Is it possible for two individuals to fall in love by asking each other an organized set of fall in love questions? That’s the basis of the famous “fall in love questions that lead to love” experiment, which was made famous by a viral essay that was based on a real psychological study on how closeness develops.
People are already taking the survey on first dates, and marriage therapists recommend it to couples who want to reconnect emotionally. Here’s how the science behind the fall in love questions works.
What is the 36 fall in love questions?
The so-called 36 fall in love questions were created in the 1990s by psychologists Arthur Aron, Ph.D., Elaine Aron, Ph.D., and other academics to determine if two strangers might form an intimate bond by asking one other a series of increasingly personal questions. The experiment gained a lot of traction after Mandy Len Catron wrote an essay for the New York Times Modern Love column in 2015 about her experience trying the questions with a friend who later became her husband. The following is a list of questions to help you fall in love.
- Who would you invite to dinner if you could invite anyone in the world?
- Do you want to be well-known? What do you mean by that?
- Do you ever practice what you’re going to say before making a phone call? Why?
- For you, what would an “ideal” day look like?
- When was the last time you sang to yourself? To whom are you addressing this?
- Which would you choose to have if you could live to be 90 and have the mind or physique of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life?
- Do you have a sneaking suspicion about how you’ll pass away?
- Name three things that you and your partner seem to share.
- What are you most grateful for in your life?
- What would you alter about the way you were raised if you had the chance?
- Take four minutes to tell your partner as much about your life as you can.
- What one attribute or ability would you get if you could wake up tomorrow with?
- What would you want to know if a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else?
- Is there something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time? Why haven’t you gone ahead and done it?
- What is your proudest achievement in life?
- What qualities do you look for in a friend?
- What is the most cherished memory you have?
- What is your most dreadful recollection?
- Would you alter anything about the way you live now if you knew you would die abruptly in a year? Why?
- To you, what does friendship entail?
- What part of your life do love and affection play?
- Alternately, share anything you think is a good quality in your relationship. Five items total should be shared.
- Is your family close and welcoming? Do you believe you had a happier childhood than the majority of people?
- What is your opinion of your mother’s connection with you?
- Make three “we” assertions that are true. “We’re both in this room feeling…”, for example.
- “I wish I had someone with whom I could share…”, complete the phrase.
- If you and your partner were to become close friends, please tell him or her what you think is vital for him or her to know.
- Tell your partner what you admire about them; this time, be completely honest, stating things you wouldn’t say to a stranger.
- Tell your partner about a time in your life when you were embarrassed.
- When was the last time you cried in front of someone? You’re on your own?
- Tell your lover something you already admire about them.
- What is too serious to be joked about, if anything?
- What would you most regret not telling someone if you died tonight evening with no opportunity to contact anyone? Why haven’t you informed them?
- Your house catches fire, destroying all you own. After you’ve saved your loved ones and pets, you have enough time to make a last-ditch effort to preserve any one object. What would it be, exactly? Why?
- Which member of your family’s death would be the most upsetting to you? Why?
Share a personal issue with your partner and seek his or her opinion on how to address it. Additionally, have your partner reflect on how you appear to be feeling about the situation you’ve chosen.
Can the 36 questions make two strangers fall in love?
The 36 fall in love questions is intended to assist two strangers in developing feelings of connection and closeness. They may or may not “fall in love,” but according to the Arons’ research, they are successful at establishing intimacy.
The researchers state in the publication, “We should also underline that the purpose of our technique was to establish a transient feeling of intimacy; not a genuine continuing friendship.”
Finally, they say, “Are we fostering genuine intimacy? Both yes and no. We believe that the closeness generated in this research is akin to felt closeness in many ways; in organically occurring relationships that evolve over time. On the other side, it appears that the technique is unlikely to establish loyalty, dependency, commitment, or other qualities of a relationship that may take longer to develop.”
Is it true that the 36 questions to fall in love actually work?
The fall in love questions have aided at least some couples in falling in love, however, others have had less success. Catron, the author of the viral New York Times column, later married the man with whom she conducted the experiment. Another couple from one of the Arons’ early question set trials married, and the entire research team was in attendance.
In a 2016 WBUR podcast episode on the piece, Daniel Jones, editor of the Modern Love column at the New York Times, remarked, “I wish I had data on couples that have come from it, but I know of at least a handful; where the people approached me directly.”
For those who have tried the experiment since then, here’s how the 36 questions fared:
“I felt like I knew this guy better than my best buddy at the end of the night. I didn’t fall head over heels in love that night, but I’d like to learn more about this person. Is there a possibility of a second date? I’m not sure yet.” —Via Zula, Liu Kai Ying
“[The guy with whom I attempted this] and I are not dating… I believe the exercise stifled our progress. It gave the impression that the connection was more serious than it actually was. What was supposed to be something new and experimental became a matter of urgency. It made the DTR (‘define a relationship’) appear urgent, rather than us taking the time to figure out what made us compatible.” —Julianna Young, via Zappos
“‘We probably don’t have all that much in common, but I’ll meet up anyhow,’ she stated before the date. After the date, she had changed her mind, claiming that we had far too much in common. I think the exercise was a very pleasant experience, and the two times I’ve tried it, the dates have been WAY better than any other dates I’ve had this year.” —from a Reddit user
“There weren’t many fresh details revealed. However, we both cried about things we had in common. It had the feel of genuine intimacy. It felt like a sign that we’d make it. Our romance, on the other hand, lasted only three months.” —via the Washington Post, Alicia M. Cohn
“It’s difficult to say how long the heightened connection will remain. But now, more than ever, I’m positive that I’m with the proper guy.” —Melanie Berliet, via Salon.
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“It turned out that we already knew the answers to all of the questions we posed, including the more difficult ones. And the ones we didn’t know evolved into seriously, would you really approach it that way?’ discussions. ‘Don’t pretend as if I don’t know who you are.’ Because of all the squabbling, we ended up going to bed grumpy.” —via The Odyssey, Meagan Shapiro.
“I tried it on a second date with a guy a year ago. We’re now sharing a house.” —as said by another Reddit user.
“The structure of the questions was appealing to me, but things broke apart in the end. I couldn’t get away from the idea that we were so dissimilar. I enjoyed conversing and having a script allowed me to unwind without having to engage in any unnecessary heavy-handed flirting small talk. But, at the same time, wasn’t the fact that I didn’t have to flirt a red flag? The same sexless reason I had loved answering the questions also highlighted the reality that I didn’t have a lot of physical chemistry in my system. The hardest part was when [the person with whom I did this] claimed he didn’t want to do the questions with anyone else.” Via Cosmopolitan —Carina Hsieh
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the 36 question game?
The 36 questions are divided into three groups, with the intensity of self-disclosure increasing gradually. Over the course of 90 minutes, the couple takes turns asking questions. So, if you’re going on your first date or want to increase the intimacy in your current relationship, give it a shot.
What is the most romantic question?
- What is one thing that I do that makes you feel truly loved?
- For you, what does the ideal date night entail?
- Which of my characteristics do you admire the most?
- What is one romantic meal you would want to have?
- Is there a particular type of music that “get you going”?