The 36 Questions Experiment
The 36 Questions That Lead to Love was created by Arthur Aron, a psychology professor at SUNY Stony Brook, in 1997. Aron and his wife had been fascinated in studying love ever since they shared their first kiss. This resulted in a set of questions they developed that they believed could cause two strangers to fall in love. While the results of their study are inconclusive, 36 Questions took the United States by storm when The New York Times wrote about it in 2015. Since then, Aron’s hypothesis has been seen throughout pop culture.
While originally created to start a romantic relationship between two people, Aron has said that any two people can answer these questions together and cultivate a stronger bond. So, we decided that two best friends can do this together. While we already have a close friendship, we thought we’d give this a try and then write about the experience.
How to Start
To start, make sure you’re doing this with someone who consents to answer all answers honestly. Also, make sure that you two are in a private and quiet place. You don’t want to be interrupted.
The next step is to pull up the questions. While these can be found on Google, we recommend using this link. It takes you through each question one by one and clearly states the rules before starting. Make sure you follow the rules and don’t skip ahead. The timing can fluctuate based on how long it takes to answer each question.
The questions start out easier and get more personal as you go. Be prepared to have some deep and meaningful conversations along the way. We found some of the questions to be fun, while others are thought provoking.
We’ll start out by saying that we were open to this experiment because of how close we are. It’s designed to be between two strangers, which neither of us would probably be comfortable with. Sure, it’s an option to play it on a first date or with someone you just met, it’s just hard to discuss some of your most personal memories with a stranger.
The 36 Questions test may not be the best way to tell exactly how well you and your partner would get along, but it is a great way to find out a lot about the person. You can learn what they value and fear most. You can learn what their regrets are and their memories and experiences, both good and bad, that made them who they are.
When we did this a few months ago, we laughed and teared up, all in the span of a few minutes. While we knew some of the answers for the other person already, these questions had us dive deeper and share some unexpected feelings. These questions can even make you surprise yourself, especially if you’ve never thought about these topics before.
The process itself is emotionally cathartic. Some questions might take you some time to answer because of the difficulty. However, we felt like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders at the end. It truly did bring us closer together and we love sharing this experience for the first time together.
We recommend this for established friendships and couples. It’s something unusual that will help grow your connection. The experiment itself was designed to engineer love and we remain skeptical about that. If you’re open to playing this with a stranger or have done so in the past, please let us know. We’d love to see how it worked. In the meantime, you can watch people answering these questions on YouTube to get a feel for it.
Would you play 36 Questions? Please let us know in the comments!