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Getting to the Heart of Pillow Tok: Part 3/3

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

(Recap Part 1/3 and Part 2/3) In our final segment with the creators of Pillow Tok, we turn back the clock to when Nick and Shihui were single and explore how Pillow Tok might have changed the way they dated.


Charlene (C): Hi guys, thanks for making time for this interview. From our last two conversations, I've got a pretty good idea of how Pillow Tok can be helpful for couples. What about singles?

Nick (N): I think Pillow Tok will be great for first dates. The first time Shihui and I met one-on-one, I just so happened to have a pack of Smol Tok with me, no Pillow Tok back then! We picked through a few questions and spent our time talking with each other. I remember feeling relieved that we could have a meaningful conversation from the get-go. So if you're out with someone you're interested in, you could start by picking a few cards from the deck and talking over dinner and drinks. Or introduce an element of randomness - get the waiter or waitress to pick 2 or 3 cards from the deck to explore together!

Shihui (S): Going slightly off tangent here, but I think it’s important. People can use Pillow Tok to gain more clarity for themselves first, before even going on a date. Knowing what kind of partner you're looking for, or what kind of relationship you want at this season in life will help you be more intentional about who you go on dates with.

C: Those are important considerations. Which question do you wish you had answers to back when you were still dating?

N: I wish I had asked myself this one, on "Dating Decorum". I think it's important for anyone who's dating in general. Might sound contradictory but having some personal rules or standards actually gave me a sense of freedom and confidence to fully enjoy the experience of meeting my date, rather than wonder or plan 3 steps ahead.

C: Please say more.

N: Well, especially on first dates, there's an element of not knowing what to expect or offer. You might end up saying or doing more than you planned out of some sense of obligation. Having rules about how you'll respond can help. Speaking from the experience of having gone on 7 blind dates in a row, I think it’s a good idea that first dates do not go longer than an hour. It should take place during the day, over coffee/tea, not alcohol. If things are going swell, you can always offer to continue or meet another day. But if your date isn't going well, there's a 'time limit' you can follow and excuse yourself after.

S: I wished I had asked myself two questions. The first is “Pinky Promise: What does commitment look or sound like to you?” I've heard many horror stories about how someone thought they were seeing this person exclusively, or were in a committed relationship, only to realise later that the other person was "just exploring/figuring things out/hanging out/not exclusive". There's a higher chance of causing hurt if the expectations between two people are not made clear.

The second question is “Warning Signs". I wish I had held clear standards on what was acceptable or unacceptable from a partner. There were many instances when I experienced behaviour that I deemed to be unacceptable. When I had finally mustered up the courage to tell my then partner, I was often brushed off or asked to "let it go because people are different". I wish I had the courage to stand up for myself and walk away from those relationships that made me feel disempowered and small. Right now, having clear boundaries and standards gives me greater freedom to love Nick and to give to him from a space of willingness and abundance.

C: Thanks for being so open in sharing that. I can see how dating would be less painful if people held clear parameters. Last question. What do you think users of Pillow Tok will be most surprised by?

S: I remember this super funny conversation in one of our playtests - "Typecast: Do you have a type? Describe what your type is like." There was a participant who gave a long and detailed answer about their 'ideal type'. This participant's friend was in the same session and totally called this person out! That friend told a story about how that 'ideal type' was so wrong for the participant and shared about other qualities that the participant valued but didn't articulate. We realised that friends often know us much better than we do ourselves, and can call out our blind spots when it really matters!

Friends playing Pillow Tok

So I think users of Pillow Tok might be surprised that wisdom exists within our own circles if we seek it out. Some people go about dating without sharing their experiences with the people closest and dearest to them. Perhaps involving them on this journey could help them avoid unnecessary heartache :)

N: You might resonate with this. What surprised me most was being able to play and recount challenging experiences from the past, and suddenly realising that I could see it all in a new light, and even laugh about it.

C. Sounds like you learnt something there.

N. Every time I play haha :)

C. Thank you once again, Nick and Shihui, and see you at the next secret supper.


Sign up with our Pillow Tok secret supper mailing list and receive monthly invitations to get a taste of Pillow Tok over dinner and drinks. Our first two secret suppers are open to singles and couples, and are slated for 23 November and 14 December 2018, facilitated by Nick and Shihui.

Order Pillow Tok here.

First and last photo by Jeremy Ho


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