New York Times contributor Mandy Len Catron recently created buzz among singles and couples alike in her Modern Love essay “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This”. In her essay, Catron refers to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron that explores whether it’s possible to accelerate the intimacy between people by asking a series of 36 personal questions. The 36 questions are broken up into three sets, with each set consisting of more probing questions to elicit deeper reflection and responses. Catron tried this experiment herself with a stranger. She reveals at the end of the article that she later ended up marrying him. “We all have a narrative of ourselves that we offer up to strangers and acquaintances, but Dr. Aron’s questions make it impossible to rely on that narrative,” Catron says in her essay. Catron’s words remind me of some dating advice I took from Laurel House, a dating coach and former college roommate of mine. House suggests screwing the rules while dating to find the perfect partner. In Screwing the Rules: The No-Games Guide to Love, House says “the best way to create connection is to be open. Be revealing. Get raw. Talk about your core values and express who you are.” House’s first rule to screw is don’t reveal too much on the first date. I had terrible luck finding the right partner as a single mom until I started following House’s advice. This is why Aron’s love quiz makes sense to me. The sooner you get real and raw, the faster you’ll find the right person. This is how I ended up with my partner. We’ve been together for a few years now, but decided to take Aron’s quiz for fun. We went to one of our favorite bars and cozied up next to the fireplace with some cocktails and 36 questions on our iPhones. It took us about two hours to go through the questions. The final part of the process is to stare into your date’s eyes for a full four minutes. We left the bar for that awkward step. We didn’t learn anything shockingly new from one another, but the questions did lead to meaningful conversation and reconnecting.
It was a fun date, and staring into your partner’s eyes for four silent minutes is a powerful and intimate experience. Single parents will find Aron’s questionnaire helps them screw the rules and weed through mismatched partners faster. Couples will discover the 36 questions help them reconnect and deepen their relationship. If you’re looking to ditch the ordinary and crowds this Valentine’s Day, Aron’s 36 questions may just be the perfect date for you.
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