How to Play Never Have I Ever

How to Play Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever is one of those classic backyard games that never seems to get old—no matter how many times or with whom we’ve played. We’ve found that it’s even more enjoyable when played around a blazing campfire, maybe because the heat from the flames serves as a great cover for the all-too-frequent blushing that can occur. This is one of those rare drinking games that actually teaches you things—sometimes too much, depending on who your companions are and what they’ve done.

Don’t worry if you’ve never played before. The game can be enjoyed by anyone of legal drinking age—there’s no skill or special equipment required. All you need to play are at least two people, your alcoholic beverage of choice, and a decent imagination.

Safety Guidelines

You probably won’t need to worry about physical injuries with this one (unless you manage to unearth some deep secrets that should have stayed buried). Still, when you’re dealing with drinking games like this one, there are some basic rules you should follow to ensure that everyone has a great time without getting hurt.

First of all, try to impose a time limit on the game. This type of forced drinking can easily lead to overconsumption, and you want to keep things light. You can also try to keep the blood alcohol levels from getting dangerously high by sticking with beer for this game. Stay away from the hard stuff.

No matter what you drink or how long you play, remember that it’s never a good idea to drink and drive. Designated drivers should either sit this one out, or sip water or another soft drink rather than booze. Another variation, one that’s often used by teenagers and grade-school children, is played by keeping score on one’s fingers instead of drinking. We’ll get into more detail in the How to Play section, below.

How to Play

To begin, invite all players to gather in a circle. Everyone should start with a full beverage. If necessary, the host can circulate and offer everyone a refill before the first question.

If you’re at a party that has a guest of honor, invite him or her to go first. Otherwise, you can ask who’d like to volunteer for the honor of asking the first question. Ideally, this should be someone who’s played before, so first-time participants can get a feel for the sort of questions they should ask.

Play begins when the first person makes a statement beginning with “Never have I ever…” The idea is to name something you’ve never done, but that others in the circle are likely to have done. For example, if you’ve never visited Europe, you would say “Never have I ever been to Europe.” Any players who have been to Europe are required to take a drink. After the first person asks their question and the others have taken their drinks, the person to their right or left will ask another question, and so on.

To play the “fingers” version of the game, begin by holding up ten fingers. If you’ve been to Europe (to stick with the preceding example), you would put one finger down after the player asked the question.

We like to keep the action revved up by adding another element. If no one in the circle takes a drink after the question, then the questioner must take a drink themselves. This usually keeps the questions from getting too outlandish. For example, if we asked a question that involved something like downing margaritas while riding on the back of a galloping rhinoceros, we would probably end up taking a drink ourselves.

When the time limit is up (or when someone has put down all of their fingers), the game is over. You can also determine the end of play by ruling that the game will end when at least one person has finished their entire drink. No matter what you decide, make sure the rule is clearly laid out before you begin to play.

Never Have I Ever Questions

We’ve found that the game is more fun when played amongst a group of friends who know each other well. That’s because it’s easier to come up with questions when you have some idea of what the other players have or haven’t done. We’ve come up with a couple of lists in case you need help getting started.

General Questions

Never have I ever . . .

  • . . . stalked anyone on social media.
  • . . . used an illegal substance.
  • . . . blamed a fart on someone else.
  • . . . faked an illness to get out of school or work.
  • . . . been on an airplane.
  • . . . been to a theme park.
  • . . . taken a selfie.
  • . . . stayed up all night.
  • . . . gone skydiving.
  • . . . flunked a test.

Questions for a Bachelor or Bachelorette Party

Never have I ever . . .

  • . . . been engaged.
  • . . . cheated on my partner.
  • . . . kissed someone of the same gender.
  • . . . shown up drunk to a wedding.
  • . . . been in love.

Questions for a Frat Party

Never have I ever . . .

  • . . . gone to class drunk.
  • . . . participated in a hazing.
  • . . . pledged a frat I didn’t really want to be in.
  • . . . gone home with someone whose name I didn’t know.
  • . . . slept through an entire day.

Questions for a Sorority Party

Never have I ever . . .

  • . . . been streaking.
  • . . . kissed someone who didn’t speak English.
  • . . . gone commando in a public place.
  • . . . had absinthe.
  • . . . thrown up from too much booze.

Questions for a Housewarming Party

Never have I ever . . .

  • . . . had a mortgage.
  • . . . had sex in every room of a house.
  • . . . gone back to my old house because I forgot I moved.
  • . . . missed a rent payment.
  • . . . asked my parents for help with a rent or mortgage payment.

Questions for a Camping Trip

Never have I ever . . .

  • . . . had a mortgage.
  • . . . had sex in every room of a house.
  • . . . gone back to my old house because I forgot I moved.
  • . . . missed a rent payment.
  • . . . asked my parents for help with a rent or mortgage payment.
Of course, these are just suggestions. The key is to be creative while sticking with activities that aren’t especially uncommon.

As we mentioned, it’s a lot easier to get people to drink when you’ve spent a lot of time with them. You can also call them out for cheating if you know for a fact that they participated in a certain activity, and are refusing to drink when the question gets asked.

In Conclusion

Fun drinking games are more about the conversation and the atmosphere than the alcohol itself—although there’s no denying that the buzz helps to lighten the mood. The best thing about this one is that it can be played anywhere, unlike drinking games that involve cards, tables, dice, or other accessories. That makes it an excellent choice for camping and impromptu gatherings.

We especially like to stimulate the conversational flow by asking people to describe their relevant experiences after they’ve taken a drink. For example, everyone who drinks after the question about streaking should have a chance to tell their stories before the next question is asked. It goes without saying that this will inspire plenty of laughter around the circle. As a bonus, it slows the drinking pace, helping to prevent overconsumption.

The best drinking games are the ones that we remember years after the bottles are empty. When we ask the right Never Have I Ever questions, those happy and hilarious memories are built into every round. Cheers!