In 1997, State University of New York psychologist Arthur Aron tested the idea that two people who were willing to feel more connected to each other could do so, even within a short time. The experiment is featured prominently in a recent Modern Love column in The New York Times, in which the author pointed to the questions as the springboard into her own romance. For his study, Arthur Aron separated two groups of people, then paired people up within their groups and had them chat with one another for 45 minutes. While the first group of pairs spent the 45 minutes engaging in small talk, the second group got a list of questions that gradually grew more intimate.
Not surprisingly, the pairs who asked the gradually more probing questions felt closer and more connected after the 45 minutes were up. Six months later, two of the participants (a tiny fraction of the original study group) even found themselves in love — an intriguing result.
As we all know, there is a huge difference between engaging in a conversation and conversing. In fact in the December’s issue of ViTRINE, we’ve listed 10 questions that will prompt us to listen generously to our house guests. The era o smart phones and gadget have led many of us to ‘look outward’. If there’s anything we should do more as a society it is to engage in more intimate conversations with our friends, neighbours, relatives, and partners. Love can be cultivated, and it is cultivated through sincerity and intimacy. Listening and engaging in a conversation is a start to identifying with the speaker’s fears, struggles and happiness. With the ongoing social chaos, the need for intimate conversations rather than slogans, social media hash tags, and placards is imminent.
Can we build a more peaceful and loving community in a microscopic way using these questions from Arthur Aron? Why not try today and find out?
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.
ViTRINE is a slo-lifestyle monthly published by slow-fashion accessory label 72 Smalldive. The monthly blog reports on lifestyle matters and events related to the label’s philosophy of slow living. The blog also endeavours to support and report on independent creatives and events that are aligned its readers’ aspired lifestyle. For content, advertorial, and collaborative matters, please fill up our inquiry form.