Can 36 Questions Actually Make You Fall in Love? One Writer Investigates

“If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead who would it be?”

BY CASSANDRA LITTLEWOOD
ONLINE CONTRIBUTOR

Scrolling through my Facebook timeline back in 2015, I came across a newly published article from the New York Times’ (NYT) “Modern Love” column titled, “To Fall In Love with Anyone Do This.”

Being the still very awkward teenager that I was, of course I wanted to know how to make someone fall in love with me! The cute boy I always saw on the bus? He could be mine. Christian Bale? We’d have a June wedding. NYT was going to help me achieve my ride into the sunset, according to my 18 year old self.

Spoiler alert: I barely remember what the boy on the bus looks like and Christian Bale is happily married to someone else but I do still wonder if the 36 questions I read about actually work.

The 36 questions consist of fun get-to-know-you questions like, “If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead who would it be?” to more in-depth questions like, “If you could change one thing about the way your parents raised you what would it be?”

The questions were developed by Arthur Aron, a professor of psychology at State University of New York who said that “The idea was that we wanted to study what goes on with closeness, how does it affect your hormones, your brain, your behavior,” as reported by Hack. Aron also told Hack that “The very first couple that pilot tested the questions were research assistants in our lab involved in some other research, they didn’t know what this was about. They actually fell in love and got married, and invited the rest of the lab to their wedding.”

Convinced yet?  

Whether it is to fall in love or fall into a deeper love with someone the questions are designed to reach a new level of intimacy with your partner.

The New York Times column that sent the questions into the limelight follows Mandy Len Catron as she tests the questions out with a guy from her rock climbing gym while on their first date. They ended the questions with starring into each other’s eyes for four minutes, something that Catron describes as more “thrilling and terrifying” than “[hanging] from a rock face by a short length of rope,” which she has actually done. The result of this fast track to intimacy? The short term result was deeper feeling of intimacy between the two. The long term? They’re married.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that makes two!

The 36 questions is an interesting way of examining how intimacy grows between two people as they gradually share deeper and more meaningful things about themselves. While I can’t attest to falling in love because of the questions, I’ve had fun with them with close friends of mine as a way to get to know them better and bond. Universally, the questions do help bring people closer together whether that be romantically or platonically.

Want to try it out for yourself? Here is the original article with the questions for your perusal and generally falling in love-ing.