Teaching students to have quality conversations with their peers can help them build strong, healthy relationships and increase their sense of belonging. For the fast-friend activity, students will be assigned a partner to befriend over the course of a month (Echols & Ivanich, 2021). During your fast-friend activity, provide students with a list of questions to guide them in their conversations with their peers. Here are a few sample questions used in the “fast-friend” activity that you may consider using with your students. Additional questions can be found by visiting the articles under the reference section below.
- What is your favorite subject in school?
- What is your favorite dessert or flavor of ice cream?
- What is/was your favorite pet? (If you’ve never had a pet, what pet would you choose if you could?)
- What’s your favorite thing to do during summer vacation?
- What is your favorite TV show or movie?
- Do you like to get up early or sleep in on the weekends?
- What foreign country would you most like to visit and why?
- If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
- Describe your worst haircut ever.
- Describe your best friend (without saying his/her name).
- If you had to move from your school, what would you miss the most?
- If your house was on fire and you had time to safely grab one thing before running out, what would it be?
- If you could be famous for something, what would it be?
- Describe one quality you wish you had.
- What would a perfect day at school be like?
- What would you like to change about your life if you could?
- Name one thing that would make your parents/family proud of you and one thing that would make them disappointed in you.
- Name one thing you and I appear to have in common.
||List of questions to promote conversation and relationship building. See recommended list above.
||30 minutes per month, or as needed.
- Assign students to a partner in the class.
- Once a month, for 30 mins, have students practice asking and answering questions with their partner. This activity could also be practiced more frequently.
- Change partners every few months.
Does it work?
Developing friendships with peers is a key part of improving student wellbeing, as it helps them have a greater sense of belonging. One study tested an intervention called “fast-friends” where students were given conversation skills training and assigned to become friends with an assigned partner in the class(Echols & Ivanich, 2021). The study observed 301 seventh and eighth grade students in a Midwestern middle school. Students were randomly assigned a same-gender partner, who they reported to have not known well. Students were also assigned a control partner. For 30 min., once a month, over the course of 3 months, students participated in relationship building activities with their fast-friends partners. The first two sessions, students took turns asking each other questions that became increasingly personal. In the last session, they participated in a team block tower activity, competing against other "fast-friend" partnerships. At the end of the sessions students reported that they knew their "fast-friends" better and considered them friends(Echols & Ivanich, 2021).
Echols, L. & Ivanich, J. (2021). From "Fast Friends" to true friends: Can a contact intervention promote friendships in middle school. Journal of Research on Adolescence/Early Review. https://doi.org/10.1111/jora.12622