Wondering what it takes to find love?
Well, research findings suggest that you could even do it in a laboratory with a stranger.
You just need to ask the right questions.
Let me explain…
The New York Times Quiz “36 Questions On The Way To Love” and Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay made headlines recently, sparking countless related articles and a widespread popular enquiry on the theme of closeness and love.
The Quiz — also available as a downloadable app for your iPhone or tablet — is based on a study on “The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness” conducted by Dr. Arthur Aron et al. more than 20 years ago.
Dr. Aron wasn’t specifically aiming to make people fall in love, but it appears he succeeded in doing so: one pair of strangers that took part in his experiment fell in love and ended up marrying six months later!
Mandy Len Catron tells the intriguing tale of how she, herself, tried out the experiment and… guess what? She fell in love with the man who agreed to try the experiment with her, someone she’d barely known before.
How is it done, then?
1. Get hold of The 36 Questions That Lead To Love or use the online quiz or mobile app.
2. Find a willing partner.
3. Take turns answering the three sets of questions, each set more probing.
Questions require more and more intimate disclosure, from “Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?” through to “How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?” and even “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?” You get the idea…
4. After you’ve answered all the questions, take 4 minutes to gaze into each other’s eyes — silently.
Provided your language skills are up to the task and both of you complete all the steps in earnest, you are guaranteed feelings of exceptional, magical intimacy, if not distinctly loving sentiments.
(It’s worth reading the original study and Dr. Elaine Aron’s — that’s the woman Dr. Arthur Aron fell in love with — back story to the New York Times Quiz to get a more rounded perspective, including the latest research direction on love, friendships, even couples’ relationships with other couples — fascinating stuff…)
The basic premise is that intimacy develops through “sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure”.
As Daniel Jones puts it, “mutual vulnerability fosters closeness.”
Isn’t it interesting, how vulnerable we feel when we share from our heart?
When we are honest and open about the things that really matter to us?
Have you given much thought to your core values?
Are you in touch with your deepest feelings, your worst fears and loftiest aspirations?
Do you communicate from a place of presence and self-awareness?
Do you share your true thoughts and feelings?
Are you worried about getting hurt, rejected, betrayed?
Do you think it might be embarrassing or that you might make the “wrong” impression?
Are you concerned about your partner’s reaction, if you show your true colours?
Typically, this kind of deep and open communication is one we engage in the least; and it’s exactly the kind of communication that enables the most loving connections.
Needless to say, this is not only relevant to singles looking to make new connections.
It’s just as crucial, possibly more so, in existing and longer-term relationships.
It’s often the case that partners in longer-term relationships don’t enjoy the kind of intimacy, nourishment and passion they secretly desire.
One major reason for this is poor communication and the progressive distancing and disconnection that inevitably ensue.
One thing I love about the 36 Questions Quiz is the final task:
after the verbal exchange, the partners are asked to look into each other’s eyes silently.
Space for presence.
The soul connection.
How wonderful that the classic Tantric practice of eye-gazing found its way into the Quiz!
If you’ve never experienced the practice, you may feel like Mandy (who clearly doesn’t lack courage):
“I’ve skied steep slopes and hung from a rock face by a short length of rope, but staring into someone’s eyes for four silent minutes was one of the more thrilling and terrifying experiences of my life.”
She was amply rewarded with a level of trust and intimacy that enabled love to flower.
The study, the experiment and Mandy’s story open up a big discussion:
Just how “pliable” is this thing we call “love”?
Is “being in love” something that happens to us?
Is it pure chance, destiny, or are we responsible for the experience?
How can we achieve and sustain loving intimacy?
What else is there to know about attraction, communication, successful relationships?
And what about that mystical, Soul aspect?
This is exactly the enquiry I invite you to dive into.
Whether you believe in Soul Mate Connections or not, there is an empathetic, heartening and soulful quality of closeness you CAN bring into your relationships.
Don’t take my word for it: check out Rebecca’s Soul Mate success story.
So, will you choose more love and intimacy in your life?
I’d love to hear from you!
What questions would you love to ask a potential partner?
What are the questions you’d rather avoid?
What is the one question you know you MUST ask next time you go on a date?
Look forward to your answers and please do comment and share below.
And if you’d like some more help finding (and keeping!) love, I’m here for you: start with a free Discovery session.
Or come to the next Soul Mate Connections workshop on Saturday, 28th May in London (W2).
An inspiring, insightful, soulful and fun day, focussing on attracting and enhancing closer partnerships and romantic relationships.