Relationships

Psychologists Say These 36 Questions Can Lead To Love And Increase Closeness In Couples

By Nicole Dominique
·  5 min read
Couples > Shutterstock

The “36 questions that lead to love” is a study done by a group of psychologists who wanted to improve intimacy and closeness in interpersonal relationships.

Back in 1997, psychologist Arthur Aron wanted to figure out how to get strangers to become close and intimate with each other. While articles may claim his exercise can lead anyone to “fall in love,” Aron writes that the 36 questions are a “practical methodology for creating closeness in an experimental context" – so while it may or may not help strangers fall in love immediately, it’s still a great tool to help you get closer to someone. In fact, the original study reported greater feelings of closeness between strangers who participated. Additional studies show that it helped undergraduates grow fonder of each other and they felt more socially integrated after the exercise.

So what do you have to do? Well, this exercise is incredibly simple, though you’ll definitely need an undisturbed 45 minutes with your person to be successful. And you don’t actually have to choose someone you want to fall in love with – this exercise can be used for anyone you want to get closer with, like friends and family members, not just romantic partners. Lastly, both individuals just need to answer each question honestly. Allow yourselves to be vulnerable with each other, and don’t be afraid to speak your mind. So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into the instructions:

  • There are three sets of questions. For 15 minutes, take turns answering the questions in Set I. When the 15 minutes are over, move on to Set II, then repeat the same process for Set III. 

  • When you’ve finished, sustain at least two minutes of prolonged eye contact. Actually, most articles suggest four minutes, but even I recognize how hard that might be for some people. However, if you can push it to four, you might just have better results! Good luck!

The 36 Questions That “Lead to Love”

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

  1. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else what would you want to know?

  2. Is there something that you've dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven't you done it?

  3. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

  4. What do you value most in a friendship?

  5. What is your most treasured memory?

  6. What is your most terrible memory?

  7. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

  8. What does friendship mean to you?

  9. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

  10. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner (the person you are dating). Share a total of 5 items.

  11. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people's?

  12. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Set III

  1. Make 3 true 'we' statements each. For instance, "We are both in this room feeling..."

  2. Complete this sentence: "I wish I had someone with whom I could share..."

  3. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

  4. 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.

  5. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

  6. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

  7. Tell your partner something that you love about them already.

  8. What if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

  9. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? What haven’t you told them yet?

  10. 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?

  11. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

  12. 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.

Last Step

Maintain four minutes of eye contact, and you're done!

Closing Thoughts 

These aren’t superficial questions. These questions are very personal, which forces people to open up to each other, to remove barriers that will allow for better (and stronger) connection. If you've been looking for a way to improve your marriage or relationship, give this exercise a try!

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