The most important conversations are often the hardest to broach. When it comes to things like arrangements for death and long-term illness, many of us would do absolutely anything to get out of having to talk. Loss is a huge source of anxiety for a lot of people, but as with most anxieties, avoiding it does little to help.
Enter Hello, a card game about the questions we don’t even want to think about. Games like Cards Against Humanity have taught us, for better or worse, that everything is a little less taboo when it’s formatted as a game. Hello takes that to its positive conclusion, asking us to get together in groups to discuss questions like “Who haven’t you talked with in more than six months that you would want to talk with before you died?” and “If you needed help going to the bathroom today, who is the first person you would ask to help you?” Hello also keeps the spotlight off any one person, encouraging everyone at the table to think about their own preferences for serious illnesses or end-of-life situations. It’s about as non-threatening as these difficult conversations can get.
There’s even voting: whenever someone says something you appreciate, you can give them a “thank you” token. At the end of the game, you flip a coin, and the person with the most or least “thank you” tokens wins. So yes, if you’re really competitive, you can actually win the big end-of-life conversation.
As far as games to play with your family go, Hello is probably up there in awkwardness with Cards Against Humanity . But where CAH will teach us what our families and loved ones would bring back in time to convince everyone that they’re powerful wizards, these answers will make some of our hardest days a little easier.
Of course, there’s more to planning for those days than just having the conversation. But Hello is intended to be the start of the process, not the end. Research has shown that around 75 percent of players go on to complete Advance Care Planning behaviors like making preparations with legal or financial professionals, or talking with healthcare providers. No part of planning for the end is easy, but Hello offers one way to make it less difficult.