Monday, 26 October 2015

a party game

The aforementioned Opposites Party was attended by people from lots of different parts of my life who wouldn't have known each other (or in a couple of cases who wouldn't have known anyone but me), so I wanted an ice-breaker to get people to chat with each other. And what are antonyms for, if not to bring people together? (They've brought me together with several co-authors over the years, after all.)

The key to the opposites game is that antonyms are more alike than different. If antonyms were really different, then frisbee could be the opposite of exorcism or some such thing. But no. Hot is the opposite of cold because they're both very alike: they are both basic bits of vocabulary describing extremes of temperature.

So, in the opposites game, everyone is assigned a label with one half of an opposite pair, which they wear. They then have to find their opposite at the party. When they've found each other, they have to chat until they find something non-obvious that they have in common. (I put in the 'non-obvious' bit because I wanted them to have a conversation that got past such facts as  'We're both at the same party' or 'We both know Lynne'.)

Once they'd done that, they were asked to put their labels in my guest book, add their names to them and write down the thing they have in common. Here's a bit of the result, i.e. my keepsake from the party.

(The Birthday Boy badge was an opposite gift from my opposite: the other Lynne the linguist at Sussex. You know we're opposites because we have more in common than we have different.)

The opposites I chose for the labels were varied in their obviousness versus obscurity. The cruelest was probably cryptic-quick (which will only be clear to readers of certain newspapers who are familiar with their crossword puzzles).

I recommend the game, and I think most of the people at my party would too.


  1. Will you be hosting a Halloween Opposites Party? It could be pleasantly frightening.

  2. :)

    I think one major party a month is enough! Maybe even one a decade is enough!