Psychologist Arthur Aron wondered whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by these questions. (Illustration by Julianna Renk, University of California, Berkeley)

It’s tough to find love these days — the romantic kind. The media and society have set high standards for true love by depicting that special fairy-tale ending, one that only seems appropriate for an alternate world.

Instead of experimenting with mainstream apps like Tinder or Bumble, a YouTube channel called Jubilee is testing its matchmaking skills in a blunt way: having strangers ask each other a series of 36 questions to fall in love.

The experiment is based on an article from The New York Times; the series, called “Tea for Two,” is about strangers of different ages, ethnicities and sexual orientations sitting down face to face over some tea and asking each other 36 questions — questions that could possibly lead them to fall in love.

Each 36 questions to fall in love episode focuses on a few questions in depth, instead of all 36 in one video. After some inevitably awkward introductions, the participants get right into the question-and-answer session. Here are some of the overarching themes of the series’ questions.

Personal Moments

One way to really get to know a person is to learn about turning points in their life, or any significant junctures in general. For example, one query asks about the “last time you cried.” The question helps the two open up to each other by expressing vulnerability, and by doing so, the tactic erodes the barriers between the participants and gets quickly into significant conversation.

In another example, one half of the duo asks the other about their “most terrible memory,” a question whose answer is often related to the last time they cried; several responses included events like dropping out of school or getting into a car wreck.

Whatever the case, their responses, in addition to illuminating pivotal events in their lives, show how the participants react to adversity and give an indication of how willing they might be to disclose even more about themselves as the experiment continues.

In another exchange, otherwise known as the “life story” question, the duo ply each other with a set of queries that help them get a basic overview and understanding of the other’s life and how they became the person they are today. As a result, the 36 questions to fall in love series aims to help pairs build advanced knowledge of each other to catalog their similarities and differences.

Life Goals/Accomplishments

The theme of these questions, which are often prompted by the phrase, “What is your greatest accomplishment?,” helps the pairs discover each other’s passions, goals and achievements. This kind of examination helps reveal how people think of themselves, what they believe in and the things they love to do. Common responses include receiving a dream job or moving somewhere by yourself.

Participants will often begin by asking, “Would you like to be famous?” The question, though simple in its structure, is complex, especially given the infinite number of ways there are to become famous nowadays.

When most people think of fame, they think of Hollywood glitz and glamour, but this question encourages them to think about other ways they could become famous, such as through writing books, recording podcasts or starting a YouTube channel. Unwittingly, their answers reveal information about their career goals and personalities, as someone who is extroverted is more likely to want to be famous compared to someone who is introverted.

Personality/Character

To fully understand someone and build a genuine connection, it’s important to learn about their personality. One question, “When did you last sing to yourself?,” reveals much more about the responder than they might first think. Although the query obviously has nothing to do with compatibility, it allows participants to be vulnerable and speak about when they’re most comfortable.

On a more serious note, another popular question is: “What type of ability would you like to gain?” The prompt assumes that the participants have a catalogue of their strengths and weaknesses, so by answering they reveal a lot about their motivation and work ethic.

Additionally, asking “What role does love and affection play in your life?” has stirred some even more intriguing responses. The question allows participants to explain why they might be searching for a romantic companion at this point in their life, and how much worth that carries.

This crucial 36 questions to fall in love tenet allows participants to understand their own perceptions about love; it also allows the two to evaluate each other in order to determine if the other person would be a loving partner.

Half of the 36 questions to fall in love episodes conclude with four minutes of uninterrupted eye contact, where the strangers can stare into each other’s souls and peacefully observe in silence. This odd but effective activity forces them to think about the other person and where their feelings about them stand. It’s also a great way to captivate the pairs, as eye contact can send lots of non-verbal messages.

The other half of the episodes end with a question about whether the strangers would want to meet up again. This forthright approach involves verbal communication, as opposed to the dreadful guessing about whether your date is attracted to you. This is a great way to assess the interest and connection between the pair.

The 36 questions to fall in love are not icebreakers; they get straight to the point, right from the get-go. Questions vary on the maturity spectrum, ranging from light-hearted to serious, so participants can thoroughly understand the multi-dimensional persona of their date.

Does such a blunt technique work? Well, the answer to that is in the eye of the beholder.

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