We had some friends, a couple from college, over for dinner last night. We wanted to get to know them a bit better and we've found in the past that spending time together outside of your usual context can be helpful for this.
After dinner we played some games (a card game called 'Munchkin' and a board game called 'Smallworld' if anyone is interested). We love games so it was great to have another couple to play with. We've got a number of friends in Adelaide who we play games with, and different games with different friends, so we were really excited to find out that these college friends were into board games (particularly the ones we would call nerdy games).
I think there's something about playing games that helps bring people out of their shells a bit. We express ourselves more readily because we get involved in the game, and we feel less self-conscious. At least that's how I feel. Certainly as one person opens up, relaxes and feels safe to express themselves, they unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
We like playing games to get to know people. Do you have things you like to do with guests, or things you do to get to know people better?