The most exciting way to fall in love with somebody is to get to know them.
One psychologist famously proved this by having pairs of strangers ask each another 36 questions in 45 minutes. The results demonstrated how people could build intimacy with almost anybody if they tried. Arthur Aron, a UC Berkeley graduate student in psychology in the summer of 1967, fell in love with his fellow student Elaine Spaulding.
“I fell in love very intensely,” said Aron, who’s now a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley as well as a research professor at Stony Brook University in New York. He added: “Given that I was studying social psychology, just for fun I looked for the research on love, but there was almost none.”
He’s learned that the quality of human relationships is the greatest predictor of happiness, more than wealth, fame, or success and it’s also a huge predictor of health.
All those years later, after many research projects along with his wife who is a psychologist too, Aron is confident that answering the thirty-six questions they came up with and saying what you have in common or what you like in each other, can help two people feel closer to each other.
So, can answering the following questions make you fall in love with somebody?
At the outset, these questions are quite innocuous. However, they gradually become more personal, as they include sharing values, life stories, and personal feelings, such as your emotions regarding your relationship. The answers to those questions are bound to create a particular level of intimacy between two people, even if they are total strangers.
Aron says that both people answering these questions could fall in love. Part of falling in love is sensing a connection and discussing such questions could potentially create this connection.
Should you use those questions to find a partner? Well, you could try it, but only if that person is appropriate for you. In the actual lab experiment all these years ago two people who took part in the experiment did, in fact, fall in love. That means that asking these questions has worked in the past successfully. You can also read the following article about two individuals for whom it worked.
- Given the choice of anybody in the world, who would you want as your dinner guest?
- Do you want like to be famous? In what way?
- Before calling someone, do you ever rehearse what you’re going to say? Why?
- What would make the ‘perfect’ day for you?
- When was the last time you sang to yourself or someone else?
- If you could live to the age of ninety and retain either the mind or body of a thirty-year-old for the last six years of your life, which one would you want?
- Do you have a secret hunch regarding the way you’ll die?
- Name three things you and your partner have in common.
- What is the one thing that makes you feel grateful?
- If you were able to change anything about the way you were raised, what would that be?
- Take five minutes to tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
- If you were able to wake up tomorrow having gained any quality or ability, what would that be?
- If a crystal ball could say the truth about you, your life, the future or anything, what would you choose to know?
- Is there something that you have dreamed of doing for a long time and why haven’t you done it yet?
- What’s your greatest accomplishment?
- What do you value most in your friendships?
- What’s your most treasured memory?
- What’s your most terrible memory?
- If someone told you that in one year from now you would die suddenly, would you change something about the way you’re now living?
- What does friendship mean to you?
- How important are love and affection for you?
- Share five things you consider as positive characteristics of your partner.
- How close is your family? Do you believe that your childhood was happier than that of most other people?
- How is your relationship with your mother?
- Make three true ‘we’ statements. For example, ‘We’re both in this room feeling _______.’
- Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share _______.”
- If you were to become a close friend with your partner, what would be important for them to know?
- Tell your partner what you love about them; be honest this time and say things that you might not say to somebody you’ve just met.
- Share an embarrassing moment in your life with your partner.
- 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 about to die this evening with no chance of communicating with anybody, what would you regret not having told somebody? Why haven’t you told them yet?
- Your house catches fire. After saving your loved ones, you have time to make a final dash to save any one item safely. What would it be and why?
- Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
- Share a personal problem. Ask your partner’s advice on how they would handle it. Also, ask them to reflect back to you how you appear to be feeling about that problem.