When I was 18, I was a friend to a man who was studying relational psychology. Essentially, relational psychology has found that no matter what race you are or what culture you are from, people associate certain things with other things. When it comes to psychoanalysis, we can use that to our advantage. We can use it for the purpose of self-awareness.
Long story short, years ago, he played a little game with me and I loved it. I have been playing this game with people ever since. Consider it a ‘get to know you’ game. To play this game, you have someone answer three questions:
- Their favorite Color and three deep reasons why.
- Their favorite Animal and three deep reasons why.
- Their favorite Form or Body of Water and three deep reasons why. (A form of water is something like snow or ice or rain where as a body of water could be something like the Pacific Ocean or a birdbath or a Jacuzzi or a waterfall.)
When they are answering these questions, try to get them to be as deep and thoughtful as possible. For example, “I like blue because it is the color of the ocean” is not a deep answer. If they give you that answer, you have to dig deeper by asking something like “what does the ocean mean to you?” An answer like, “blue is infinite” is an example of a deep answer.
Have them do this with each question. But the secret is that every answer they give is really about something else. Their favorite color actually represents the truth about how they see themselves, how they view their own personality. Their favorite animal is the truth about what they want in an ideal life partner. And their favorite form or body of water is the truth about their view of their own sexuality and their attitude towards sex and some might even argue, towards life itself.
While you are watching them answer, you are not only taking note of what they say, but also how they say it. All of what they do tells you something. For example, if they really struggle with this exercise, it is safe to say that you are talking to a person who is not very introspective. If someone struggles to come up with a favorite color, they may struggle with knowing who they are or they may hate the feeling of being ‘tied down’ to being one way or another.
Obviously, this exercise is designed to get people to expose aspects of themselves that they may not consciously be aware of about themselves. I have to tell you how the game is played for the sake of the article, but you get the purest answers when people have no idea what game they are actually playing with you. If they do know, you run the risk of them altering their answers so as to give you answers that they want to give you instead of the ‘real’ answers coming deep from their subconscious mind. So if you’re playing this game for the first time, forget the game you are playing and forget yourself and literally think only about the color or animal or form/body of water and why you like that thing.
You may think this game is just a ‘fun little game’, but I actually believe in this subconscious work so much that I have ended dates based on this game. I was once on a date where a guy told me that his favorite animal was a butterfly because it was always beautiful, only came around when it was wanted (is never annoying) and is silent. Just think about my personality… Match made in heaven right?
So go ahead and try this game out on the people that you know and on the people that you meet. It’s super fun.