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Liar, Liar

This is a fun way to get people talking with each other and to help them loosen up. Good for a group where people already know each other and may find it hard to strike up a conversation that isn't stale. Going deeper: this activity frees us from the usual sense of obligation/desire to tell the truth, which may conflict with our feelings of shame or just a sense of privacy. Taking the liberty to lie, to betray our principles, to espouse reprehensible beliefs, may free us from inhibition and help us find new truths.

The Flow:

  • Explain and motivate: to warm-up, to loosen up and have fun.
  • Quickly model, if necessary.
  • In pairs, participants start up a conversation ("How are you?") with this one rule: every answer they give must be false. They can talk about, and say, whatever they like as long as it is not true.
  • After about three or four minutes, long enough for people to play with the activity, the joker calls, "switch!" and everyone must find a new partner.
  • Repeat the activity.

Notes:

I used this in English for Activists -- I could sense the relief in the voice of a hard-working activist who, when asked if he was worried about nuclear radiation from Fukushima, said with glee, "No!, Not at all! No problem!"

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