Can 36 magical questions cause two strangers to fall in love? A Vancouver author certainly thinks so.
Mandy Len Catron, a local writing teacher, wrote an essay in the New York Times about her own experience turning a first date into a committed partnership after she and her beau asked each other the magic 36. It’s based on a psychology experiment from 18 years ago and the Q&A session is punctuated with a staring contest. The couple looks deep into each other’s eyes for four minutes.
The piece went viral, and suddenly couples all over the world were giving it a whirl, with (predictably) mixed results.
There’s no end in sight for this craze and more than one magazine has taken some satirical jabs at the article. The New Yorker’s response — To Fall Out of Live, Do This – is particularly funny.
Yes, the idea that two strangers can be made to fall in love in a lab is silly. But I do think there’s a nugget of truth in the experiment. Paying attention to someone else and really listening to what he or she says is the foundation for all good relationships, whether we’re talking about friends, kids, or your mate.
And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I think that’s worth remembering: time and attention matter more the flowers and chocolates.