We’re not just giving you a random list. These are proven to work!
By Dr. Lucy Brown, PhD & Dr. Helen Fisher
Last updated on Oct 30, 2023
Medically reviewed by Marni Feuerman, LCSW, LMFT, MSW, PsyD
Photo: Gpoint Studio
Researchers tested a theory: asking a specific series of 36 questions could induce feelings of closeness or connection — because “the development of a close relationship is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.”
Do The “36 Questions To Fall In Love” Work?
The researchers were partially successful. It turns out that many people have used the questions to increase closeness in a current relationship.
They also had fun doing it! Want to try it for yourself?
The series of questions appeared in the New York Times Modern Love section under the title To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This, written by Mandy Len Catron.
It worked for her. She fell in love with someone she barely knew beforehand.
That’s because you can turn the questions into a conversation, and building conversations in which you not only learn more about one another — but develop a vested interest in the other person — builds relationships.
It’s not always easy to start or maintain a conversation, however, especially an intimate one.
Ever been on a date where the most lively discussion was going on between the crickets? We’ve all been there.
Not only do these questions ignite and help continue to stoke the fire of a conversation with the hot guy from Hinge who you’re meeting for the first time, these questions in particular are also the best ones for really getting to know them on a much deeper, personal and intimate level that will set you on the course toward falling in love.
What are the 36 questions to fall in love?
The questions used in this experiment are listed below.
Directions: Partners should alternate asking the questions. The person who asks the question answers first. At the end, look into each others’ eyes for 2-4 minutes. As Catron says, “Two minutes is just enough to be terrified. Four really goes somewhere.” It may take an hour or more to get through them all.
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.
Of course, as Mandy Len Catron explains, falling in love, well, that’s the easy part. And she couldn’t be more right!
The Anatomy of Love is a collaboration between Lucy Brown, PhD and Helen Fisher PhD, a biological anthropologist and Senior Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute and Chief Scientific Advisor to the dating site Match.
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This article was originally published at The Anatomy Of Love. Reprinted with permission from the author.