Even though I have been in many groups, I'm always apprehensive when, at the start of a group, the leader says find a partner. Who do I select? Will I get to that person before they pair with another? Will I be rejected? If that lingers in me, how do people new to groups feel? The following ways of pairing people eliminates the selection process:
Get two halves of a sea shell or two similar shells, enough shells for each person in the group, and put the shells in a bag. Let people draw one shell from the bag and instruct them to find the person with a matching shell. Instruct the pairs do introductions and find out about each other. Give additional instructions that fits the overall group.
You can also use two each of nuts in the shell: hazelnuts, walnuts, chestnuts, peanuts, pecans, soft shell pecans, Brazil nuts (What are they called in Brazil?), macadamia nuts, and pistachios. Two each of the following also work:
Colors or different brands of cellophane-wrapped. or small bags, of candy.
Rocks or marbles of different sizes, shapes, and colors.
Post cards or pictures of different objects, animals, places, or people.
Zodiac signs. Was each person born under the sign that they selected? Is there an important person in his/her life that was born under that sign? Include a fortune with each sign that the pair can discuss.
Different sizes, shapes, and colors of buttons.
For groups with odd numbers of people, use an extra candy, marble, post card, button, etc. so that most of the group members will be in pairs with one three-person grouping.
Don't forget to collect all the items or be prepared to lose them and buy more.