That title looks copied from so many Tumblr posts. Or Pinterest posts. Or women’s magazines. Or teen quiz sites. I actually copied it from the New YorkTimes. A respectable source but I’m copying it because I’m intrigued with what the article had to say. I’m not endorsing that these 36 questions will actually lead to love. I’m endorsing that these 36 questions purposely develop mutual vulnerability which leads to closeness. And you know we are all about vulnerability here at Bravester.
These 36 questions all come from behavioral science. A doctor, Dr. Arthur Aron, came up with these 36 questions for a study he did on creating closeness in an experimental context. Yes, this is all science “labby” which feels clinical and sterile. And love does not feel like a science experiment. Or does it with all the chemical reactions inside of us?
The instructions are to answer these 36 questions together and then purposely stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes. Four complete minutes, not a second less.
The author of the New York Times article had this to say when she tried the experiment: “I liked learning about myself through my answers, but I liked learning things about him even more.” That sounds like Brave Dating to me. (Brave Dating is dating to discover who you are. The result of this learning process will then lead you to a good match to give you that love for a lifetime you desire.)
So here are those 36 questions. I pass on this scientific resource with some stipulations. This is not magic. This is not going to turn your new relationship into a permanent one. This should not be overused as a screen to interview dates. Just store this as a resource to use one day.
And the New York Times conveniently turned these questions into an app for you. You can store this on your phone for that one day.
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.
Did you notice the vulnerability level slowly increasing with each question? This is why you don’t want to overuse this tool.
And when you decide to use this resource, don’t forget to finish off with the four minutes of staring uninterrupted into each other’s eyes. This is another level of vulnerability. Be brave.