wellness

'We stayed up all night’: 5 conversation cards for the best chats possible.

What if we asked each other more questions?

So many social situations these days are filled with small talk, be it discussing mutual friends, the weather or upcoming weekend plans. 

Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place where small talk is okay — even necessary. We can’t be chatting about the big stuff all the time. I’d even argue that we need small talk to get to the big stuff.

But ever since I stopped drinking one-and-a-half years ago, I realised that we weren’t talking about the big stuff… at all.

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A lot of the parties I went to required alcohol to power conversations, so when I took that out of the equation, I found it hard to socialise meaningfully. 

I now think that true sociability doesn’t come with exchanging banter with people at parties, but by having frank and honest conversations with those closest to you. 

That’s where Conversation Cards come in. They are the bridge between what we want to ask and the people we want to ask things to. The social lubricant, if you will, for the conversations we want to be having.

So what are conversation cards? 

Well, I’ll start by saying what they’re not.

They’re not awkward icebreaker games you play in university or on corporate team-building days. 

Listen to this Lady Startup Stories episode with Flex Mami about how she developed her conversation card game. Post continues below.

Conversation cards typically require critical thinking and self-evaluation and will help you form better connections with people.

Because when you leave yourself open to judgment through expressing your opinions or feelings, the uncensored conversation that flows is exceptional. Trust me, I whip these bad boys out at any opportunity I can.

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Here are my five favourites:

1. Rosewell Cards

Image: Instagram/byrosewell Let’s start by stating the obvious, these cards are SO aesthetically pleasing. These luxe sets are such a chic addition to your coffee table, you’ll want to have them on display at all times. 

Founded by three lady startups, Rosewell cards are designed to create intimacy within relationships, be it platonic or romantic.

The ‘Dinner Parties’ set is the ideal accoutrement to a night out with the girls if you’re looking to have better, free-flowing chats all night long. The questions range from topical issues to analysing your childhood (some light dinner time convo!) 

To play, you pick a card, answer it yourself and then throw the question out to your company to answer.

My answer to this question, in a nutshell, was 'creativity'. I recently bought this set along to a girls' dinner and pulled them out between courses. We took turns going around the table and sharing our answers but were also open to respectfully conversing with each other on the topics too.

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One question — 'How much do you rely on social media for connection?' — saw us all the way through to dessert. It was so interesting to hear my friends, who I’ve known for years, express that they wished we caught up more like this, rather than just DM’ing each other on Instagram. 

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Roswell’s other set, ‘Love Deeply’ also fostered that sense of deeper understanding with my boyfriend. We took it away on a recent trip to the Blue Mountains and although we already have a great connection, I definitely came away from that weekend feeling more warm and content than ever.

The set is designed for new and long-term couples, so no matter what stage you’re at with your lover, these cards will be thought-provoking. I’m definitely going to be bringing them to future date night rendezvous! 

2. We Are Not Really Strangers

Image: We Are Not Really Strangers

If you don’t know where to start with conversation cards, I highly recommend this one. 

This jumbo deck, from We Are Not Really Strangers comprises three different levels that will help you get gradually deeper with the other player. I suggest playing this deck one-on-one, rather than in a group.

Level one, 'Perception', explores how others see you. Level two, 'Connection', goes a little further into your relationships. Level three, 'Reflection', prompts you to think about what you’ve learnt about yourself and each other.

Left: Relationship Expansion Pack
Middle: Original Deck
Right: Honest Dating Expansion Pack
 
There are also some wildcards like ‘Dig Deeper’ that you can play if you feel your partner isn’t opening up as much as you’d like. Also, there's a Final Card that asks you to do something that will get you right in the feels. I shan’t reveal what that is (~ooo, mysterious~)

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The first time I went over to my boyfriend’s house, he had these on his coffee table (huge green flag!) and the game kept us up all night. It is provocative and addictive and helped me see his emotional intelligence really early on. 

I really take 'collect the whole set' literally. Later down the track, I bought the Expansion Packs; ‘Honest Dating’ and ‘Relationship’. 

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Warning: Serious feelings may deepen. 

3. ReFlex Cards

Image: Instagram/flexfactory.store No dignified Conversation Card round-up would be complete without Flex Mami’s, Flex Factory Reflex Card Game.

This definitely does not shy away from the hard-hitting questions as it covers everything from love, life, death, politics, religion, purpose and career.

It'll not only make you question what you think, but really make you unpack why you think it. 

This one question really sums that up: 'Think about a perspective you believe in strongly. Do you believe this view is yours or do you think it was inherited from society?'. 

Ooft. Ok. Ouch. Wow. 

I feel attacked.

But in a constructive way?!

Charcuterie with a side of conversation. This deck is great for social gatherings, especially if you have friends from different groups who don’t all know each other. It’s great for sitting in a circle and bringing people together. Wholesome AF.

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For a less wholesome time, I recommend some other Flex Factory sets like: ‘Questions About Sex’ and ‘Never Have I Ever: Explicit’ and, for some tough ethical dilemmas, ‘Would You Rather’.

4. The Therapy Game

Image: The School Of Life Talking to a friend can sometimes feel like chatting to a good therapist. Well, this game by The School Of Life, formalises that feeling and turns it into an enlightening and riveting card game.

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During this game, you take turns switching roles. Sometimes you’re the ‘listener’ and sometimes you’re the ‘answerer’. If you’re the listener, you’re encouraged to give the answerer the space they need to talk. 

There’s even a timer to give the answerer an indication of how long they should speak for. 

The listener must be completely silent until the timer is up, which is when they are encouraged to ask follow-up questions such as ‘How did that make you feel?’ or ‘Why do you think that might be?’

For the answerer, some questions might be a source of anxiety or uncertainty. But the game is not an interview or an exam, and it's important to remember that you’re not being judged. Only answer questions that feel fun and important to you.

Image: The School Of Life

The cards cover five categories. Work, sex, relationships, anxiety and self. 

I recently brought this on my trip to Tasmania, which involved lots of long road trips in between towns.

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I felt so much relief after playing as it gave me the opportunity to speak at length about things I hadn’t previously spoken about.

It also helped me train my ‘active listening skills’, which (according to everyone I know and love) are poor.  

5. Got You Girl

Image: Got You Girl This game has women front of mind. It starts conversations around different topics that can be hard to talk about such as; mental health, sex, body image, careers, periods, nutrition, LGBTIQA+, weddings and more. 

Founded by a young, Australian lady startup, Got You Girl really helps lift the lid on taboo topics. Each of the cards contain a different topic and each card contains multiple questions. 

So when playing, choose a card that piques your interest and get working down the list. These cards really help you get closer to the women in our lives and learn from their experiences, as well as normalise conversations about hard topics. 

 Got You Girl encourages you to play the game in person, virtually over Zoom or just pop some of the questions in your group chat and let the convos ensue.

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The card set also includes some resource cards to help support you if you find any of the topics triggering. 

Do you have any conversation games you like to play? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Mamamia + Supplied. 

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