Is it possible to fall in love with a stranger, just by asking them 36 questions? Possible, yes. Advisable? Probably not.
If I had done what this woman did on her first date, there would never have been a second one with the man I have now been with for 10 years. We would never have made a home together. We would never have had two children.
If I had done what this woman did on her first date, we would never have made it past dessert.
Today the Internet is talking about a beautiful essay by Mandy Len Cantron, who writes about how, on the first official date with a man she vaguely knew, she asked the 36 questions that are guaranteed to indicate exactly how compatible two people are.
The questions are well-known in psychology circles as the subject of an experiment carried out in 1997. Psychologist Athur Aron and his team devised a list that could be scientifically proven to form a bond between two strangers in a laboratory setting.
It’s a list that predicts compatability. It’s 36 questions that could make people fall in love. Or not..
Here’s a sample (the full list of questions is at the end of this post):
– Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
– Would you like to be famous? In what way?
– What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
In her story, Len Cantron doesn’t do the experiment in a lab, she does it, as many of us would on a first date, in a bar. But imagine, if you would, the horror of asking some of the more, um, personal questions, to a man you had just met, and were um, romantically interested in:
– When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
– 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?
– 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.
The list is absolutely fascinating. I want to rush home and go through it with my partner right now. I want to ask all my friends.
But, 10 years ago, when I went on for a Saturday afternoon drink with a man I sort of knew from work, if I had pulled that out and started going through it, I would have been home by 5pm.
Being the kind of guy who’s always up for something interesting, I think my date would have agreed, as Len Cantron’s did, so that wouldn’t have been the problem.
But he would have been bound to say something I deemed “stupid” or ” shallow”, like choose Jean Claude Van Damme as his dinner party guest, or confess that he wanted to be famous for winning the world air guitar championships (true story, people). His perfect day would definitely have included much, much beer.