I know I said that my love talk was all over with but then this article in the New York Times happened and I couldn’t ignore it.
It all started when Mandy Len Catron wrote an article for the New York Times in their Modern Love section entitled “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This.” It was so popular that it went viral. Suddenly all these couples were turning to the 36 questions that psychologist Arthur Aron initially put forward in a study to show that intimacy can be accelerated by asking certain things to help get to know someone better. So being the research wizard that I am, I googled ’36 Questions for love’. I guess I wanted to see how major this thing was. And Jesus was this thing major! All of these articles popped up. Some silly and some delving deeper into the psychology behind it. There was even one of a man asking the questions to his cat. I mean in this day and age, if there isn’t a spoof out there, then you haven’t made it big baby. The New Yorker even decided to post a 36 anti-love questionnaire entitled “To Fall Out Of Love, Do This”. And to top it all off, there’s now even an app for it. Don’t believe me? Check it out on Tech Crunch.
To me this posed such an interesting notion. Does it only take 36 questions to cement a bond with someone? To get to know them on another level? Well, all these testimonials seem to think that it does indeed help. Even if the end result may not be that of the ‘happily ever after’ kind.
The Questions are as follows. I should just say that it was designed in three stages. The first being a little less evasive than the next.
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.
Seeing as how I don’t have a lover at this time, I can’t really try it out. But I am thinking that on my next date I might just throw some of the Set 1 questions into the mix to see how things go. Let’s be honest people. Sometimes there are awkward silences that feel like an eternity of hell. So if there were interesting questions to ask, then I think it would only help the conversation along. And besides, you will be getting to know the person without it feeling like a job interview. If I never have to ask the questions of “So do you like what you do?” or “(insert something about the current state of the weather)” again then I will be the happiest of bunnies! Both of those previous questions usually result in a one worded answer. Which leaves me feeling annoyed and flustered. I then try mustering up other questions in my head after my first ones bombed on an epic scale of catastrophic crapness. So using these unique questions would really help me out! In fact having unique and interesting questions to ask is ten times for effective in trying to know how they think or feel about a certain issue. It also let’s them get more comfortable, relaxed even. Letting their stiffness melt away.
So to all the lovers out there, whether you are in the first stages of a blossoming relationship or a full fledge saga, why not try these questions out. You are either going to realise that you don’t agree with your partners answers – which is going to tell you that you might be barking up the wrong tree of love. Or it’s going to cement your blond in the knowing that you gel well together. Agreeing and even getting excited about the fact that you loved every answer that was given to you by your partner. You know, that gushing “Oh my god, ME TOO!” kind of reaction that makes you feel a little closer to the person.
After all, these questions in essence, are there to help you get to know a person more intimately. It forces you in a very subtle way to answer questions. It doesn’t let you shy away from or be very evasive, in your answering techniques. So in my books, that’s a plus. I personally, don’t have any more time in my life for awkward silences and nervous giggles. I want to connect with someone. To be an explorer on the adventure of love. I do not want to be at a job interview. Where your mouth gets parched and you are struggling to remember your generically modified answers. The ones where you know what they want to hear type of answers. Or the one’s where they make you sound more interesting than you actually are. Like jazzing up a boring hobby of shining rocks, to that of being a specialist in petrology. See, sounds more swanky doesn’t it? Oh the farce of it all. No! No more of that thank you! I want sparks damn it. I want intimacy. I want answers that you have to actually think about. Not ones that you have lined up in alphabetical order on a rolodex that you can pull out at the drop of a hat. (side note: do people still have rolodex’s?) I want a deeper, meaningful conversation. That’s it. And it’s not too much to ask for.