Elicit funny anecdotes with these tips

9. September 2017 - Alexander Schmidt

It’s Story Time! 5 Ways to Elicit People’s Funniest Anecdotes


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Do you know what it’s like: you’re sitting together in a cosy group, but a real conversation doesn’t get off the ground? Our antidote: 5 tips on how to come up with the funniest stories and anecdotes!

I hate small talk. Do you? Ok, when you meet new people you can’t really avoid asking banal things like: So what do you do for a living? Where are you originally from? How long have you lived in [insert any city]? Oh, you’re wearing a wedding ring, what’s your better half doing tonight??? Yada yada…

But the worst is when you are sitting in a group with friends (or often enough relatives) in a cosy round and it could actually be a nice evening now, but the conversation only revolves around banalities. What do you do at university? How long have you been together? What has the weather been like lately, has it been bad? Oh, you’ve moved, I hear that the rent situation in [insert any city] is pretty tight, well…

Yawn. Ooooold!!!

Unfortunately, even with friends or family, you can have a pretty boring evening. You just talk about what you always talk about and everyone reels off his or her own personal refrain about what’s going on with him or her at the moment. Maybe once a month you should record your personal small talk on a dictaphone app on your mobile phone and when someone asks you what’s going on, you just press play. In the meantime, you can get a drink or go to the toilet.

Or you turn the tide and steers the illustrious round far away from the communicative dead island of the same old small talk and instead onto the shores of the continent of Anecdotica Humoristica!

5 Ways to Elicit People’s Funniest Anecdotes

1. Tell Something Very Personal and Embarrassing!

First, you need to create a smooth, flowing transition from the banal everyone-tells-their-everyday-problems conversation to the exciting storytelling session. The best way to do this is to lead the way.

So tell something that is guaranteed to be the opposite of small talk: something personal, preferably a really embarrassing story, a really stupid dream, a strange encounter or an absurd chain of misadventures.

Often it is enough to unpack such a story yourself and someone in the round picks up the thread and tells an anecdote of their own and the evening is saved.

2. Tell a Totally Crazy Story That Supposedly Happened to Someone You Know

If you can’t think of a story that happened to you, or if you feel uncomfortable telling people how you got locked out naked, or how someone mistook you for a folk music starlet, or how you got caught stealing underwear… there is option B.

Option B: You tell the first crazy story you read on the net the other day or make up on the spur of the moment: Nun pregnant at 90, tarantula saves infant, man collects paving stones for new Tower of Babel…. The kind of story!
It is especially important to mention that this story really happened to a good friend or his close relative. Exactly like this.

Then ask innocently: “Have you ever experienced anything like this?”

3. Steer the Conversation Towards Youthful Sins

This topic is especially exciting if you are sitting in a group with friends (or relatives) whose youth you did not experience! The best thing is to come up with your own story from your youth, preferably scandalous of course.

If someone doesn’t already get into it, do some research with questions like:

  • What piece of clothing, what hairstyle, what look from your youth… are you ashamed of today?
  • What did you do in your youth that you never told your parents? Or what you have never told anyone else?
  • Did you ever steal anything when you were young? If so, what or what was the most expensive thing?
  • What was the most embarrassing situation in your youth?
  • What shameful act should every young person have done at some point?
  • And what youthful sin would you definitely advise against from your own experience?
  • In retrospect, what was the most dangerous thing you did in your youth?
  • Which action(s) in your youth would you like to undo if you could?

4. Suggest the drinking game Never have I ever

Ok, this might not be the best idea if you’re sitting around the festively decorated dinner table with grandma, grandpa, parents and siblings at Christmas. But in a group of friends, combined with a sufficient amount of beer, wine and/or spirits, the game Never have I ever is guaranteed to bring out one or two anecdotes and never-imagined truths about your friends!

At Abenteuer Freundschaft you’ll find the guide with 100 suggestions for good questions.

5. The classic: Truth or Dare

Everyone knows it, everyone loves it and dreads this game in equal measure. No doubt many a cosy round has escalated into a crashing party thanks to Truth or Dare. But who has played it again since puberty? Unfortunately, only very few, and most of the really exciting things, about which there are so many things to ask and report, happen later in life.

(For most people at least, we’re not talking about cuddly sex and tender teenage romance at holiday camps anymore. ?)

Similar to I’ve Never, Truth or Dare works best in a group of friends (no relatives!) where there is a certain basic trust. Because then the really nasty questions and tasks can be asked and the dirtiest secrets and most frivolous anecdotes can be revealed…

For inspiration here: 100 provocative questions and tasks for Truth or Dare!

So we think funny stories and embarrassing anecdotes are way more entertaining than the same old up-to-dating and all that blah blah blah small talk. Or what do you think?

On Abenteuer Freundschaft you’ll find gifts and inspiration for activities for two, activities with kids and activities with friends for different occasions and all year round.

If you like our page, we’d love your Like on Facebook and Instagram. 😉

Image source Cover photo: Sweet Conversations by Prem Kumar Marni under CC BY 2.0


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