Last week, I tried this ’36 Questions How to Fall in Love’ with my boyfriend. This 36 Questions was quite viral a while ago and maybe still is. It was featured in many articles and Youtube videos (I’m not so sure, but I guess it was also featured in NYT Modern Love Story), plus some of my friends were talking about it and has been trying it out some couple years ago. So, I got curious.
I know that I wanted to try it but I just didn’t know whom I would play it with. When I first started hanging out with my boyfriend, I suggested that we try this 36 Questions. I told him that this 36 Questions could make two people fall in love with each other (at least that was what the creator claimed). He seemed hesitant, he said “what if two people who like each other try this out and fell out of love?” I honestly never thought about it.
After around three months in our relationship, he asked me about the 36 Questions again because he was interested in trying that out. I personally think that it’s kinda late to try it, because we’ve known much of each other already. Besides, we started out as friends before we started dating. This 36 Questions is meant for strangers (or first dates or someone that you don’t really know), so that they can open up with each other and see each vulnerable sides. By now, we’ve known each other to the point that 36 Questions wouldn’t open us up significantly more. Even for some questions, we’ve kind of guessed what each of us would answer.
So, even though it was kind of late, I still wanted to try it and I recorded the session so that I could blog about it. I forgot to record the first 2 questions, but I still remember what we answered. The length of the overall recording up until the last part is a little over 2 hours. That was intense, wasn’t it? I warned my boyfriend about it but he didn’t really think that it would take such a long time. In the middle of the session he was a little anxious, because we were planning to do something afterwards and he didn’t want us to be late. Even though I sensed that he was getting impatient to the point of quitting, we carried on until it ended. And I saw that he wasn’t disappointed. So, I can tell that it was a success.
The full questions can be seen in the website. And the background in the making of the 36 Questions can be seen in this Ted Talk. Well, here it goes:
- Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
I answered Haruki Murakami and he wasn’t surprised, he knew already that Murakami is my favorite author. His answer was Elon Musk, I did not expect that, but I am happy because if Murakami isn’t available for my dinner party, I’d be happy if Elon Musk showed up.
- What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
Number 4 already? Of course, I’m not going to write all of it. You’d be bored to death. I’m just going to write the things that I found worth writing and fun to share. Anyway, in number 4 he already said, “the question is getting harder to answer”. But we both said, “perfect” day would mean that we can chill and relax all day, being lazy with no care in the world. Except that I’d include reading while he wouldn’t.
p.s. He doesn’t like reading, pffft!
- Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
No, we don’t
- For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
We both answered family. We were both grateful with our family. We know that each of our family has been through fair share of storm and we got out through it. Stronger.
From this part, he started to open up more about when his father passed away. It was such a hard time for him and his family. Before, he would just mention about it in our conversations. But this time he really described how he felt about it in more depth, and I got carried away by it, too. I was glad he could share that with me and I hope he could somehow feel safe trusting me with his baggage.
- Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
He answered first because it was my turn to ask. He paused a little to recall something positive about me, and I was glaring at him. “Do I not possess any positive traits at all? Is it that hard to recall?” But he got a few anyway, which are:
- Focus with my task (even though not for a long duration)
- The next one is quite hard to translate, I guess the best way to say it is that I do good deeds unconditionally
- His exact word, “smart… I guess”
- Want to try to be better
When it was my turn to answer, I just realized that it was a difficult question. I totally understood why he was like that earlier. Even I seemed to struggle more than him in answering it. I said that he’s a good person, but he doesn’t want to be called a good person since it’s a generic description, like everybody is a good person. But I really meant what I said when I described him as a good person, because he actually is a good person that not many people are qualified to be called that. So, what I answered was:
- A good person (still I insisted, but with a bit more explanation), since he is always willing to drive me anywhere he can (come to think of it, the explanation could be qualified as caring, isn’t it?)
- Thorough planner. Even though sometimes it’s annoying having him thinking about every little detail, I still consider that helpful and necessary especially since I don’t possess much of that trait
- Think of family first
- Reliable (I didn’t tell him but this trait is the one that I appreciate the most)
- If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
I told him that I am not comfortable sharing my thoughts with other people. I don’t know why, I didn’t mean to keep my thoughts from people but I just couldn’t do it casually. I am quite fluent in writing, I could share my thoughts better on paper. But verbally I am not that fluent. I might need more me-time than typical person and sometimes I could go M.I.A just because connecting to myself is very necessary for me. I told him not to feel neglected when those times come.
For his part, he said that he could be indecisive and sometimes it’s hard for him to make up his mind. He’s also forgetful, so when he didn’t remember something important it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t think of it as important.
- 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.
See, this is not applicable for us. We’ve already liked each other and besides, we’re not someone that we’ve just met.
- Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
We’ve asked each other about embarrassing moments way before this session. But he added one embarrassing moment in his childhood that he wasn’t ready to share in our previous conversation. And of course, I wouldn’t write it down. Because, yes, it is a matter of trust, but also it is so embarrassing even though he told me it’s okay to write it, I still wouldn’t.
- 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?
I said my laptop and he said his camera. By the way, he loves taking pictures.
- Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.
I told him what my ideal career path (which I think would be a researcher and doing studies and stuff), with opportunity to have a family, which I found rather conflicting. I told him that being a researcher might be something that I enjoy doing. But on the other hand, while I was unsure about my academic background, this type of career will consume a lot of my time. And that is a concern, since I would want to be able to raise a family and doing that will also take a lot of my time. But anyways, I’m always worried about my future, I’m just handling it better now.
When it was his turn, he took quite some time to answer. He seemed to recall what kind of problem that he wanted to mention. He didn’t seem to have any, so instead he said, “it isn’t some kind of a problem, it might be more of a concern that I couldn’t meet your expectation.”
I frowned a little since I recalled that I never demanded anything from him ever. He explained further, “it’s just a concern that… will I always be able to make you happy.”
He almost got me teary-eyed. I somehow believed that he meant what he said. I hope he did, though. That was the sweetest thing anyone can say to me.
We were down to the last question. Finally, it’s the four minutes stare. Here is the instruction: In order to solidify your love, you have to look into your partner’s eyes for four minutes. In silence. It’s hard, and you’ll squirm, but you’ll learn an incredible amount. Good luck…
Well, we did that. We put a timer on for four minutes and we stared at each other’s eyes for that long. Four minutes is an average length of a song. But we made it till the timer was off. I did learn that it wasn’t that hard to look into his eyes. His were warm and welcoming, not to forget tiny :P. I never realized how tiny his eyes were when he’s concentrating. They were brown and a little droopy. But most of all, I saw that his were intense, like he wanted to see what behind my eyes a little deeper into my brain like he wanted to know who was that person sitting in front of him. And it wasn’t that hard presenting myself to him, too. I hope he could see a little glimpse of me. At least, I hope that he could see that I welcome him.
- If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
Oh well, I missed this question. We both said we wouldn’t want to know anything. I know I don’t. I like now. Right now, he wants to make me happy. I don’t know about 10 years from now or next year or even next month, whether he still wants to make me happy or he just couldn’t be bothered by it. But right now, I truly believe that he does.
And right now, I am happy.