Come on, questions that would make you fall in love with anyone, really? Well, according to a successful research by Dr Arthur Aron of State University of New York, you could. But that’s provided you’re at least open to the idea of falling in love.
In his research conducted more than 20 years ago, Dr Aron gave a series of 36 questions (see below) to random heterosexual pairs which after answering, had to spend 4 minutes looking at each other in perfect silence. The result? One of those couples later got married and yes, invited the research team to their ceremony (*cheers*). Now, I know one example wouldn’t be enough to prove him right, but what about two? It seems to have worked with Mandy Len Catron of the New York Times. As Dr Aron puts it,
Whereas behaving close could not really arise outside of a long-term ongoing relationship, it seemed to us that the subjective feeling of closeness, which is our focus, might well arise at least temporarily in a short-term interaction.
Indeed, when getting close is made an explicit task, introverts became as close as extraverts. This may be because to the extent introverts do engage in social interaction, this task was precisely the kind of self-disclosure that is typical oftheir conversations
In other words, the feeling of love can be induced. Better, to love is something we can consciously choose.
Case in point, my own story. Many blue moons ago when my criteria for getting in a relationship were 90% physical, I became friends with this girl in high school. She was kind and probably many things else, but since she didn’t fit my beauty mould, I ignored her. Then this strange week, a series of unexpected events put us twice in situations where we had the chance to uncover more layers of our personalities. Although the answers to our questions didn’t ring many bells at the time, something in the undressing of our emotional protections made us look at each other in a different way. She now knew me, I now knew her, and for the first time physical beauty was merely the icing on the cake and not the cake itself. Our fates got sealed when later that month we spend a night talking and looking at each other in a friend’s kitchen. We made the choice to love each other and went ahead to live one of my most memorable teenage experiences.
Could Dr Aron’s experiment work? In my experience, yes. But you can test that for yourself:
The 36 Questions to make you fall in love
- Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
- Would you like to be famous? In what way?
- Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
- What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
- When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
- If you were able to live to the age of90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
- Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
- Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
- For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
- If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
- Take 4 minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
- If you could wake up tomorrow having gained anyone quality or ability, what would it be?
- If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?
- Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
- What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
- What do you value most in a friendship?
- What is your most treasured memory?
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- What is your most terrible memory?
- If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
- What does friendship mean to you?
- What roles do love and affection play in your life?
- Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of 5 items.
- How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
- How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
- Make 3 true “we” statements each. For instance ‘We are both in this room feeling … “
- Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “
- If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
- Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
- Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
- When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
- Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
- What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
- If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
- Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. Mter saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save anyone item. What would it be? Why?
- Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
- Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen
Cover photo: Kristilee Parish Photography