I’ve heard from many people about a recent article in the New York Times, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This” by Mandy Len Catron. She looks at how psychologist Arthur Aron made two strangers fall in love in his laboratory more than 20 years ago by sitting face to face and answering “a series of increasingly personal questions, then they stare silently into each other’s eyes for four minutes.” Here is a link to the 36 questions and a sample:
#1 Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
#7 Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
#18 What is your most terrible memory?
#20 What does friendship mean to you?
#30 When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
#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?
Falling in love by asking thirty-six questions is a fascinating concept, and the questions themselves are very thought-provoking and intimate. Yet I know it would be exhausting to get through all them in one sitting. The author claims she got through them in two hours, which seems pretty amazing to me.
So let’s assume you do get through them, and bam!—you and he fall in love the first time you meet. What happens the next week or two when you realize he was just a great conversationalist and that you don’t really know him that well?
In my opinion, intimacy and trust take time to develop—much more than two hours. The only way to know if he’s a long-term fit for you is to be patient and allow the relationship to develop so you know he’s the real thing.
Bottom line: These are great questions to ask each other. Incorporate them into the casual get-to-know-each other phase or maybe even try the whole experiment with him in one night. And realize there are no short cuts to love, especially the kind that is long-lasting.