There are 36 Questions to Fall in Love

About a year ago I listened to a musical podcast called “36 Questions”. It was dark, it was deep, and it was beautiful.

The music was totally addictive (like, singing in the shower kind of addictive). 

It prompted me to look into these 36 questions that lead to love, and I found out that they're real and totally viable. These questions are so in depth and personal that the psychologists who created them claim that they can prompt actual strangers to fall in love.

The power of vulnerability

Sticky notes love quotes

In 1997 a team of psychologists, led by Arthur Aron, came up with the 36 questions that lead to love. The idea was that strangers could fall in love with one another after exchanging meaningful responses to (super) personal questions. Tiered into three sets, the questions get increasingly more intense as you move from set 1 to set 2 and into set 3. Once the 36 Questions are complete, partners are encouraged to look one another in the eye (in silence) for 4 minutes - yes, 4 whole minutes which is a VERY long time, turns out.

Either way, whatever your end goal, asking these questions of a special person in your life - romantic or not - is a way to develop a deeper connection, and at the end of the day isn't that what we all so deeply crave?

The New York Times brought further attention to the topic when they published about the 36 questions in 2015. In its account it's explained that the impetus behind the questions posted is to kindle "mutual vulnerability [which] fosters closeness".

It is vulnerability that seems to be key in making people feel closer to one another! The study's authors indicate that a key pattern in the development of sustained close relationships is in fact just that, vulnerability.

Here are the 36 questions that lead to love

Initially I thought I'd give you samples of each set of questions, BUT then I decided that I'd list all of the questions so you can test them out for yourself! The questions take 45 minutes to complete.

Whether its with an existing partner, or potential partner, or a first date (kidding - sort of ).

Set I

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?

Man and woman holding hands with fingers interlocked

Set II

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?

Chained paper hearts

Set III

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.

Could answering these questions really lead to love?

While it may be challenging to argue that these questions foster love, they can absolutely foster intimacy. And intimacy is a building block for love. Or perhaps for some, intimacy equates to love.

Dark-skinned women hugging with eyes closed

Either way, whatever your end goal, asking these questions of a special person in your life - romantic or not - is a way to develop a deeper connection, and at the end of the day isn't that what we all so deeply crave?

Happy connecting, Herd! 

P.S. If you try these, do let us know how you felt about the experience in the comments below! 


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