36 Questions To Fall in Love went viral, but does it work?

36 Questions To Fall in Love went viral, but does it work?

36 Questions To Fall in Love went viral, but does it work?

By now you have probably heard that there are 36 questions to fall in love with anyone. This idea was given a public platform January 9, 2015, in a New York Times article titled, To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This, by Mandy Len Catron. This idea went viral. It’s not surprising in our culture of quick fixes and fast solutions, that a 36-Question guarantee to fall in love would spread like wildfire. Who wouldn’t want to have that sort of love potion, with ingredients accessible to every last one of us…by simply asking 36 questions to fall in love, or make someone fall in love with us.

If you missed the original article by Mandy Len Catron, here’s a brief backstory that will help put this in perspective. In the article, Catron explained that she would occasionally run into a “university acquaintance” while at the climbing gym. In one of her random encounters with the climbing-gym-aquaintance, the two struck up a conversation. To her readers, she confessed to having had a pre-existing curiosity about him, saying she wondered, “what if?” after having “a glimpse into his days on Instagram.”

Wittingly, Catron found a way to weave into her conversation with this fellow-climber, a story about a research study she had read by Dr. Arthur Aron. The study, she explained to him, “tried making people fall in love” by having research participants ask and answer 36 questions. This study was published in 1997, and it is the original home of the 36 Questions to Fall in Love. Next she explained to fellow-climber, “I’ve always wanted to try it.”  Now, I don’t know about you, but I consider this some pretty advanced-level flirting. I’m impressed.

Predictably, fellow-climber-guy took the bait, and responded by suggesting that they try the questions together. They met at a local bar over drinks. With iPhone in hand, Mandy cued up the 36 questions, and they passed the phone back and forth, taking turns answering each one. By design, the questions progress from less revealing to more and more personal. Clearly, doing this experiment over drinks at a bar, with someone you have an existing curiosity about, is significantly different than the lab research by Dr. Aron.  However, the spirit of the research is kept alive, as Catron observes, “We all have a narrative of ourselves that we offer up to strangers and acquaintances, but Dr. Aron’s questions make it impossible to rely on that narrative.” She alludes to how the questions forced her out of her safe zone where she could manage how she was being perceived, and took her into territories that required greater vulnerability.  As the questions intensify, the road ahead becomes less familiar, and this 36 questions adventure invites more and more self-disclosure.

Taking much longer than the 45 minutes allotted for Dr. Aron’s research participants, Catron and her climber-guy decide to do a suggested activity involving 4 silent minutes of eye contact with one another at the conclusion of asking and answering all 36 questions. Preferring more privacy than the bar allowed, they decide to walk to a nearby bridge, stand on the highest point, and exchange four minutes of silent eye contact. As Catron brings her story to a close, she reveals that she and climber-guy started dating after that night, and as of last report, they are still dating.

While it’s a more fun to think Cupid’s arrow was built with these 36 Questions, a quick look at the facts tells us we are going to need more than 36 questions to fall in love (and though I have 1,000 more questions if you wish to ask them, I’m not talking about more questions. There are great lessons we can learn from Catron, though, about how we can effectively improve our own search for love, as well as our efforts to nourish the love we have. What strikes me as important pieces of Catron and fellow-climber-now-boyfriend’s love story are these things:

  • Curiosity.  This is how all real connection begins – having an interest in someone.
  • Reciprocation.  When curiosity is reciprocated, the potential for a spark exists. It doesn’t work if it’s only one-way.
  • Vulnerability.  This is the risk-taking part, that opens us to hurt, yet also forms a foundation of trust and intimacy for a relationship to grow.
  • Take action.  To build love we must do something.  Love isn’t a thing we have, it’s a thing we do – so to find it, grow it, and maintain it, we must take action.  Love is a practice that never ends, because love is the practice and the practice is the love.36 questions to fall in love

If you want to be an epic sparkster (spark starter) like Catron, here’s a challenge that will give you the perfect opportunity to take a risk to get to know someone better (or to better your knowing of someone you love) – THE 36 QUESTIONS CHALLENGE.

Speaking of practicing love, this recent Style video from the New York Times Modern Love video series, is a perfect ending to this post. Enjoy this quick video that highlights three long-term couples who ask one another the 36 questions to fall in love. Their experiences are captured in this touching video. You will see the unfolding of exactly how curiosity and vulnerability combine to make the perfect intimacy cocktail, and their answers highlight the fact that love is a practice, a thing we do.

 

The 36 Questions Challenge

The 36 Questions Challenge

The 36 Questions Challenge

The 36 Questions Challenge is an invitation to connect to someone… to anyone.  These are the same 36 Questions that went viral in 2015 after Mandy Len Catron shared a story about how her and her now boyfriend, used these 36 questions as an experiment, and they fell in love.  While there are no promises that you will fall in love, the odds are really, really high that you will feel significantly closer to any person with whom you do this exercise.

THE 36 QUESTIONS CHALLENGE

Give it a try… what do you have to lose?

Suggestions for how to use this 4 minute video of The 36 Questions Challenge:

  1. Invite someone you have a crush on to take the 36 Questions challenge with you. You can do this in person or online.  (Yes, I’ve made it easy for you to duplicate the clever strategy used by Mandy Len Catron).
  2. Bring this up with a group of friends and pass the questions in a circle, with each answering one then passing to the next person to ask a question, then the next, until all 36 questions are answered by someone.
  3. Exchange these questions with your current partner to see how up-to-date you are on her!
  4. Use this at your next family gathering to generate some fun and create some meaningful conversation.
  5. Try this out on a stranger – maybe you have layover at the airport and time to kill, take a risk and invite a stranger to do the 36 questions challenge with you.

 

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THE CHALLENGE VIDEO

Happy curiosity to you and your question-partner.

Wishing you much closeness and connection, and may you see and be seen, know and be known, love and be loved.

5 More Love Languages

5 More Love Languages

Five More Love Languages

Reflections by Michele O’Mara

I consider the five love languages, described by Gary Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages, to be essential reading for all couples. Yet, something is missing.  Read on to learn about five more languages that will help you communicate love.

I am a big fan of the five love languages. I actually used these five languages to honor my dad’s life when I spoke at his funeral (which you can read about here), However, I am often left feeling like something is missing from this universally-used handbook for understanding how to communicate love in a way that works.

It’s as if the five love languages offer wonderful ingredients (touch, gifts, service, words and time) and even insights about how to recognize which ones to use, and when, but there is still something missing.  Sometimes, you can speak the precise language your partner has taught you to speak, yet without the right dialect, it’s as if the message does not seem to register.  It’s no different, I suppose, then having all of the right ingredients for the perfect dish, yet the end product will vary greatly, depending on how much of each ingredient you use, when and how you include them, the temperature and cooking technique used, and on and on.

We can have all of our favorite foods, (or languages of love, in this case) but ultimately, it is a certain experience we are desiring – not the actual behavior.  What we are most interested in is feeling a certain way, just as we want our food to taste a certain way.  To simply touch her, talk to her, do things for her, spend time with her, or give her gifts – these feel like ingredients that are designed to create a feeling, to communicate love. Without the heat, the food isn’t cooked.  Without patience or timing, the food can burn or be undercooked. Without balance, the taste can be overbearing or underwhelming. Just as, when we behave in certain ways, the separate ingredients used to communicate love, whether we touch, talk to, do for, give to, or be with her, we may need heat, we need spice, we need timing, patience, and balance.

When I think about the most powerful language of love, I think of energy. love languagesFood is energy.  People are energy.  Love is energy. This energy is part of who we are.  Therefore, the language of love has to do with how we treat, manage, hold, express and exchange this love-energy, and how we mix and blend this love-energy with the others.

I posted a quote on social media recently with the quote that speaks to this, from a book called, The Tao of Relationships by Ray Grigg.   I’ll include a fresh version here.

Ultimately, we partner to feel a certain way.

Because of this, I believe, rather than asking how to feel loved (by way of a particular behavior), it is first useful to understand what being loved actually feels like to you.

What is the feeling you hope to experience by being in love with another?

It isn’t the action, the gift, the words, or the touch that we crave, it’s how we anticipate those things will make us feel that we desire. It isn’t the clean house, or the heartfelt card, or the passionate kiss, it’s the way these things make us feel.

Therefore, the important question to ask the one you love is:

“How do you want to feel?” and “What makes you feel that way?”

For example, I want to feel understood, accepted, alive, inspired, worthy, playful and connected.  What makes me feel this way is not easily found in the five love languages. The ultimate way to feel love for me is less about these tangible things (words, gifts, time, service, and touch) and more about being known, sensing that she “get’s me,” and feeling accepted, and I need to experience the positive energetic and chemical connection that can only be felt, not described.

The magic of love is that it’s experienced so intensely, it can inspire and fulfill dreams, create hope, give birth to, and save, lives, soothe the soul, and so much more. Yet we can not see it, the actual love itself – this powerful force, this indescribable ingredient. We only see what it can do. As with energy, we do not see the energy itself.  We see the shape it takes and how it is used.

Just as energy is inseparable from who we are, love is inseparable from the lover, the one who loves. I’ve come to see love as a part of the actual energy that makes us who we are. Just as we can not see the energy of who we are, we can see the physical form that the energy makes, and yet, the energy is more than what we see, and can be experienced without words or labels.  Love is a kind of energy.  Love is energy that can be expanded or contracted, grown or diminished.  Another question, (I do like my questions), is:

“How can we grow love?”

I think if I were to write the book, 5 More Languages of Love, I would describe these languages as personality characteristics; these languages are a part of the person, not a thing they do.  I would use the 5 Languages to describe the lover, the one who holds the energy of love, and how that love is experienced, expressed and grown.  Because there is no one way to love or feel loved, we all end up being responsible for teaching others how to speak our unique language of love.  After some thought, here is the dialect of my personal language of love.  I hope by reading this, you are inspired to consider your own language, as well as the languages of those you love.

For me, the most powerful love languages are less about what you do, and more about who you are, how you are, and the way you express the energy of love.  

The following five characteristics of love, speak most clearly to me:

CURIOSITY

To me, curiosity is the engine of love.  It encourages engagement, sparks interest, and fuels an active desire to know and understand the one you love.  Curiosity is an openness to one another that does not base understanding on assumptions, stories, or projections.  Curiosity communicates desire. Curiosity says, “You interest me, and I want to know you.”

ALLOWINGlove languages

Allowing creates the feeling of acceptance.  Allowing is not permission to misbehave, it is permission to simply be who you are; all of who you are, without fear that you will be judged, criticized, rejected or otherwise disconnected because of who you are.

Allowing is how I imagine the sky is to clouds.  The sky seems so graceful and accepting of whatever the clouds may do – always a steady backdrop, creating room for what unfolds, and never can I imagine a time when the sky would say to the clouds, “you look a little too puffy today.”

FORGIVENESS

Because we are human, we are certain to make mistakes.  Forgiving is the safety net of love.  It is like a trampoline of sorts, offering a kind landing if we should falter, and just enough oomph to help us back up.  To be forgiving is to ensure there is enough wiggle room to make mistakes, learn how to do it better next time, and feel better for having had the opportunity to learn.

KINDNESS

The sentiment I am trying to capture here is hard to put into just one word – it’s probably a concept that does not yet have a word, and yet it’s one of the most important languages to me.  I feel most loved when I am in a positive, kind, playful, environment with laughter, silliness, vulnerability, and ease. It’s an energy, for sure, and like love, it’s much easier to feel than it is to describe. There is some way that energy speaks louder than actions, and for me to feel love, that energy needs to be positive and kind.

The one ingredient that seems to capture the essence of this part of love languages for me is a basic human kindness. Kindness is the sort of energetic vibration that radiates out to all beings, and it is consistent and true. Where there is kindness, oxygen seems to fill my lungs more easily, interactions go more smoothly.  

Kindness is a form of gratitude, a gentle appreciation for all that is good by tending to the energy we pour into the world around us; a sensitivity to and appreciation for, the power of our own energy’s effect on those around us. Kindness allows us to breathe in hopefully and exhale peacefully. To feel loved, I need to experience a sincere sense of kindness in the company of the one I love. It is not enough that I sense their kindness toward me; trusting this love means I see this same kindness directed to others.  It is a way of being in the world, a part of who you are.

TRUTH (AUTHENTICITY)

For some, the sentiment I’m reaching for here is talked about in terms of loyalty, fidelity, honesty, or even commitment. While related, they are not the same.  To me, the characteristic of being true means that you are true to yourself, that you know and understand and love yourself, TRUTH IS ABOUT AUTHENTICITY.  In the words of Oriah Mountain Dreamer, “I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.”  When you are true to yourself, I know you can be true to me. The feeling this provides is safety and security.  If you know yourself, and you know how you feel, and it is deeply true to who you are, then I can trust that when you extend your love to me, it is true.  This gives me the feeling that, no matter what happens, I am safe with you.  The emphasis isn’t on ensuring that you stay, or knowing that you’ll never lie to me.  The emphasis is on knowing that you will live a life that is true to who you really are and that your first commitment is to you so that the you I think is loving me, is the you to whom you are most true.

Healthy Relationship Goals Examples and Checklist

Five Key Areas of Relationship Success and Healthy Relationship Goals Examples

 

The Gottman Relationship Checkup is a 480 question, online assessment created by Dr’s John and Julie Gottman.  With 40+ years of extensive scientific research on what makes relationships succeed, the Gottman’s have created a Relationship Checkup tool to examine in detail the five key areas of relationship success, and under each category are related relationship goals examples.

 

The major categories of importance for a healthy relationship according to scientific Gottman-based research.  (Also, relationship goals examples)

 

Section 1: How strong is your friendship and intimacy?

  • We feel satisfied with our relationship.
  • We feel secure in our commitment to one another, without the fear of abandonment or being left.
  • We feel equally known by one another.
  • We share a mutual fondness and admiration for one another.
  • We show interest in one another and enjoy one another’s company.
  • We enjoy a satisfying and romantic connection.
  • We have satisfying sex and enjoy connecting sexually.
  • We connect sexually at a frequency that works well for both of us.
  • We feel a part of a team, united and do not suffer from loneliness.

Section 2: How does it feel to be in your relationship?

  • We know what to predict from one another and we feel safe in our relationship.
  • We share a mutual trust for one another and believe the other has our back.
  • We are equally committed to our relationship.
  • We are comfortable with one another’s emotions and have a shared desire to be a supportive comfort when one of us is not feeling emotionally or physically well.

Section 3: How well do you manage conflict?

  • Our conflict is something we do not fear because we know we have the skills to manage whatever disagreements arise.
  • We are capable of delaying conflicts interactions until we are in a safe and appropriate setting to properly address the concerns at hand.
  • We feel respected and heard when we experience a disagreement.  Neither of us feels overwhelmed or frozen with fear or the inability to think and speak, during a disagreement.
  • We value one another’s opinions and believe that we are heard by one another.
  • We are willing to compromise.
  • We manage our negative emotions and protect our relationship from negativity toward ourselves and one another.
  • When we experience a conflict, we find ways to understand one another and make peace with our differences of opinion.  We are able to repair our connection and let the conflict go for good.
  • We feel emotionally connected.
  • We accept that stress is a part of life, and we support one another by seeking to make life easier for each other.
  • We maintain healthy boundaries between our relationship and the relationships we share with friends, extended family, work and other relationships.
  • We appreciate the importance of our mutual independence, and we do not place limits on one another that stems from insecurity.
  • We are faithful and honest.
  • We share basic values and goals.
  • We are equitable with household chores and child responsibilities.
  • We are in agreement with our financial decisions.
  • We experience joy, laughter, and fun together.
  • Our spirituality, religion and ethics are in alignment.
  • We agree on issues related to parenthood.
  • We manage distressing events as a team, supporting one another rather than turning against one another.
  • We resolve issues rather than keeping them alive.  We accept that some differences will remain, and we allow this rather than continue working to “change,” the other.

Section 4:  Are you headed in the same direction?

  • We have rituals that help us stay connected.
  • We respect one another’s personal and life goals and desire to assist one another in reaching them, while also nurturing our shared goals.

Section 5: Individual Areas of Concern

  • Neither of us abuse drugs or alcohol
  • We are emotionally stable and free of any self-harming thoughts.
  • We are safe with one another, both physically and emotionally.
  • We feel a sense of personal freedom without the threat of emotional or physical threat or harm.
  • We feel supported and encouraged, not degraded or criticized.
  • Sex is a positive thing in our relationship.
  • We do not experience any property damage when we disagree.
  • We are physically healthy and free of chronic health concerns.
  • We experience positive thoughts and feelings about one another and our relationship.
  • We are confident in ourselves and secure that we are viewed positively and well by others.
  • We are emotionally stable and at peace in our skin.
  • We are free of anxiety, depression, and anger.
  • We do not experience disabling fears or phobias.
  • Fears and Phobias
  • Do You Worry about What Others Think?
  • Our thoughts are clear and helpful.
  • We have normal appetites, neither over or under-eating.
  • We fall asleep easily, sleep well, and awake easily in the morning.
  • We are not focused on death or dying.
  • We are free of guilt

 

How do you rate with these relationship goals examples and checklist? To do the thorough Relationship Checkup and receive a detailed report with suggestions about how to improve the health of your relationship go here.

 

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Strategy 13 – A Happy Relationship is a Team

Strategy 13 – A Happy Relationship is a Team

Is your relationship happy?  Is it a team sport?

Just like any successful team, a happy relationship is a team sport.  A happy relationship requires that each partner function as a team.  This means that each partner has to take care of her
self and develop personal skills and abilities to continually make meaningful contributions to the team. happy, relationship, team

When you partner in life, you are teaming up with another person to achieve a very important goal. Your relationship team’s goal is simple: to help yourself, and your partner, become your best selves possible.

When you decide to invest yourself with another in a shared, intangible entity called a relationship, both you and your partner are impacted by the choices you each make. Just as a team either wins or loses, one partner can not win if the other loses, so the goal is not “who is going to win,” in a happy lesbian relationship, the goal is, “how are we both going to win?”

Schedule Lesbian, Gay, or Heterosexual Couples Counseling Here

Happy Lesbian Couples Strategy 11:  Show Respect Lesbian Couples

Happy Lesbian Couples Strategy 11: Show Respect Lesbian Couples

Happy Lesbian Couples show respect to their partners.

Respect is a fundamental ingredient in all happy relationships.

To show respect is the ultimate form of gratitude. Respecting your partner at all times is an act of love and gratitude. Respect is honoring your partner at all times—not just when you feel good about her.show respect

Respect shows up in happy lesbian couples when you appreciation, it says, “I admire you,” a
ou matter, and you are worth a lot to me.”

Respect is doing what you say you are going to do.  Happy lesbian couples  behave the same way in their partner’s presence as she does in her absence.  They are consistent, reliable, accountable to one another, and happy lesbian couples know that their love will only grow from truth, kindness and understanding.

Respect says, you are worthy, just as you are and I don’t need you to change a thing.  It says, I have your back, and I am grateful and honored to choose you, and to be chosen by you.

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