Over the past 14 days two unrelated Substack authors unexpectedly gave personal shout-outs to this publication in their posts (here and here). I’m grateful for their kind words about our correspondence, and I’d like to draw your attention to each of them:
Thank you to all those of you who have engaged with my last post, Friends as family. Since then, the past several weeks were a busy alternation of work and coordinating events.
Last weekend I had the chance to spend two days at a retreat in New Hampshire, a now-annual XC-skiing trip I co-organized, this time, for a group of 10 friends, where we also had a wonderful music “jam session” evening, with several piano, flute, and guitar players sharing their talents with the rest of the group. It was a memorable, eventful trip.
On our way back, I shared with two close friends a deck of cards purchased a few months ago, called Meeting Friends:
Together, we read and discussed some cards, musing on how uncomfortable it might feel to suddenly have some of these questions sprung on even our close friends without much of a notice.
This leads me to open a thread for all my readers to discuss any of these points:
Have you ever played a similar card game, and what was your experience like?
What kinds of question(s) would you most like to ask someone you think you know well but are unsure about how to approach?
How would you play this card game with your friend circle? What rules would you set?
This thread is fully yours to post in: take it away!
P.S. The first full Anyhumans podcast episode will be released in the coming months: be on the lookout! In the meantime, please reply directly to this email if you’d like to be a future guest or host (or editor!). Anyone can be a host if interested in these topics and themes. Feel free to also reply if you wish to be email-interviewed for future Creative Humans or with anything else on your mind.
I am a huge fan of these card decks. I have been using them or drawing inspiration from them for many years. I use them with family and friends. I also love them on 1-1 meetings.
My experience was always very positive, I find that even the people who might be reluctant at opening up generally were enjoying it. It gives a container, or a “good excuse” to go vulnerable.
To answer to your second question, I think I’m mostly curious about knowing more on my people’s views on family and education - how this was for them and how they imagine it for themselves now that they’re in the age of potentially building one.
Finally, the main rule I insist on is “don’t interrupt” - people have as much time as they need or want to answer to the question. This ensure you can get to the bottom of things + make the space feels safer.
Thank you for starting this thread! I will share openly and to the best of my knowledge, although I need to preface this by saying - rightfully or wrongly - my friend groups are rather distinct and they do tend to share certain qualities based on where and how I met the individuals within them. In that sense, I do not think one size necessarily fits all here.
Tackling your questions in turn:
Have you ever played a similar card game, and what was your experience like? No, I have not played a similar card game before although, looking at the picture, I do think I have seen it in book / stationery shops. I do love a good card game so I am thankful for your reminder!
What kinds of question(s) would you most like to ask someone you think you know well but are unsure about how to approach? This would largely depend on the individuals I was playing the game with. Speculating here but my childhood friends would not be up for this; they would find it too uncomfortable and unnecessary (again, rightly or wrongly). We might have been thick as thieves for too long for this to truly work. It might but it would require some serious boundaries to be broken. My friend group from Uni would definitely enjoy a few rounds and I think everyone would be relatively transparent. We would go over all the categories, with no prejudice against any (maybe with the slight exception of Tender Things). I personally would be very interested in how they think they are doing in saving the world (we shared a mutual aspiration to do so), what lessons they would pass onto their kids (many of them have children now), and what they would have done differently in our Uni days if they had the chance. My work friends would be a mixed bag; some would like it and others would be absolutely petrified. I do not have an insight into the childhoods of many of them so getting a glimpse into their past and understanding how that has shaped them into who they are today would be wonderful.
How would you play this card game with your friend circle? What rules would you set? The only rule I can think of is to be respectful. I would never force anyone to share anything they do not feel comfortable sharing. As long as we are mindful of that but not forgetting the point of the game either, I think we should be ok.
To avoid making this rather awkward, I agree with the sentiment of you and your friends: some advance notice might be best!