Two Truths and a Lie

Two Truths and a Lie Featured Image

Last Updated on

Since I’m just a couple of weeks away from orientation, I thought it might be fun to talk about my disdain for icebreakers. In particular, I want to talk about Two Truths and a Lie because I think it embodies everything that I hate about icebreakers.

Table of Contents

Two Truths and a Lie Rules

Two Truths and a Lie is an icebreaker where the rules are the name of the game. Each person in a group is responsible for coming up with two truths and a lie about themselves. Then, each person takes a turn to reveal their three statements, and people they’ve never met have to guess which statement is the lie.

Sometimes this game is combined with other icebreakers to make it more interesting. For instance, I’ve seen it played where the three statements are written on a piece of paper and tossed around the room. Each person then has to pick up a paper ball and attempt to guess the lie.

Regardless, the goal of the game is to get to know the people around you.

Introverts Hate this Game

As a self-diagnosed introvert, I absolutely hate Two Truths and a Lie. In my experience, this game is always incredibly awkward for everyone involved.

Picking Three Statements

Think about it. You have to come up with three statements about yourself that are just interesting enough to make you stand out but not so interesting as to make you weird. Do you get what I’m saying? Let’s look at a few examples:

The Safe But Boring Option

Most people who play this game will opt for the safe option. Pick three things that are pretty normal but tell people nothing about your personality:

  1. I have a sister
  2. I have two cats
  3. I own an Xbox

In this scenario, no one can possibly guess which one of these is the lie because they don’t reveal anything about you. That said, it’s safe, and many people opt for this option.

Unfortunately, that defeats the entire point of the game, and it makes for a really boring icebreaker.

The Risky but Interesting Option

Alternatively, you can opt for the risky option. Pick three things that are likely unique to you but run the risk of marking you as weird:

  1. I am a registered Amateur Radio Operator
  2. I’ve traveled to six countries
  3. I have a Junior Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do

Notice how these options are a lot more interesting. In fact, any of these could be conversation starters.

Of course, you risk being outed as weird for whatever reason. Maybe some people automatically think you’re quite privileged now because of you may have traveled a lot. Perhaps others think you’re weird because you have a hobby that lost its popularity fifty years ago.

Guessing the Lie

Now that we’ve had the chance to look at some examples, try flipping the scenario. Instead of coming up with two truths and a lie, let’s try guessing some lies.

Jeremy, The Nerdy White Guy

Let’s start by using me as an example:

  1. My favorite sports team is the Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. I run a blog called The Renegade Coder
  3. I have traveled to Spain and Portugal

What would be your first guess? Would it be #1? If so, that’s a pretty good guess. After all, all you have to go on is my physical appearance. If I appear to be a nerdy white guy, then you might just assume I don’t watch sports.

What about #2? As it turns, I do run this website. To someone I might be meeting for the first time, they couldn’t possibly know that. Do you think they’d just assume I’d have a coding blog based on my appearance?

In reality, I’ve never been to Spain or Portugal. While I’ve done some traveling, I’ve never been to either of those places.

Alex, The Tattooed Hispanic Guy

Let’s kick things up a bit with a slightly more touchy example. The following are Alex’s statements:

  1. My favorite food is spaghetti
  2. I love to swim
  3. I grew up in Ecuador

Obviously, there’s no way this guy’s favorite food is spaghetti, right? Nope, Alex loves spaghetti, and he even loves to swim.

In reality, Alex grew up in the United States. I guess we assumed he was telling the truth about Ecuador because he looked Hispanic.

Rachel, The Tall Black Woman

Let’s look at one last example:

  1. I love to play basketball
  2. My favorite sports team is the Cleveland Indians
  3. I’m studying to become a lawyer

Based purely on appearance, you’re probably going to guess either #2 or #3. After all, Rachel definitely plays basketball, right?

Once again, we’re wrong. Rachel doesn’t play basketball, but she does love to watch some baseball. And, she’s even studying to be a lawyer.

Judgement All Around

As you can see, I really don’t like this game. Not only is selecting three statements pretty stressful as an introvert, but guessing lies can be awkward too. No one wants to be seen as weird—let alone a bigot.

That said, clearly I’m overthinking such a simple game. Honestly, I know that no one really even cares about the icebreaker, and I know most people will forget what was said shortly after the game. However, I can’t help but feel some anxiety anytime I have to deal with Two Truths and a Lie.

If there are any icebreakers in the coming weeks, I hope they’re quick and painless.

Series Navigation← My Ideal JobOrientation Week Reflection →

2 thoughts on “Two Truths and a Lie

  1. Alcha Reply

    I agree, no one wants to appear to be a bigot, or as the weird one. However, I feel we need to learn to embrace the weirdness of ourselves if we ever want to get comfortable enough to help with being an introvert. As one myself, I completely understand the feeling.

    It’s taken me some time but I’ve started to enjoy games like this (in smaller settings, no way I’m playing a 25 person version of this). If I come across as bigoted, I’m able to clarify myself and then people not only realize I’m not bigoted but I’m able to defend myself in a discussion without getting heated or ruining it with snide remarks.

    Also, at least in my experience, you’d be surprised how many people find those blunders quite funny. When you come across as bigoted just due to a mistake in wording, and then you stop in your tracks and realize how bad it sounded.

    I feel everyone who’s taking part in the game is aware of how awkward everything can sound, and that’s how you best get to know one another. How y’all can handle the awkwardness that is being human.

    Granted, this is all the opinion of some random dude on the net, so take it with a grain of salt.

    • Jeremy Grifski Post authorReply

      A couple of years ago, I was involved in an organization where we played icebreakers and team builders once a week, so you can probably imagine I’m a little jaded.

      That said, you’re totally right! These sort of games are more nuanced than the way I portrayed them in this article.

      In fact, I’m actually a really chill person, so I may have been exaggerating a bit. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? The game hardly lasts longer than 15 minutes. That said, I still hate Two Truths and a Lie. ?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.