Insights: 36 Questions

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In 1997, psychologist Arthur Aron experimented with how to make two people fall in love with each other in an hour. He actually succeeded.

How did Aron do this?

He found that if he asked 36 specific questions to two strangers and had them answer honestly, by the end of an hour they would have strong feelings towards each other.

After the 36 questions were answered, Aron had each person stare into the other’s eyes for four minutes, in silence.

If it is so easy to fall in love, why then do we have such a difficult time holding relationships?

When we stop asking each other questions, stop being curious about each other, and stop looking at each other, our attachment declines.

Couples can have very busy lives and a lot of stress, but as long as they work on their connection, their relationships will stay strong.

Aron stated that researchers found that the single biggest predictor of human happiness is “the quality of [a person’s] relationships.”

People who have healthy relationships also have a stronger immune system, leading to better health and happiness.

Here are the 36 questions. I encourage you to take the time to ask someone in your life one, two or more of these questions each week.

  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 phone call, do you ever rehearse what you’re 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 choose?
  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 you partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
  12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
  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 dreamt 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 loveand affection play in your life?
  22. Alternate sharing 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 childhoodwas happier than most other people’s?
  24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
  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 him or her to know.
  28. Tell your partner what you like about them: be 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 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.

Once you ask and answer your questions, take time to look at the other person straight in their eyes for four minutes, and see what happens to your relationship.

Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at DrZavala.com or [email protected]

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