The internet is abuzz this week with news of a test which claims that asking 36 questions plus some deeply meaningful eye contact thrown in for good measure, can make you fall in love with anyone (and presumably them with you). The 36 key questions were originally published by psychologist Arthur Avon who had the theory that it was possible to make two people fall in love with one another by getting them to share intimate thoughts, feelings and to show their vulnerabilities. He tested his theory on two sets of male and female strangers with the result that six months after the experiment, two of them actually got married! The test which was originally conducted back in 1997 has now re-surfaced when an article appeared in the New York Times written by Professor Mandy Catron who tried it on an acquaintance – and surprise, surprise – they fell in love.
Of course, it could well be argued that perhaps this was destiny in any case and these two had a previous soul contract to connect. The last part of the test requires that both parties silently gaze into each other’s eyes for four minutes – something which Professor Catron describes as: “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”.
There’s an old spiritual/self-help adage which is: In your weakness lies your strength and the fact that the 36 questions mean we have to share our weaknesses and vulnerabilities appears to back this up. People respond to openness. However, just a word of warning – the key to this process is the four minutes of looking into each other’s eyes to see the real ‘person’ within – in other words, it requires face-to-face contact. If you were to omit this key part of the process and just ask the questions of someone you had just met on-line it could well foster a false sense of intimacy and closeness which may not actually exist, so please use caution.
Are you brave enough to try? If so, sit down with that potential love interest and ask away as here are the 36 questions. They are also now available as a phone app which you can download. Don’t forget your four minutes of starry-eyed gazing at the end. Even if a romantic connection is not your goal, these questions have been shown to bring people close – and cement friendships. And why not share your story with us? We’ll feature the best ones here on MK!
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.
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