Do your dates often end in pointless small talk? American researchers have come up with a method that allows strangers to develop a strong bond with each other already at the first meeting – by simply asking the right kind of questions.
Developing a close friendship or romantic relationship rarely happens quickly – unless you find a shortcut.
A form that creates intimacy
In 1997, the American psychologist Arthur Aron designed a form with the aim of investigating whether two strangers can develop a close relationship by asking each other a certain type of question. The theory was that close relationships arise after a mutual exchange of personal information – so what happens if you create the conditions for this with the help of a questionnaire?
Aron’s form consisted of 36 questions that gradually became more and more personal. According to Cosmopolitan Aron tested his thesis by bringing together a man and a woman who were asked to answer the questions together and then maintain uninterrupted eye contact for four minutes. The result? They married six months later.
While we can’t promise that you’ll marry the person you try the form with, we can (almost) guarantee that the questions will bring you closer than if you’d only engaged in casual conversation.
The questions are divided into three sections with each section containing questions of a more intimate nature than the previous one. This means that you can move on to the next section if the questions take too much time. Something to try on your next date?
1. If you could choose anyone in the whole world, who would you want as your dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? How?
3. Before a phone call, do you ever practice what to say? Why?
4. What would your “perfect” day look like?
5. When was the last time you sang to yourself? For someone else?
6. If you could live to be 90 years old with either the mind or the body of a 30-year-old, which would you choose?
7. Do you have a secret sense of how you will die?
8. Name three things that you and your partner seem to have in common.
9. What in your life are you most grateful for?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Spend four minutes telling your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow with a new ability or trait, what would it be?
13. If a crystal ball could reveal one truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you have dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest achievement of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most precious memory?
18. What is your worst memory?
19. If you knew you were going to die in a year, would you change anything in your life in any way? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Take turns sharing something you think is a positive quality in your partner. Share a total of five things.
23. How warm and close-knit is your family? Do you feel like your childhood was happier than most?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For example: “We are both in this room and feel…”
26. Name something you wish you could share with another person.
27. Name one thing that it would be important for your partner to know if you were to become close friends.
28. Tell about something you like about your partner. Be very honest this time – pick something you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share something embarrassing that happened in your life.
30. When was the last time you cried in front of another person? When was the last time you cried by yourself?
31. Name something you already like about your partner.
32. Is there any subject too serious to joke about? If so, what?
33. If you were to die tonight without having the opportunity to communicate with anyone else, what would you most regret not telling anyone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your home catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have the option to save an item. What would that be? Why?
35. Of all your family members, whose death would be most upsetting? Why?
36. Talk about a personal problem and ask your partner how he or she would handle it. Also ask your partner to tell you how you seem to feel about the problem.