What Is This and How It Came about
Arthur Aron started on the journey of exploring possibilities of accelerating intimacy between strangers back in 1997. His work came to the public eye as part of a SUNY Stony Brook study, which proposed 36 questions to accomplish exactly the goal he was pursuing. Two people would need to sit down together and ask each other these carefully designed questions to form intimacy out of thin air.
Since the creation of this quiz, which many people consider to be miraculous, it’s rekindled the romance between many long-term couples. It’s common knowledge that there’s an unmatched feeling of excitement between two individuals when a relationship is in its beginning phases. That exhilarating feeling to try and impress your counterpart, and see them respond with the same energy, it’s all too addictive at the start.
Eventually, two people are bound to get used to each other over time. This quiz breaks that chain of repetition and usualness, and allows the couple to once again indulge in an exciting task together. It allows partners to explore deeply into each other’s personalities once again with each question, reminding them of how exciting their other halves can be. This inevitably makes the connection between them stronger, providing much-needed nourishment to the relationship.
The quiz consists of 36 questions only, which take a total of around 45 minutes to complete. Each question progressively becomes more and more personal and intense, as the couple dives deeper and deeper into it. It consists of three sets dividing the 36 questions equally into three parts; the last set being the deepest of the trio. Dr. Aron and his Wife Elain have themselves used this quiz to bond with other friends over dinner dates!
The 36 Questions
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.
Why People Say that It Works
A large portion of our waking hours gets spent communicating with other people. The possibilities of driving the conversation wherever you want are infinite, yet we never really take advantage of that. How often do you find yourself chatting to someone about your life goals or the fondest memories of childhood, or your deepest fears? Fact is, we never really let our guard down that low – depth in communication is hardly ever achieved in our normal life.
Our topic choices dance around the usual aspects of life; the pet peeves of public transport, complaining about the weather, or talking about weekend plans. This might keep you in your comfort zone, but also drives away endless possibilities of forming meaningful connections with the people you come across.
That’s the entire idea behind this quiz, to trigger mutual vulnerability between two people and to use that to foster closeness and a strengthened bond. Self-disclosure plays a huge part in developing a relationship and reaching deeper levels of correlation between two people.
That’s what questions are made of; each question is a request towards the other person to open up a bit more and let you in. When that happens mutually, the result is magical! By the time you reach the end of set 3 of this quiz, you’ll be conversing about the deepest aspects of your personality and thoughts. That’s what makes this work ever so effectively.
How to Try It Out
Experts suggest sitting reasonably close to each other, as the whole point of this exercise is to attain mutual closeness. Each participant should enter with the intent of achieving this goal, and leave out all judgements and fears aside. The way this works best is when both parties are open to share their thoughts with each other.
It’ll take 45 minutes to an hour, but time isn’t important here – let it flow as it does between the two of you. You’ll both be faced with one question at a time, and once one of you reads it out loud – both of you shall share your honest answers with each other. You’re free to discuss each other’s opinion and/or inquire the reasoning behind it out of curiosity. Once done, move to the second question and repeat.
Go through the slips, one at a time, without skipping any of them or changing their order. Answer questions and let your partner do the same – pay complete attention to each other during this exercise, with all electronic devices away from you to avoid distraction. Take turns reading out the questions out loud – the one who reads it out, answers it first.
At no point should you feel any sense of hurry to get through the questions or sets. Take as long as it takes, time is not of the essence here. What matters is undisturbed, clear, and honest conversation between the two participants. Let the conversation flow, neither hastening it, nor fearing silences.
You shall begin!
In 1997, Psychologist Arthur Aron came up with a simple yet effective quiz that has proved to be life changing for individuals and couples around the world. It’s got carefully drafted elements that focus on creating a direct bond between two people, and only takes less than an hour to complete. Its goal is to boost intimacy between strangers who are desperately looking for friendship, a relationship, romance, or even tying the eternal knot. In this article, we’ve gone through everything you need to know about it to essentially try it out – all the best!