Psychologist Arthur Aron believes it’s possible to foster intimacy (even between strangers) by each asking a specific set of personal questions. Creating mutual vulnerability is one way to promote closeness.
Although Aron’s research is 20 years old, the questions he used have recently become an internet sensation (80 million views!) through a recent New York Times article.
Using questions to establish a deeper knowing can be an act of love in itself.
Even a seemingly simple or superficial “How are you today?” can create a momentary social cohesion. This can ripple out and create a sense of ease, safety, and sense of being seen by the world.
I’d like to expand the idea of Valentine’s Day beyond romantic love (important as it may be) to encompass a larger kind of love, one that sees possibility of a greater intimacy with the world.
- Asking a clerk at the checkout counter how they are and really looking at them as they answer can be an act of love.
- Putting down whatever you’re doing when your partner/kid comes home and asking how they are is an act of love.
- Making a point to ask that difficult person who annoys you how they are can be an act of love.
And of course, using those 36 deeply personal questions with someone you know or would like to know better can lead to love,
May we pursue our paths, remembering to sprinkle simple and deep questions of concern into our daily lives,