To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This

That was the title of one of the most popular New York Times articles ever written. Author Mandy Lee Catron, drawing on research by Dr. Arthur Aron, claimed it was possible to make two people fall in love in just 45 minutes. Here’s the procedure:

Sit two people across from each other and have them ask each other personal questions in alternating fashion. The questions get more sensitive the further they go.

For instance, the first question might be, “What would constitute a perfect day for you?” A question in the middle of the series might be, “What do you value most in a friendship?” A question towards the end might be, “Of all the people in your family, whose death would be the most disturbing?”

Then, have them stare into each others’ eyes for four minutes. That’s it.

Certainly the procedure doesn’t cause people to fall in love every time, as Catron acknowledges in the article, but it does create emotional closeness that’s unparalleled in such a short time span. In his book Pre-Suasion, Robert Cialdini explains why the procedure works so well:

“Dr. Aron described two aspects of the procedure that she felt are key to its effectiveness. First, the items escalate in personal disclosure. Thus, when responding, participants increasingly open themselves up to one another in a trusting way representative of tightly bonded pairs. Second, . . . participants do so by acting together–that is, in a coordinated, back-and-forth fashion, making the interaction inherently and continuously synchronous” (p. 202).

It’s worth pondering how many of your interactions work like this, whether online or off.

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