20 Awkward Team Bonding Activities to Never Organize
By Space Coast Daily // February 22, 2023
Picture this, It’s team bonding day, and you’ve been tasked with coming up with the activities.
You want to make sure everyone has a good time, so you spend hours brainstorming the perfect activity, only to find out that half the team is hiding in the break room playing on their phones. Sound familiar?
If your team bonding efforts have fallen flat in the past, never fear. We’ve put together a list of 20 awkward team bonding activities to avoid at all costs. From trust falls gone wrong to forced karaoke sing-alongs, these are sure to create some severe discomfort (and maybe even a few laughs). So go ahead and cross them off your list – just don’t say we didn’t warn you first!
- Forced trust falls: If someone isn’t comfortable with the idea of a trust fall, don’t force them. It’s better to find other activities that everyone is more comfortable with.
- Awkward icebreakers: Icebreakers should be fun, lighthearted, and low-pressure, not an ordeal where everyone has to reveal deeply personal information about themselves.
- Karaoke sing-alongs: Karaoke can be fun in the right context, but forcing everyone to join in on a song they don’t know or like is definitely not your best. Unless you work with a bunch of singing superstars, this activity is probably not going to be a hit.
- Uncomfortable role-playing exercises: Role-playing games that require everyone to act out specific scenarios can become uncomfortable and awkward very quickly.
- Group hugs: This one is perhaps the most awkward of all and should be avoided at all costs!
- Mystery boxes: Mystery boxes are a great way to encourage team collaboration, but they can also create confusion (and frustration) if done wrong.
- Competitive tasks: Tasks that require teams to compete against each other can lead to unhealthy rivalries, so it’s best to avoid any activities that focus on competition.
- Singing happy birthday in public places: Everyone loves a good birthday song. Just make sure you’re not singing it in front of a large group of strangers.
- Forcing people to mingle: Don’t put your coworkers on the spot by forcing them to mix with one another. This can be an uncomfortable experience for some people.
- Compliment circles: Compliment circles are a great way to boost morale and build strong relationships, but they can also make it difficult for people who feel shy or awkward talking about themselves in public.
- Embarrassing trivia games: Trivia games are fun unless the questions are too embarrassing. Avoid anything that could make your coworkers feel awkward or embarrassed.
- Acting out skits: Skits can be a lot of fun, but if everyone is feeling uncomfortable about performing in front of others, you may want to reconsider this activity.
- Obligatory after-work drinks: Not everyone enjoys a few drinks after work, so make sure it’s optional (and not mandatory) before you organize this activity.
- Walking tours of the local area: It’s great to explore the local area, but walking around in silence can be pretty awkward, especially if there are only a couple of people in your group.
- Eating competitions: Eating contests may seem like fun, but they can actually cause tension among team members, so avoid them at all costs.
- Dancing lessons: Unless everyone is on board with learning some new dance moves, it might be best to steer clear of any organized dancing activities.
- Forced laughter: Laughing isn’t always easy, so don’t force your team to “fake it till they make it.” Let everyone take part in the activities that make them feel comfortable.
- Long dinners: Eating dinner with coworkers can be a great way to get to know each other better but save the long meals for special occasions.
- Games with physical contact: Touching is taboo in many workplaces, so avoid any games that require physical contact.
- Surprise parties: Parties can be great, but they’re not for everyone, so make sure you check with your team before planning a surprise celebration.
These are just some of the activities that you should avoid when planning team-building programs. The important thing is to focus on activities that everyone will enjoy and find comfortable then, and you can be sure that your team-building session is a success!