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In 2015, Mandy Len Catron published a popular article in the New York Times titled 36 Questions That Lead To Love. Drawing upon research carried out by psychologists Elaine and Arthur Aron in the 1990s, Catron posed the following hypothesis: could asking a series of questions to a potential new partner lead to love? The set of questions Catron drew upon were developed and designed by researchers to see if two sets of strangers could, theoretically, develop an important connection simply from asking one another a series of questions designed to increase intimacy. The kicker? Catron went on to marry the acquaintance she trialed the experiment on!

Whether you think all of this is BS or you’re totally impressed, it’s been 25 years since Arons’ study was first published, and these 36 questions are still going strong. In fact, this series of questions are often recommended by therapists as a way to not only get to know someone new, but as a tool to rekindle relationships.

In long term couples who are convinced they know everything about one another, these questions have been found to help uncover new insight and even lead some to say they have fallen in love all over again!

The questions are divided into three sections, designed to increase opportunities for intimacy over the course of the questions! Starting with light-hearted ice-breakers, Aron’s questions move to more intense topics that open opportunities for disclosure and vulnerability.

So, if you’re looking to reconnect, or need some inspiration for getting to know someone new, why not give these a go. For those that always ‘skip to the good bit’, follow the rules! Start with set one and go from there. You don’t have to get through all of them in one night either, so take your time and really listen to what your question comrade is communicating.

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?

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 dreamed 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 love and 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 childhood was 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 very 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.

Close up of Woman in Shirt and Coat Sitting with Wine Glass
Intimacy and pleasure

Intentional Intimacy

Lauren Redfern Lauren RedfernFebruary 1, 2024

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