A simple test claims to be able to make two people fall head-over-heels in love, by helping them seem vulnerable to each other. Why not give it a try?
The path to true love just got a whole lot smoother.
The key? To ask someone the 36 questions below – and answer them yourself. Doing this, psychologists have claimed, can make absolutely anyone fall in head-over-heels.
If it sounds easy; it isn’t.
The questions begin gently enough: ‘Would you like to be famous?’; ‘What’s your perfect day?’; Or ‘When did you last sing to yourself?’
But they rapidly become more personal.
‘Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?’ and ‘How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?’
The idea is to foster the atmosphere of mutual vulnerability and intimacy that a romantic relationship thrives on. Albeit by revealing to each other your deepest, darkest thoughts – the sort it usually takes a few months to admit (if ever).
The 36 questions were published in astudy by psychologist Arthur Aron called ‘The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness’.
He tested the theory that it’s possible to make two people fall in love by getting them to share intimate thoughts and memories. To prove this, he persuaded 52 sets of male and female strangers and 19 sets of female strangers to try it. Two of the participants entered a lab via separate doors, before sitting opposite one another and answering his series of ever-more personal and probing questions.
Six months after the experiment? Two of them got married (and they invited the whole lab to the ceremony).
Aron’s questions, which first appeared in 1997, are experiencing a bounce in popularity following an article in the New York Times by university professor Mandy Len Catron. She tried the experiement with an acquaintance.
The result? (Spoiler alert klaxon). They fell in love, of course.
The last, terrifying, element of Aron’s experiment requires the two participants to stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes.
Catron describes it thus: “I’ve skied steep slopes and hung from a rock face by a short length of rope, but staring into someone’s eyes for four silent minutes was one of the more thrilling and terrifying experiences of my life”.
Fancy giving it a try? We’re reprinted the original questions below.
So grab your potential love interest – or any willing particpant (that’s half the battle, says Catron, just trying the experiment signals that you’re open to falling in love) and get questioning.
You never know what might happen.
The 36 questions which can make you ‘fall in love with anyone’:
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.