It feels like we live in a time where we’re constantly swiping through dating apps looking for real-life meaningful connections, only to be surprised when all we’re met with is screen-lit, surface-level validation.
Every day, new research is proving that the hundreds of apps aimed at bringing us closer are actually driving us apart, making us more lonely than ever. One antidote to that disconnect is ‘We’re Not Really Strangers’.
We’re Not Really Strangers ($38.81)
A literal game-changer
Created by model and artist, Koreen Odiney, the We’re Not Really Strangers card game ($38.81) is the purpose-driven card game that launched back in November of 2018, went viral during lockdown and comes with the warning: “feelings may arise”.
If you haven’t seen the card game, which is highly identifiable due to its signature red box and minimalist red and white design, then you’ve absolutely got one of the Instagram account’s compelling posts in your saved folder.
The account, which boasts a following of 3.1 million, prompts you to get even more introspective with each post, asking you a variety of questions that seem simple enough, but often force you to dig deep. This is also the premise of the card came, to help you cultivate deep, meaningful connections.
So how do you play?
It’s broken down into three carefully crafted levels of questions and wildcards — Level 1 is perception, Level 2 is connection, Level 3 is reflection — each level offers the players an opportunity to either deepen their existing relationship and create new ones. We’re Not Really Strangers questions range from simple things like, ‘Do I seem like a morning person or a night owl?’ through to ‘Are you lying to yourself about anything?’
I started following the account in its early stages and decided to purchase the card game during lockdown as a way of supporting Koreen’s art. To me, the Instagram account had sparked so much necessary introspection, that the card game felt like a natural progression, only, I didn’t know who I’d ever play it with.
Enter: My now-boyfriend. We’d been dating for a few weeks when we decided to bite the bullet and go on a road trip together. We had a long 5/6 hour drive ahead of us and on a whim, I packed WNRS in case I could entice him into playing.
Hour one of our road trip, I threw the idea of the game out there and to my surprise, he was open to playing. We agreed that if it got too deep or uncomfortable we could tap out, but we never reached that point.
We’re Not Really Strangers ($38.81)
For the remainder of the trip, even when it got dark outside, we worked our way through the deck of cards, we spent time being vulnerable, opening up about our lives, listening and learning about each other, trailing off onto random tangents, swapping stories and memories, and laughing until we reached our destination. By then, we’d almost finished the 150+ card deck.
Unknowingly, we’d spent the last 4+ hours learning about each other’s boundaries, insecurities, successes, failures, past loves, future hopes and more, under the guise of a game. We’d opened up so much to each other, and still, we knew there was so much more left to learn. From that point on, it was like we were more invested in each other, more willing to be patient with each other and more invested in the future of our relationship.
Neither of us realised it at the time, but playing WNRS laid the foundation for a healthy relationship.
So, should I buy it?
9 months later, we often talk about how good that card game was. We’ve both often recommended it to friends, lending them our deck in the hopes that they share a similar experience. We both agree that the beauty of the game was that it allowed us to build such a deep connection without any pressure. Having it all there, laid out in front of you allows you to confidently ask and answer the questions without the awkwardness of bringing it up in natural conversation, because after all, it’s just a game, right?!