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What Are the '36 Questions to Fall in Love' and Do They Actually Work? Relationship Psychologists Weigh In

Couple falling in love

Falling in love sounds like an easy thing to do. After all, it’s the plot of every fairy tale and is an action as old as time. However, when you’re at a stage in your life when you’re trying to find your true love, more often than not, you realize that it’s not quite as simple as fictional stories make it out to be. In fact, you may discover that finding your person can be downright tricky and make you wish there was some sort of magical formula you could use to help you build a sincere and romantic connection with someone.

While there’s no real potion you can drink to set your love life in motion, there is one way you can take control of it and use a scientific approach to bond with someone to see if they could be a long-term partner for you. It has to do with a list referred to as "the 36 questions to fall in love." To learn more about them, we spoke to three different relationship psychologists: Dr. Jaime Zuckerman of The Z Group Private Practice and author of Find Your CalmDr. Tracy Dalgleish of Be Connected and author of I Didn’t Sign Up for This and Dr. Gloria Lee of Brentwood Counselling Centre and author of The Kickass Couple.

Interested in these questions to make you fall in love? Keep reading to find out more about the background of the famous list, how they work and why they lead to love. You can even skim through all 36 individual questions so you can examine them all and see if they are something you want to start asking in your dating life to build the connection of your dreams with your one true love. At the very least, they're simply questions to get to know someone better!

Related: 17 Best Phrases To Use To Say 'I Like You,' According to Relationship Therapists

What Are the 36 Questions to Fall in Love?

The methodology behind the idea is pretty simple: In 1997, psychologist Dr. Arthur Aron, the man who invented the list, studied what factors make people fall in love and then based on his findings, he drafted dozens of questions that he thought would help manufacture what two people needed to know about one another in order to form a deep connection with each other. “These questions tap into personal values, life goals, existential ideas and relationship priorities,” Dr. Zuckerman explains.

Dalgleish adds, “They investigate how people build closeness, and Dr. Aron ended up creating three sets of questions to help people get to know each other.”

While the experts say these questions won’t automatically make you fall in love with someone, or someone instantly fall in love with you, asking them will help you dive deeper into knowing someone, which can form a strong bond between you, and that ingredient is needed in order to truly be in love. “Remember, these questions were created to help build a sense of closeness between two people,” Dalgleish explains. “They are powerful questions because they explore different areas of what makes you, you. They are a great jumping off point.”

Related: 8 Phrases That Are Simple, Effective Ways To 'Check In' With Your Partner

How Do They Work?

“The questions are divided into three sets,” Lee says. “The first set includes the most general questions and the last has the most personal ones.”

To give you more insight into the types of things you may be asked, Dr. Zuckerman tells Parade, “The first section is more lighthearted, sometimes playfully creative icebreaker-type questions for both parties, while the second group of questions are more personal in nature, focusing on childhood memories, values, and the meaning of love and relationships. The last group of items is geared toward questions that take into account both parties, their perceptions of each other, as well as their willingness and ability to be open and vulnerable with one another.”

When asking the questions, Dalgleish suggests the best way is to take turns. “Ideally, it’s best to go back and forth asking them to create conversation. This will enhance a chance of sharing equally between partners,” she says. “You can initiate them, by simply saying something like, ‘Would you like to play a game of asking each other questions? It’s one way we can find out more about each other.’”

To help ensure you’re able to connect the way the questions intend you to, it’s key to make sure you’re “in a quiet, semi-private, relaxed setting, where there is little chance of interruption,” says Dr. Lee. “You could ask them to someone you’re dating while you’re at a restaurant or coffee shop, at the beach or the park, during a long car ride, or you’re both at your home. It may also be beneficial to take breaks in between questions. Remember, the intention is to encourage connection and not use the questions as a job interview."

Related: 31 Fun Second Date Ideas To Keep the Spark Going

The Advantage of the Structured 36 Questions

Lee points out that the main benefit of asking these specific questions comes down to the vulnerability they initiate because they encourage you to open up and share things you might not otherwise. “The questions provide an intentional way for partners to develop intimacy and closeness while creating safety through reciprocal self-disclosure, versus couples who focus on small talk, fast-tracking the process of getting to know someone and try to gauge compatibility that way,” she reveals. “These questions are designed to help adults (of any age) develop closeness in any relationship. They are not meant for minors, as certain questions may be too advanced for them.”

Dalgleish agrees and states that developing that type of emotional bond is essential for any end-game type of relationship and that sometimes gets overlooked by people or pushed aside when people are dating. “Many people look at whether another person is physically a match, however, sustained long-term intimacy requires emotional intimacy,” she shares.

Dr. Zuckerman adds that another perk of asking the sets of questions is that they can help you find out if someone is a bad match for you as well. “The structure of the questions you end up asking can highlight certain deal breakers or red flags early on in your relationship,” she states.

Related: 50 Creative Ideas of What To Talk About With Your Girlfriend

Do the 36 Questions to Fall in Love Work?

Many believe they do! Though, our experts say it’s important to remember that these questions alone aren’t your ticket to walking down the aisle. Instead, they are part of that equation and focus on enriching your connection. “Research shows the success of the questions are due to the feelings of closeness they facilitate between two people,” Dr. Zuckerman points out. “They are written in such a way that allows for gradual disclosure by asking structured items that gently tap into various aspects of a person’s personality, values, and relationship views.”

Related: 'Dating' vs. 'Relationship': Which Term Should You Use?

Full List of the 36 Questions to Fall in Love

There are three sets and each set contains 12 questions. Keep reading to find out what they all are.

Set I

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a "perfect" day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

Related: 115 Good Morning Paragraphs for Her to Start the Day Strong

6. 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?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

1. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?

2. Is there something that you've dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven't you done it?

3. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

4. What do you value most in a friendship?

5. What is your most treasured memory?

6. What is your most terrible memory?

7. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

8. What does friendship mean to you?

9. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

10. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

11. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people's?

12. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Related: 115 Good Morning Paragraphs for Him to Wake Up To

Set III

1. Make three true "we" statements each. For instance, "We are both in this room feeling..."

2. Complete this sentence: "I wish I had someone with whom I could share..."

3. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

4. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you've just met.

5. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

6. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

7. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

8. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

9. 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?

10. 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?

11. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

12. Share a personal problem and ask your partner's advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

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