You found our list of quick relationship building activities.
Relationship building activities are exercises that facilitate bonding and intimacy between acquaintances. For example, coffee chats, personality tests, and guess the group member. The purpose of these ideas is to speed up the bonding process and help individuals grow closer faster.
This list includes:
- relationship building activities for students
- relationship building activities for work
- virtual relationship building activities
- relationship skill building activities
- ways to build bonds with coworkers
Here we go!
List of relationship building activities
From games to questions to art projects, here is a list of ideas for quickly building relationships among group members.
1. Coffee Chats
Coffee chats are one of the easiest relationship building activities for work. In this activity, two random coworkers pair up to share a cup of coffee, a snack, and a casual conversation. Whether you work in a traditional office, a hybrid office, or a virtual office, you can use the Donut Slack app to randomly match up colleagues. Employees can also match themselves up on coffee breaks. Then, the pairs plan a video call or a physical coffee date. The main rule is to avoid work talk and share more personal stories and details. The conversation can be light, yet should give more insight into the employees.
For more inspiration, here is a guide to virtual coffee breaks.
2. Questions to Fall In Love
A few years ago, the New York Times posted a list of questions and prompts psychologists claimed could make any two people fall in love. This list included prompts like, “is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it? and “complete this sentence: I wish I had someone with whom I could share …”
The nature of these questions tends to inspire a strong sense of connection.
Though billed as a romance hack, these questions can strike up intimacy and fast-track platonic relationships as well. To do the exercise, partner group members and ask each pair to complete the full list of prompts. You can tweak questions and add more prompts to the list as well.
Here are getting to know you questions you can use as additional material for this activity.
3. Team Collage
Art is a form of expression, and collaborating on a creative project is one of the fastest ways to build relationships with peers. Team collages and mosaics are one of the easiest relationship building activities. You can either give each team member a section of the larger picture to complete individually, or have participants build the collage together. Upon completion, teams should present the collage to the rest of the group and explain the reasoning behind the choice of images. After the activity concludes, teams can hang the collages in shared offices or break rooms, or send pictures of the completed picture to all contributors.
4. Group Meals
Food has an uncanny uniting power. Communal meals have long been a source of connection and relationship strengthening. No matter what the reason for the group, eating together can be one of the best relationship building activities. Group meals and conversation go hand in hand, and food can invoke memories and fond feelings that prompt team members to share personal stories and details. Not to mention, eating is an activity that most folks can enjoy, and participants may come to associate the good food with the good company. These kinds of experiences can form a foundation that group members can build relationships off of.
5. New To Us
Folks feel vulnerable when trying a new experience. Stepping out of the comfort zone together can be a powerful bonding exercise.
To introduce New To Us into the workplace or club, first split participants into pairs or small groups. The groups talk amongst themselves and determine one activity that none of the members has ever tried. For example, eating Laotian food or skateboarding at a skatepark. Then, the group completes the activity together. After completing the activity, team members discuss and reflect on the experience. Participants can switch partners and repeat the exercise, or can remain with the same group and find new activities to try. Chances are that the longer the program continues, the more unusual and daring the experiences may become!
6. Guess the Group Member
Guess the Group Member is one of the easiest relationship building activities for students or employees. First, ask for participants to submit a list of personal facts. Next, choose a fact for each group member. Then, hand out the list of facts to participants, and challenge the players to match the description to the team member. This game can go for a few minutes to several days, depending on the number of players and the schedules of participants. To win the game, players should talk to each other in an effort to learn more about fellow team members.
7. Writing Workshops
Writing is one of the most personal art forms. Even folks who write fiction tend to draw from personal experiences and their own emotions. Thus, writing workshops and readings can be a revealing activity that gives insight into participants’ inner workers.
Writing workshops can be long or short. The easiest way to start this activity is to announce a prompt and give participants 10 to 15 minutes to free write. Then, encourage the writers to read the work aloud. You can take turns and give all participants a chance to share, or ask for volunteers. Because some writers may feel shy about sharing work, you can also pair up authors or place participants into small groups.
The most important element of this exercise is that all participants agree to be nonjudgmental and supportive and provide a safe space for group members to share.
For a facilitated version of this activity, check out TeamBuilding’s Storytelling Workshops.
8. Eyes On You
Eyes On You is like a staring contest, only the point of the exercise is not to avoid blinking first, but rather to lock eyes with another person. People tend not to make prolonged eye contact very often, so holding another person’s gaze can be powerful. This exercise can feel intimate and perhaps uncomfortable, however it can also spark a connection between team members. Plus, starting directly for an extended period of time encourages team members to pay attention, observe, and notice details about coworkers.
To do this activity, ask participants to find a partner, then ask pairs to stare into each other’s eyes for a full thirty seconds. When the timer runs out, give participants a fifteen second break before asking them to stare into each other’s eyes for another 30 seconds. You can repeat the exercise a few times with a few partner swaps. By the end of the experience, participants should feel much more comfortable making eye contact with each other, and may continue to practice better body language throughout the workday.
9. Question of the Day
Question of the Day is one of the fastest relationship skill building activities. This exercise encourages participants to think, be open and share ideas, and also listen to colleagues.
To launch this exercise, ask a question, then give each team member the chance to weigh in and respond. Participants can answer in real time via video call or in a live meeting, or can reply throughout the day via email, Slack, or posting to a forum. You can also encourage coworkers to have real life discussions using the question of day as a conversation starter.
10. Post Secret
Once upon a time, there was a bestselling book series and website called Post Secret. The premise of the publication was that folks would send the editor anonymous postcards with confessions. For example, “I have felt so much better since I started going to therapy,” or “Sometimes I purposely leave dollars in vending machines to make someone else’s day.”
This type of secret sharing can be a powerful relationship building too. This exercise enables teammates to know each other’s secrets without knowing each other’s secrets, and can be quite cathartic. To keep submissions anonymous, activity leaders can provide a box or encourage participants to send submissions from a non-work, email address made especially for the activity. Leaders can also mix in submissions from the book series to give participants even more privacy.
The activity should be optional and individuals should not feel pressured to share. However, not every secret needs to be serious, scandalous, or profound. Confessors might write “I took the last piece of pizza,” or “I secretly enjoy Justin Bieber’s music,” for instance.
Secrets should ideally be work appropriate, and you can outline guidelines at the beginning of the activity. Any discussion about the secrets should be respectful, and you may want to express these expectations at the start of the exercise as well.
Labels is one of the easiest relationship building activities. In this exercise, participants use name tag stickers to share important personal identifiers. For example, “I am a mother,” “I am a runner,” “I am a Harry Potter fan.” Then, folks move around the space, read each other’s labels, and strike up conversations with players with matching labels or interesting labels. At any point during the game, players can add new label stickers if they think up a new trait they want to share.
One of the simplest relationship building ideas is to fill out and share personal surveys. The activity is quick and free. Since responding is easy and many folks share these kinds of surveys on social media in their free time, employees are likely to participate.
Here are some examples of questions to include:
- What was your first concert? Your favorite concert?
- What movie do you quote most often?
- What kind of pets do you have?
- What food could you eat every day?
- What is the coolest thing you have done so far this year?
- Have you ever met a celebrity? Who?
- Have you ever won a contest?
- What was the last TV show you binge watched?
- Who do you text most?
- What is your pet peeve?
You can display or read the answers aloud, or ask teammates to respond via Slack or company forum. You can also use survey results to create team infographics or questions for a trivia game.
13. Photo Album
Photo albums are one of the best virtual relationship building activities. Setup is simple– just make a shared photo album on a Slack thread, cloud, Google Drive, or social media. Then, ask team members to add pictures. To encourage participation, you can use prompts like “highlight of the day,” “best day of my life,” or “holiday memories.” Or, let teammates share whichever pictures are most significant.
This exercise works well for remote teams especially because the visual aspect of the activity can simulate face-to-face time and familiarize teammates with coworkers whom they do not regularly see.
14. One Sentence Life Story
One Sentence Life Story is one of the most straightforward relationship building activities. In this exercise, participants sum up their lives to date in one single sentence.
For example: Northern Jersey girl turned California dweller on a quest to master digital marketing, read all of Kurt Vonnegut’s books, and try every possible flavor of bubble tea.
Often, these summaries read like social media taglines or dating profile snippets, and you can certainly use these sources for inspiration. The sentences can be lighthearted or more serious.
One Sentence Life Story challenges participants to distill their bios into the most important details and is a quick way for teammates to get to know each other.
15. Profile Interview
In this profile exercise, participants interview each other as if they were writing a magazine article.
Interviewers can ask questions such as:
- What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
- What does your morning routine look like?
- What do you credit as the main cause of your success?
- Which book, show, or movie most influenced you?
- Who was your childhood hero?
- What part of your upbringing most influenced your adult life?
- What is the most important lesson you have learned so far in your life?
- What is a fact about you that would surprise most people?
At the end of the activity, interviewers create a profile based on the conversation. This product can be written, spoken, or in presentation form, or even in a more creative format such as a song or guessing game.
16. Personality Tests
Taking personality tests is one of the easiest and funnest ways to build bonds with coworkers. Simply choose a test, take the quizzes, and compare results. You can also take the tests together in real time and debate questions.
The tests can be more practical, such as MBTI, or just for fun, like What Disney Princess are You? Participants can also discuss whether or not you think results are accurate, and predict which result each teammate might get.
Check out this list of personality tests.
Relationship building activities cannot do all of the work of forming bonds between colleagues, yet these exercises can speed up the process. Starting a new relationship can seem like a daunting and slow-going task, however games can help break the ice and reveal common bonds faster. These exercises provide ways to find out more information about colleagues without prying. Not to mention, these ideas can emphasize the importance of close-knit relationships within the community or company culture.