Did you know that you can ask certain questions to fall in love with someone?
After all, the best way to fall in love with someone is to get to know them.
One psychologist famously demonstrated this by having pairs of strangers ask one another just 36 questions in 45 minutes. The results showed how people can build intimacy with almost anyone if they try.
In the summer of 1967, Arthur Aron, then a UC Berkeley graduate student in psychology, fell in love with fellow student Elaine Spaulding.
“I fell in love very intensely,” said Aron, now a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley and research professor at Stony Brook University in New York. “Given that I was studying social psychology, just for fun, I looked for research on love, but there was almost none.”
He has learned that the quality of our relationships is the biggest predictor of happiness, more than wealth or success, and it’s a huge predictor of health.
All these years later, after countless research projects with his wife, who is also a psychologist, Aron is confident that answering the 36 questions they came up with, plus saying what you have in common and what you like in each other, will help two people feel closer to each other.
Will answering these 36 questions make you fall in love with someone?
At the outset, the questions are quite innocuous, but they gradually become more personal. Sharing values, how you were raised, your life story, and how you feel about your relationship with your mother is bound to create a certain level of intimacy between people, even if they are complete strangers.
Intimacy involves sharing who we are as individuals and letting ourselves be somewhat vulnerable.
Aron says both people answering the questions could contribute to falling in love. Part of falling in love is feeling a connection, and discussing these questions could create that connection.
Should you use these questions to find a mate?
Well, you could try, but only if the person is appropriate for you.
In the actual lab experiment all those years ago, two people who participated in the experiment did in fact fall in love, so these questions have worked in the past. You can also read a great article about two people for whom it worked.
Here are the 36 questions the pairs in Aron’s experiment asked one another, divided into three sets, with each set being more intimate than the previous set. Why not give it a try?
- 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 of 90 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 four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
- If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one 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?
- 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?
- Alternately, share something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five 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 three 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. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one 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.
There you have it—36 questions to make you fall in love. Happy courting.