The ways that we communicate through our messaging applications have evolved as everyone began carrying a smartphone in their pocket. The entry of the “pick a number game” into popular chat platforms like Kik Messenger is just a continuation of this trend. Believe it or not, it’s arguably a healthy one!
Human beings are innately curious creatures. We love games, challenges, mystery, and learning. Pulling back the veil of discovery bit by bit with a person that you’re chatting with can carry its own special type of excitement that’s not wholly different from going on a “first date” or hanging out with a new friend for the first time. As we continue to converse more and more in digital space, it’s important to compare that form of communication with more traditional, face-to-face means. While there will certainly always be differences, there’s actually far more in common with these two types of communication.
We like learning things about people. We revel in gossip, and we rejoice in revealed secrets. The “pick a number game” that’s become popular across almost every popular messaging app and web space is both proof and product of this tendency, as it embraces that curiosity full on, allowing people who are familiar with each other to learn new things about one another. It’s also a fantastic way for complete strangers to break the ice with each other, without divulging too much personal information that they may not want to.
How the pick-a-number game works will change depending on who’s using it. In most cases, a person has a pre-generated list of numbered questions or topics, varying in their personal significance. They ask a partner to pick-a-number, and will then answer the question corresponding to the number that the other person picks. Simple, right?
Simple in concept, maybe. The entire game can change depending on the types of topics that each person is choosing to play with. The game can remain relatively harmless and personally distant using questions in the vein of, “what’s your favorite movie,” or “what’s your favorite music genre.” Easy questions that don’t necessarily speak to personality, however, don’t keep some users entertained for long, and many of the most intimate iterations of the pick-a-number game can explore much more personal topics. Everything from the zodiac to personal fantasies can fit into the paradigm, and while this is potentially exciting and fun for a lot of people, it carries with it quite a few risks, too. Privacy and safety should always be a concern when you’re using Kik or any other online messenger.
Since Kik’s userbase is filled with young people, it’s no surprise that the alarm bells start ringing whenever the topic of intimate or personal information comes up. In this article, we’ll explore some of the various versions of the popular “pick a number” game, as well as illuminate some of the causes for concern that it presents.
How Do I Play the Pick a Number Game?
Though it’s probably clear in the context, the “pick a number” game isn’t one that you’ll be playing by yourself. The entire premise of it is built upon revealing information to another person (or persons!) through a series of questions. They can occur in a back-and-forth manner, with people taking turns revealing things about each other, or it can be one-sided, with a single person doing the majority of the revealing. Either way, the point of the pick-a-number game is to reveal. Think of it as a more intricate version of truth-or-dare, where non-participants and those who refuse to answer questions after they’ve started playing will almost certainly be shamed.
Given the nature of the game, shyness can either be a reason to play or a reason not to. If you feel energized and excited at the prospect of a first date or a fresh acquaintance, it’s very likely that you’ll find a great deal of entertainment in the pick-a-number game. If the thought of revealing anything about yourself to friends or strangers, then there’s a good chance that this game might not be for you. After all, there’s a pretty measurable difference between anxiety and excitement, right? The point of a game is to be fun, and if you’re not having fun, there’s not much of a reason to play.
Typically, one person will initiate the game by telling another person to “pick a number.” After doing so, the person who originally asked will reveal whatever corresponds with that question (varying, depending on the particular chart of numbers and topics that they’re using–there are many!) After, the other participants in the conversation can chime in with their own requests to “pick a number.” Round and round the back-and-forth will continue until everyone begins to tire of it, they run out of time, exhaust their topics or some other reason to stop. One feature is almost constant–there’s rarely a winner in the pick-a-number game.
What do you need in order to play? For starters, you’ll need a bank of questions that corresponds with who you are, and what you know about your personality. If I may be allowed to advise, I’d recommend a set of topics and questions that push you out of your comfort zone, but don’t make you feel as if your privacy is being violated. There’s a sharp difference between the two!
There’s an excitement to be gained from revealing private things, but never forget that you’re doing so on a chat platform that allows you to converse with complete strangers. All that’s required in order for Kik Messenger users to contact each other is knowing each other’s usernames. This is handily convenient, but also risky. The pick-a-number game, as a result, can be a lot of borderline risque fun, but I do not recommend sharing personal information that would void your personal privacy.
Who Do I Play With?
I’m fond of getting the easy answer out of the way first, and so my response to such a question is, “Anyone and everyone!”
However, that’s only the possible people you could play with. Narrowing down who you’d enjoy the game with is very likely a good idea. Once more, this comes down to your personality and how you’d prefer to spend your time. The pick-a-number game is all about revealing information, so immediately weed out any contacts with whom you don’t want to share details about yourself.
Do you frequently talk to people on Kik that you don’t know personally? If so, approach the pick-a-number game with eagerness and a dash of caution. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in digital communications that we forget about the veil of anonymity that exists between us and the people on the other end of that screen. It’s always safe to assume that you don’t know as much about a person as you think that you do.
Are you the type of person that only uses Kik to send messages to people that you’ve known, face-to-face? This isn’t necessarily a drawback! If you already have a comfort zone amidst people that you see on a regular basis, then you can take advantage of that to push yourself into being a little more revealing in your pick-a-number questions! You can have that tangible excitement from revealing semi-private information, but take assurance in the fact that the people who discover it are those you’ve met in person.
No matter who you choose to play with, a sense of respect should always be maintained for the person on the other end of the screen, whether you know them well or not. That means backing down when someone says, “I’m not comfortable,” and not heckling too much if you don’t get an answer that you like.
What Else Do I Need to Know?
You’ll need surprisingly little when you want to get started. If you find yourself drawing blanks when it comes to creating a word bank for the pick-a-number game, then turn to your best friend, the search engine. The fact that this game has been popular for years will work to your benefit, and even a cursory search will yield many banks of questions that you can borrow from, without worry. Never forget to look the entire thing over, though. You’d hate to end up having to answer something unexpected for someone you’d rather not, right?
Also, know that there’s no pre-determined “end” for the pick-a-number game. Sometimes it’s a one-off with a single question while other games will carry on through message chains over several days. Like truth-or-dare, it’s about that primal thrill of fun and discovery (taboo or innocent) that comes from learning things you aren’t meant to know.
Given that the pick-a-number game isn’t new to Kik Messenger, there’s plenty of testimony, hilarity, and cautionary tales available for you to read all over the internet. None of these should dissuade you from partaking if it’s up your alley, but never forget that a small amount of caution should always be present when you’re doing so. Have any stories of your own from the pick-a-number game, on Kik Messenger or elsewhere? Let us know in the comments below!