Yesterday morning over a cup of coffee (my third, admittedly), I was reading an essay on the New York Times about — get this — how to fall in love with anyone.
Yep, anyone… Supposedly.
The title piqued my interest — like I’m sure it has yours — as it sounds like a ridiculous recipe for modern love. But, of course, I had to know. Does it work?
The story is fascinating, to say the least (and as it turns out, it has worked).
You can read it here, but allow me to summarize: It explores the idea of mutual vulnerability and how that fosters feelings of closeness. Or more specifically, whether intimacy between a set of strangers can be created and accelerated by having them ask each other a series of personal questions — 36 of them, to be exact.
Naturally, I started to think about how this concept might apply on a larger scale. Oh yes — how it applies to you and I. I suspect the science behind this experiment is relevant to us in the blogosphere, and I’m keen to find out.
So guess what, my little guinea pigs?
That’s right. We’re going to ask and answer those questions. Some of them, at least. Do you guys remember those chain e-mails we used to send when we were younger? It’s kind of like that.
Grab your coffee and settle in — I’ll go first, okay?
Here we go…
Per psychologist Arthur Aron, here are (some of the) 36 questions to ask for the formula for falling in love:
Would you like to be famous? In what way? Not famous, per se, but well-known. I’d like to be popular as it pertains to my passions — in writing, blogging, and so on.
Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why? No, actually. I tend to overanalyze, so if I over-think what I’m going to say, I’ll never pick up the phone in the first place.
When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? This morning when I was washing my face. And last night in SoulCycle class. (This song — and FYI, I keep my favorite music of the moment here.)
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? My mind — unless that means that I stop learning (/only having learned these lessons in my life), in which case I’ll take the bod’.
Name three things you and your
partner readers appear to have in common. [For obvious reasons, I’ll go with “readers” instead of “parner.”] Guys, I’m convinced that we’re like, the same person. I’d say we have the same sense of humor. We also feel satisfied with our professional growth, but we’re always striving for more (as proven in the comments of post). And lastly, I think we’re both convinced that 2015 is OUR year. (It freakin’ is!)
For what in your life do you feel most grateful? My family. I don’t often talk about them on the blog, but I’ve not-so-recently really realized what it means to grow up with two sisters — my forever best friends and champions. My parents have supported every decision I’ve ever made, too. Except that one time in high school that I got caught sneaking out at 2 a.m. to, uh, hang out with a neighbor. (It was just that once, Mom. SRSLY.)
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? Does the ability to snap my fingers and have a clean apartment count? No? Well, then, I’d have to say meditation. Learning how to do this is really, really hard; but the benefits are amazing.
If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know? Whether or not I will have children — and when.
Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it? Yes. Writing a book — or publishing a collection of short stories/essays. I’m not sure where to start, and I’m worried that not enough people would read it to make it worthwhile. (Would you?)
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? I think it’s my learned ability to write about/share my own life’s experiences — good or bad — to benefit other people. Discussing when and why I quit my job, for example.
What do you value most in a friendship? Loyalty and authenticity.
What is your most treasured memory? OMG, okay. I’ll reveal this to you next week — it just recently happened. I’m smiling just thinking about it!
If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why? I would say more about what I’m feeling in the moment. Nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say, and more often than not, I think we’re better off in the long run being honest up-front. Right?
What roles do love and affection play in your life? At the present moment, these qualities are focused inward. It sounds cheesy, but honestly, I’m still figuring out my own shit — and how to be the best version of myself. I’m glad I have my 20’s/ample time to do this before really opening up to invite someone else into my life to do the same (the exception being my friends and family).
Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your
partner readers. Share a total of five items. You guys go first! No? Okay. You’re loyal, ambitious, fun and make me smile. You guys have no idea how awesome it is to write for a group of super-smart ladies who “get it.” You know? You just get it.
How do you feel about your relationship with your mother? When someone comments that I am my mother’s daughter/I’m becoming my mother, I know now that it’s (1) true and (2) a huge compliment.
Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling …” [Again, we’ll go with ‘readers’ here.] Well, first-off, (1) we’re both coming to terms with the reality that we don’t have everything in life figured out — and that’s okay. It’s better, even. As a part of that, we’re (2) trying to find the balance of understanding ourselves more deeply, but not taking life too seriously. Oh, and (3) we both know that we don’t need to settle for less — in jobs, relationships and life overall. [Fist bump emoji.]
Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share…” My to-do list, man.
If you were going to become a close friend with your
partner readers, please share what would be important for him or her to know. I’m getting better about it, but sometimes I can be sensitive and make pointless assumptions as a result.
partner readers what you like about them; be very honest, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met. One of my proudest achievements to-date is the fact that we’ve been able to develop such a great relationship through this site (…and know that we’re just getting started). I like that you actually read what I write — what a rarity in this day-in-age! I like that you trust me enough to share me with friends, visit me every day and even take the time to chit-chat (comment, Instagram, tweet, etc).
Share with your
partner readers an embarrassing moment in your life. Let’s just say I have the world’s smallest bladder. And also, I’ve thrown up in more airport bathrooms (and planes, at that) than I care to admit.
When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself? The former goes hand-in-hand with my most treasured moment, so I’ll talk to you more about it next week. The latter? Last week on the subway when someone stepped on my foot. Just one of those days, you know?
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? My family, and I’d tell them thank you (and “I love you more!”). Gratitude is something that’s often assumed, but not expressed nearly enough.
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? I hate to say it, but my computer.
… Well? What’d you think? Are we in love? (You can can read the rest of the questions here.)
Real talk, though:
From a writer’s perspective, I agree that the idea of mutual vulnerability is effective. Over the past four years; you, my friends, have taught me that a little honest, self-disclosure goes a long way.
Whether it be through e-mail, comments or social media, I’ve been (pleasantly) surprised at how quickly you can meet people and form genuine friendships online.
HERE’S YOUR HOMEWORK!
Blogging is very much an exercise in give-and-take — and one of the greatest things that makes it different than traditional publishing is the opportunity for readers to offer input.
That being said, I thought about nominating a few of my blogger friends to create similar blog posts, but instead, why not open it up to the entire internet?
Let’s do it! If you’re a blogger, I challenge you to:
- Read this article.
- Create a blog post answering a few of the questions on your own.
- Link back to this post so that we can create a chain (and so that I can read your answers).
If you don’t have a blog (or you don’t want to write about this) and you still want to participate, use the comment form below. Or ask your own significant other! If you’d rather it just be you and me, that’s cool — we can keep it exclusive; you’re always welcome to e-mail me.
So, the mic has been passed (you can rest of the questions here). What would you like to share?