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13 Questions Leading to Love

MODERN LOVE

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  • In Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To
    Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” she refers
    to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron (and
    others) that explores whether intimacy between two
    strangers can be accelerated by having them ask
    each other a specific series of personal questions.
    The 36 questions in the study are broken up into
    three sets, with each set intended to be more
    probing than the previous one.

    The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters
    closeness. To quote the study’s authors, “One
    key pattern associated with the development of a
    close relationship among peers is sustained,
    escalating, reciprocal, personal
    self-disclosure.” Allowing oneself to be
    vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly
    difficult, so this exercise forces the issue.

    The final task Ms. Catron and her friend try —
    staring into each other’s eyes for four minutes
    — is less well documented, with the suggested
    duration ranging from two minutes to four. But Ms.
    Catron was unequivocal in her recommendation.
    “Two minutes is just enough to be terrified,”
    she told me. “Four really goes somewhere.”

    Set I

    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?

    Set II

    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?

    Set III

    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.

    Enrich your conversations to create happy, sexy love that lasts,

Hadley Finch

Claim a gift copy of my audiobook interviews of relationship success experts HappySexyLoveInRomanticRelationships.com

About Hadley Finch

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