LOVE IS IN THE ANSWERS
36 questions to make you fall in love
Spectator reporter Emma Reilly gets to the heart of the matter
THIS: two strangers walk into a room, spend an hour answering a prescribed set of questions, and fall in love.
It seems impossible — but it’s been scientifically proven to work.
This week, to coincide with Valentine’s Day, roughly 20 Hamiltonians will have a chance to test out the theory for themselves in a real-life social experiment.
The process, popularized by a column in the New York Times, stems from a study by American psychologist Arthur Aron. The study explores whether feelings of intimacy can blossom between two people by having them ask each other a series of increasingly personal questions. The questions — 36 in total — are broken up into three different sets, each one designed to be more revealing than the last.
The original participants in the study sat face to face in a lab, answered the questions, and then stared silently into each other’s eyes for four minutes.
Six months later, two participants were married.
The 36 questions phenomenon has gained such notoriety that the New York Times has created a free mobile app to make the questions readily available to hopeful participants (available at nytimes.com/36q).
Erika McMeekin, the founder of the Academy of All Things Awesome, an organization that organizes casual participatory experiences, is hosting a 36 questions event on Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Oswald Gallery on James Street North. The participants — 13 women and 11 men are signed up so far — will be paired off and asked to complete the questionnaire.
McMeekin has asked the participants for a few details about themselves in order to help her make her matches, including their age, their occupation, and any deal-breakers that would prevent them from making a romantic connection. She also plans to visit the participants’ social media pages to get a feel for their personalities. However, she says she’ll be flexible if she notices any sparks fly as attendees mingle before the questionnaire begins.
“The night of the event, I might wait see if anyone is kind of vibing and rearrange it,” she says.
McMeekin says the evening will provide a great way for single Hamiltonians to meet and mingle, without relying on dating websites or the bar scene.
“I really do think it’s hard for singles in Hamilton. But of course, singles events are just so lamesounding,” she said.
And, if love doesn’t blossom, the participants will still have had the benefit of a deep, honest conversation, McMeekin said.
“I feel like the art of conversation is not as practised these days. I personally think it’s fun to go out and learn something new, learn about someone, and connect,” she said. “It’s like the opposite of small talk.”
The event is open both heterosexual people and members of the LGBTQ community. However, McMeekin says she’s particularly hoping for some more heterosexual male participants to pair with the women who’ve already signed up. As a result, registration is currently on hold for heterosexual women.
For more information, visit www.academyofallthingsawesome.com/upcoming-awesomeness.html.
In Hamilton, 13 women and 11 men are signed up so far.
Erika McMeekin, founder of The Academy of All Things Awesome, is hosting an event tied to 36 questions by a psychologist, designed to get two people to fall in love. The questions were popularized by a New York Times story.