insights and intuitions needed to construct productive and pleasing dating experiences.