You know that feeling when you meet someone for the first time, whether it be a friend, a potential romantic interest, a fellow traveler in the seat next to you on a plane, or even a new co-worker, and you just seem to click with them? It’s that feeling of genuine deep connection; as if that person were destined to walk into your life at that exact moment. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it? For me, it’s a feeling that always uplifts my spirit and gives me that much more reassurance that life is absolutely fabulous, despite its hardships.

What if you could recreate that feeling, with anyone, even old friends, or someone you’ve been dating for years simply by finding the time to sit down with them and play a board game? Would you?

Life gets busy, we all know this, and often-times, that busyness results in the suffering of our relationships with others. We all seem to have smart phones blocking our view of actual human faces; we rush to work, we rush to the grocery store, we rush home, and at the end of the day, we’re just too tired. And then the alarm clock goes off and we repeat the whole process again. But those connections with other people are something that humans absolutely must have; we’re social creatures, yet it’s so easy to forget that, and it’s so easy to forget just how important our friends and family are to us. We forget to take a moment to be grateful, to reflect on just how fortunate we truly are, and sadly, in the midst of all the hectic chaos that is life, our number could be called, or the number of a loved one, and then we’re left with regret for not telling that person how deeply we cared for them. Or we suddenly find ourselves at the end of our life not having done all the things our heart has desired since it began beating.

All of this is the exact reason that Dan O’Donnell created a board game called Better Me, the Game of Growth and Friendship. Better Me was an idea that sat in a Google Doc for years (we all have those random great ideas that never come to fruition, right?), until late one night, it came to life, and was born into what it is today – a game that has been played on five continents and has affected countless lives.

The premise of Better Me is to encourage people, whether it be long-time friends or those meeting for the first time, to connect on a deeper level; on a level that is genuine and goes beyond those superficial conversations about the weather. It sometimes pushes people to step outside their comfort zone with asking questions such as: “what does compassion mean to you?” and “what do you stand for?”. In today’s society, we’re taught to keep deep, personal feelings to ourselves until we’re safely inside the bounds of a relationship, and even then, we often are too afraid of judgment and rejection to share our deep feelings with someone. This game breaks all those rules; it casts aside social norms and encourages us to be genuinely open and to take a moment to recognize our fortune. “What are you grateful for?” It’s a question that is normally only asked, and answered, around the dinner table at Thanksgiving, but we should be asking ourselves, and asking others, this question every single day, because life truly is beautiful and somehow, we’ve gotten into this space where we don’t realize that, and we don’t connect deeply, and we don’t appreciate the things we have. In 2011, I sailed to Libya and witnessed raft upon raft piled with refugees, some of which were toddlers and infants, fleeing their own country. Since then, I’ve been sure to tell myself everyday that no matter how little I have, or how challenging life can be at times, there are still people out there who would risk their lives for what I have. That little reminder takes me five seconds each day, yet it’s something that has changed my whole perspective on life. There is always (always) something to be grateful for.

To learn more about Better Me, the Game of Growth and Friendship, or to purchase your copy (you can also play free online), visit:

And remember, life is truly, deeply, wonderfully beautiful.

By Liberty Elias Miller

For more information about the author, visit her website at: