Some time ago in a laboratory just a heartbeat away, a psychologist named Arthur Aron began an experiment. He thought that he might be able to foster a closeness between two people and even make them fall in love. How would he accomplish this? Why with the infamous 36 questions of course. So did they work? Truth is, the test subjects did fall in love and they got married. So could these questions work for you?
The 36 questions were done as a study, but they really gained traction when a story on them was published by The New York Times. Another story about a couple falling in love on a date because of the questions. The couple began with the questions and capped the night off by staring into each other’s eyes for four full minutes. Will these efforts make you fall in love? It did for this couple, who were also later married! Two for two.
How Do They Work?
The questions start off simply enough. Questions like: “Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?” But then they start getting more and more personal. Some even ask you to point out things about your partner like: “Tell your partner what you like about them…” The questions are structured this way to encourage closeness and vulnerability. The creator seemed to think vulnerability was a key ingredient to falling in love. Turns out he might’ve been right!
When They Don’t Work
But what happens when the questions don’t work? Turns out they can go very wrong. There are stories of people who’ve tried them and felt even worse than before they started. They weren’t in love and their date was ruined. What happened? An author of Cosmopolitan tried the questions and she claimed they made her feel more judged; and that is not what you want on a first date. No sparks there, not even Nicholas Sparks.
Should You Try?
It’s been suggested that the questions might not just work for first time daters, but also married couples! The theory is that the questions will help spice up a relationship and maybe make you fall in love all over again. So if you’re married, the questions may work for you too. All that’s left to do is ask. And if you want to try them with a blind date, you might as well try. Even if your date is ruined, there’s a chance it would’ve been a bad date anyway. At least you found out sooner rather than later that you weren’t compatible.
Should we put so much stock into these questions? That is completely up to you. Try out the questions yourself and let us know what you think! Did you fall in love or fall out?
The 36 Questions to Fall in Love
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. 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?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. 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.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. 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?
34. 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?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. 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.