If you could fall in love with anyone just by asking him or her 36 questions, would you do it?
That seems to be the question on every woman’s mind after a recent article in The New York Times’ “Modern Love” column. For those of you unfamiliar with the column, it is a weekly series about love written by everyday readers. This particular article, written by Mandy Len Catron, explores the idea of being able to fall in love with anyone by asking each other 36 questions.
Catron experienced this possibility over the summer after recalling an experiment done by psychologist Arthur Aron while she was on a date. In Dr. Aron’s study, he explored the possibility of making any two people fall in love with each other by having them take turns answering 36 progressively personal questions then staring into each other’s eyes for four minutes. The questions are broken up into three sets with every question getting more and more personal as the list goes on. Questions like “If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?” or “What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?” are designed to speed along the comfortability and intimacy levels shared between the two individuals.
The true key to the experiment is the openness between the two individuals. Catron writes, “I see now that one neither suggests nor agrees to try an experiment designed to create romantic love if one isn’t open to this happening.” I don’t want to say I’m skeptical of the whole thing, but as a college student surrounded by a hookup culture, the words ‘relationship’ and ‘love’ usually get lost.
Let’s face it, more than likely a typical college student isn’t going to sit down on a first date and say, “Hey! I know we just met, but let’s ask each other 36 deeply personal questions to get to a higher level of intimacy quickly so we can see if we have any attraction to each other and not waste each other’s time. Sound good?” As Catron stresses, it’s all about what the two of you want. Maybe I’m just being old fashioned and a helpless romantic, but shouldn’t there be some type of love questionnaire for college students wanting to reach that level of intimacy without being intimate in that way?
So how do you get college students to answer this probing questionnaire? Or better yet, how do you make a version of this deeply personal questionnaire for college students? I haven’t come up with answers to these questions yet, and maybe that’s a sign that there isn’t an answer. After all, love is something universal that comes in many forms. Sure, people can create experiments and try to make two people fall in love, but the bottom line is those people are going to fall in love because they want to, not because someone makes them. We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t choose who you fall in love with,” but you do. You fall for people with a similar lifestyle or attractive personality traits. The same goes for just hooking up. Whether it’s based on attraction, availability, lifestyle, etc., you choose that person based on some factor.
So maybe you don’t really need a questionnaire, just an open mind.