I was once talking to my best friend and he asked me, “If you could gain one ability today, what would it be?” Back then, I didn’t know he was asking me one of the 36 questions that lead to love, so I treated it casually and said something silly in response. These questions, as I got to know later, can create connection and intimacy, even between two strangers.
The YouTube channel ‘Jubilee’ has a series called ‘Can Two Strangers Fall In Love With 36 Questions?’ Russell and Kera were brought together for a blind date. By the end of the video, the 36 questions that lead to love helped them create mutual comfort, intimacy, and a strong platonic friendship.
What Are The 36 Questions That Lead To Love?
Do you think a quiz can help you fall in love? Especially with someone you don’t know? That is the premise on which the ‘36 questions that lead to love’ is based. Popularized by a viral essay and a psychological study on intimate relationships, these questions are the new, innovative way of falling in love with a stranger or forming a meaningful bond with someone you might already be in a relationship with.
Ever since the study and its popularity from Mandy Len Catron’s New York Times essay ‘To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This’, these 36 questions have taken the world by a storm. Divided into three sections of 12 questions each, these are questions that create intimacy and a sense of familiarity even in complete strangers.
How the 36 questions that lead to love were created
In 1997, a psychological study was conducted by Dr. Arthur Aron and his colleagues on intimate relations. The logic behind the study was to observe how closeness with a person operates in the human brain and in human attitude, as well as how intimacy between two strangers could be accelerated. As an accessory to the study, Dr. Aron and his colleagues came up with 36 questions that would roughly take around 40-45 minutes to answer as a procedure for quickly creating closeness.
Dr. Aron carried out this test by presenting the questions to a heterosexual man and woman, both complete strangers to each other, and had them try out the questions along with 4 minutes of continued eye contact. The most startling result? The couple got married just 6 months later!
The way the 36 questions that lead to love have been designed is perhaps the most important factor in their success. They are premeditated in order to help people develop feelings of intimacy and be vulnerable with each other, which are key components of love. Each set gets more personal than the previous one, thus increasing intimacy between two people. Read on for the research behind the 36 questions that lead to love.
Related Reading: 11 Signs Of Magnetic Attraction Between Two People
The Research Behind The 36 Questions That Lead To Love
It seems incredible that a set of questions can lead to love. In an interview with a YouTube channel, The Statesman, Dr. Aron shares his thought process while creating the 36 questions that lead to love. He says that one of the three basics of this technique is “connecting by revealing personal stuff. It must not be too much too fast. ‘Too fast’ sort of puts them off. And it has to be both ways. So what we did is we came up with a set of questions that people ask each other that gradually escalate in personalness.
“It’s not very hard to answer [the early questions] but then they get more and more personal towards the end.” He adds, “It’s not so much about revealing personal stuff, it’s about the feeling that you are heard, it’s the responsiveness of the other person.”
It was found that vulnerability and self-disclosure played a major role in increasing likeness and intimacy. When the subjects of the research gradually moved down the list of the 36 questions that lead to love, from casual information to personal experiences and thoughts, it helped them form a closer bond. While the questions aren’t guaranteed to make you fall in love, the study shows that they have been adept at creating feelings of intimacy and understanding.
The ‘36 Questions That Lead To Love’ List
This technique of asking these questions to your significant other, or even to someone with whom you want to establish a connection, nudges you out of your comfort zone and subtly forces you to reveal things about yourself that you wouldn’t normally talk about. The questions are ingenious because they help people understand the importance of gradually exposing themselves to self-disclosure.
Related Reading: 9 Things That Happen When A Man Is Vulnerable With A Woman
So if you’re looking for questions that create intimacy or questions that lead to love even for people that don’t know how to have a conversation, here’s the complete list of the 36 questions that lead to love!
Set I of 36 questions that lead to love
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 of 36 questions that lead to love
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 of 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 of 36 questions that lead to love
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 them 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 they might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you on how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.
Related Reading: 15 Simple Ways To Make Her Fall In Love With You
Do The ‘36 Questions That Lead To Love’ Work For Couples?
The questions focus on important components of a person’s relationships, like their communication with their family, their friendships, how they perceive themselves, etc. The questions are also particularly helpful on a first date. After all, these are the questions that could lead to love for people that don’t know how to hold a conversation. This way, you talk about the things that actually matter and establish closeness instead of generating superficial chit-chat.
Gloria, a reader who has been in a relationship for 4 years, shared her experience. “My friend came across this article titled ‘questions to make him fall in love’. I personally thought it was clickbait but she persuaded me to try these out on my next date. I did, and what do you know! Shaun and I stayed in the restaurant for 5 hours, just talking and talking.
“And the best part was that these ‘questions to make him fall in love’ didn’t feel like separate entities in our conversation. After the first few, they evolved into queries that I genuinely wanted his answers to. That’s how it started, and look at us now.”
One thing in common among all the dates was that this technique helped bypass the perfunctory questions and answers, and the awkward and superficial part of getting to know someone. Be it platonic or romantic, all relationships require trust, intimacy, and the knowledge that this person likes you. That is what these 36 questions do, even for existing couples.
If the questions don’t guarantee love, what use are they?
The researchers who formulated the ’36 questions that lead to love’ technique clarify that the questions do not necessarily make you fall in love. Though some people have fallen in love in this process, others have formed a deep, platonic bond, and some have found a comfortable familiarity with strangers. The questions unlock vulnerability and genuineness.
Meaningful questions about friends and family help the other person know more about the intimate relationships in your life, and how much they matter to you. Other questions test how vulnerable and honest you can be with your partner, traits that are usually discovered later in a potential relationship. This creates a sense of comfort, trust, relatability, and intimacy.
Related Reading: 3 Ways To Improve Your Close Relationships
“There was a time when my husband and I had stopped communicating,” said Alexa who has been married for 10 years. “I had nearly lost all hope when he came to me one day with a printed sheet. Typed on it were 36 questions. I decided to humor him and we started going back and forth with the questions. They were an absolute godsend! Now, 5 years later, there is nothing we cannot talk about, all thanks to these 36 questions that lead to love. Because that day, I truly fell in love with him all over again.”
When it comes to trying the 36 questions that lead to love, Dr. Aron believes that it’s essential to take turns answering one question at a time. In an interview with Brides magazine, he shared, “If you reveal deep things to the other person, and then they reveal them to you, you feel safe about it. You are likely to be responsive because it’s going back and forth. This part is crucial.”
- In 1997, a psychological study was conducted by Dr. Arthur Aron and his colleagues to observe how closeness with a person operates in the human brain and in human attitude, as well as how intimacy between two strangers could be accelerated
- They formulated these 36 questions that lead to love, which create intimacy and a sense of familiarity even between complete strangers
- The 36 questions that lead to love help people understand the importance of gradually exposing themselves to self-disclosure
- The questions focus on different, important entities of a person’s life, like their relationship with their family, their friendships, how they perceive themselves, etc., and skip the superficiality of small talk that people generally indulge in
When it comes to the 36 questions that lead to love, it’s not exactly romantic love that is the end goal. Love can be of various types – romantic, platonic, or familial. The end result of the whole exercise is forming a deep connection. A connection that will transcend awkwardness and initial mistrust. If you can bond like that with someone with just 36 questions, why wouldn’t you?