Arthur and Elaine Aron have studied love for 50 years and have developed 36 questions to create closeness in a lab setting. The result is not unlike the accelerated intimacy that can happen between strangers on an airplane or other close quarters.
“The theory is, when you’re first in a romantic relationship, there’s an intense excitement, but then you grow used to each other,” Aron said. “If you do something new and challenging, that reminds you of how exciting it can be with your partner, it makes your relationship better.”
Those 36 questions were recently popularized in a Modern Love column in the New York Times, and have broken down emotional barriers between thousands of strangers, resulting in friendships, romance and even some marriages. Examples of the questions include:
- Would you like to be famous? In what way?
- Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
- 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?