Our virtual Brown Bag Lunches (BBL) are hosted weekly on Thursdays. This 850-word newsletter is a 3-minute read and shares the key takeaways from the event.

Gabe DeRita is a personal development coach helping mission-driven people live in alignment with their purpose. He joined us to talk about authentic relating and some games we can all play over zoom, which allow us to be a little more human with one another! Explore his work and others at Effective Connection and book a call with him to receive insight on connecting.


5 Practices

The theme of the BBL was outlined through the sharing of the 5 practices for authentic relating. These are ways of engaging with our experience and others’ in a way that builds deeper, more authentic, and real connections!

1. Welcome everything

This doesn’t mean you have to love or accept everything that is happening, rather it encourages us not to shut down parts of an experience. Welcoming everything means we are sitting with what is happening and remaining awake and aware of our experience, even noticing resistance, but not shutting down.

2. Assume nothing

Find ways to test your assumptions, replacing narratives with curiosity and assuming nothing.

3. Reveal your experience

This doesn’t mean telling everyone everything what’s on your mind, but rather being honest with yourself about what’s going on, rationalizing it, and extracting what is important. From this starting point, we can cultivate a better idea of what to share with others.

4. Own your experience

This is the most important one – recognizing that the source of your emotions is you. This means operating from a place of ‘I’ statements, finding your piece of ownership in any relationship or connection. While it might not be your fault, it is your responsibility to choose how to react.

5. Honor self and other

Find a place in a relationship that honors your needs and boundaries, and honors the sovereignty of the other individual in that relationship.



Some Authentic Relating games everyone can play

Following a discussion on these principles, we engaged in a few games centered on authentic relating through Zoom. These are games which anyone can play, whether in a pair or group, as a way to extract wholesome and interesting discussion, learning and relating!

The curiosity game

In the first game, we were paired off into random breakout rooms with a stranger and given a set of unique instructions.

  • For the first 5 minutes, the starting person had the opportunity to ask whatever questions they wanted to their partner. But instead of answering, the partner would reply by raising their hands and showing a number of fingers from 1-5 dependent on how interested they were in responding to that question, with 1 being something that was not engaging or interesting, and 5 being “I can’t wait until it’s my turn to talk about this subject.”
  • At the 5 minute mark, the person listening to the questions would then have their chance to answer, trying to remember what was asked and replying based on what interested them.
  • After 5 minutes of sharing and discussion, the process would be repeated with the second participant now asking the questions while the other showed their interest by using 1-5 fingers, before trying to answer all the questions 5 minutes later.

The curiosity game was quite unique and different for every pair, promoting empathy and effective listening and challenging us to find relatability.

Anyone else?

The second game required participants to access a functionality called “Hide non-video participants” within Zoom. Everyone who had their videos off would disappear from the screen, and only appear once the video was back on. And so the game went as such:

  • Everyone would turn off their video except for one who would share a sentiment followed by the question “anyone else?”.
  • Then, everyone who shared that sentiment would turn on their camera filling up the screen with people who shared that thought. The speaker would then nominate someone else to share while everyone turned off their cameras again.
  • For example, one of the questions was “I’ve been very surprised this year to learn all the things that I can do without, anyone else?” and a bunch of folks suddenly popped onto the screen in agreement.

“Anyone else?” was a really fun group activity that could be played with any number of people, and both allowed participants to feel validated, or empowered if their experience was unique. 

One time!

The final game we played was a one-sentence true story game that would start with the phrase “one time”.

  • Here, someone would start off by stating a story that had happened to them.
  • Then, someone else in the room would build off that with a true story of their own that related to the previous topic, again starting with “one time”.
  • The game picked up the pace as others jumped in “popcorn style” to share their own story.

It was another easy and fun game that took us down a rabbit hole of interesting stories and occurrences shared among a smiling group of strangers. It also created an avenue to think back to old memories that hadn’t been accessed in a while.


The bottom line: In an environment where Zoom calls for work has become the norm, taking some intentional time every once in a while to connect with friends, family, or strangers to play authentic relating games can be a real breath of fresh air.


Look out for this week’s BBL Briefer on The Power of Language in Accessibility

**Please note, this is the last BBL Briefer available to non-members. Consider signing up for a virtual membership to re-connect and level up in 2021.