Arthur Aron famously developed these 36 questions to bring people closer together in 1997. It went viral 20 years later when the New York Times published it as “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This”. Although there are varying claims to its effectiveness (and ineffectiveness), the questions can be a fun way to learn more about a partner, friend or family member. They come in 3 sets. Each set is intended to make each of you more vulnerable. The sets are progressively more probing questions. The final task of Set 3 is staring into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes. You could skip this set if it is too awkward, but give it a go, keep it fun and you are likely to learn a lot about yourself.
Printable .pdf 36 Questions to Bring You Closer Together
Tip 1: Alternate who answers first, so you don’t feel self-conscious after hearing the other persons much more eloquent response.
Tip 2: Keep it light – you don’t have to do them all in one sitting.
- Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
- Would you like to be famous? In what way?
- Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you’re going to say? Why?
- What would constitute a perfect day for you?
- When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
- 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 choose?
- Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
- Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
- For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
- If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
- Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
- If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
- If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
- Is there something that you’ve dreamt of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
- What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
- What do you value most in a friendship?
- What is your most treasured memory?
- What is your most terrible memory?
- If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
- What does friendship mean to you?
- What roles do love and affection play in your life?
- Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
- How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s
- How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
- Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “we are both in this room feeling…”
- Complete this sentence “I wish I had someone with whom I could share…”
- If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
- Tell your partner what you like about them: be honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
- Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
- When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
- Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
- What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
- 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?
- 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?
- Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
- 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.
Final task/suggestion: Stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes
If doing this makes you nervous, how about memorising a few to use as conversation starters. Variations include:
- If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
- If you could live one day over and over again, what would you choose to do?
- What can you not live without the most?
- What is one thing you always wanted as a kid, but never got?
- What is the nicest thing someone else has done for you?
- Would you be willing to have horrible nightmares for a year if you would be rewarded with extraordinary wealth?
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EMDR therapy in Sydney
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