Purpose: This exercise can be used as a way for group members to get to know each other better and identify commonalities amongst group members.

Materials: one piece of paper, clipboard, and a writing instrument for each group


  1. Divide the large group into smaller groups of 4-5 people.
  2. Group members pick one person to be the scribe for the group.
  3. Ask each group to list many things as possible that all the members of the group have in common with each other. Number the list. The group that came up with the longest list “wins.”
  4. Encourage group members to think creatively.
  5. Give 5-10 minutes for this part of the activity.
  6. Once time is up, ask winning group to share their list first. Then have other groups share their lists.

Talking Points:

  • How difficult was it for your groups to come up with the things you all had in common?
  • What strategy did you use to try to come up with the longest list?
  • How easy is it for you to find commonalities with other people?
  • Isolation is one of the biggest risk factors for various mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
  • Four types of social support have been identified and described as:
  • Emotional support–includes listening, validating, empathizing, caring, and affection. (e.g. a supportive family member, friend, or therapist)
  • Network support—gives someone a sense of social belonging or belonging to a network. (e.g. AA/NA, church group/spiritual community)
  • Informational support—providing guidance, suggestions, or useful information. (e.g. a health care provider, a person who’s been through a challenging situation and can offer their perspective or advice)
  • Tangible support—includes material goods, services, or concrete ways people provide assistance. (e.g. giving rides, providing childcare, cooking a meal)
  • Invite group members to brainstorm a list of support people in their lives and categorize them under these 4 types of social support.

Tips and Considerations:

  • This activity has the potential to highlight how little of a healthy support system a group member might have. It is encouraged that the facilitator normalize this and leave room to brainstorm and discuss various ways someone might begin to grow their support system.
  • Introducing any activity that has a competitive element to it increases the energy in a group. You can use a similar style of list-making within a given time-frame for any topic.

Starts the learning around: relapse prevention and communication


  1. I like this one!! (And, now that I’ve heard you speak, I read all your blog posts with your accent…or at least attempt to in my head.)


  2. Hi Anjali,

    I did this activity with my group tonight. Oh my gosh, so fun. Helped my group really identify with how similar they really are. And unfortunately how they all have used psychedelic drugs.. Holy cow, but it was amazing to watch.

    Andrea Brown


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