In the adolescent slumber party universe, the game simply called "Truth or Dare" stands alone. While other party games such as "Post Office" or "Spin the Bottle" ebb and flow in popularity, Truth or Dare has generally remained a popular, if potentially embarrassing, staple whenever three or more tweens or teenagers have gathered together with popcorn and sleeping bags. The rules are relatively straightforward: a player can choose to tell the truth in response a personal question, or elect to perform a physical dare selected by other players.
Since the truth-telling and dare suggestions could become hazardous, many organizers set up specific house rules before playing the game. A suggested dare may have to be performable within the room itself, for example. Truthful responses to personal questions should be kept confidential is another common house rule. Other Truth or Dare restrictions could include no indecent exposure, no physical contact between players or no use of recording devices.
Once the house rules have been established, players take turns responding to the question "Truth or dare?" If the player chooses truth, then the other participants discuss an appropriate question. Many of the questions posed are intentionally personal by design, but are not meant to inflict permanent harm to the player. Subjects often include romantic experiences, embarrassing memories or personal opinions on topics of the day. A typical Truth or Dare question might be, "Have you ever kissed a boy when his parents were in the same room?"
The other option is, of course, the dare. If a player opts for a dare, the other players can suggest almost any sort of physical challenge, as long as it complies with general house rules. A player may have to consume a disgusting concoction, for example, or perform an embarrassing dance in front of the entire group. Other dares may include kissing another player, or calling a secret romantic crush on the phone. The dares are only limited by the players' imaginations. There is often a penalty for failing to complete a dare or answer a question truthfully, however.
There is always the potential for abuse or exploitation when playing Truth or Dare, especially in a mixed group of teenagers, so participants need to police themselves very carefully. Answers to personal questions should be kept strictly confidential, and players should be given the right to reject a question that crosses a personal boundary. Dares should also be safe to perform and not involve inappropriate physical contact between players. It can be a safe party game for all ages as long as the house rules are respected.