With a simple technique, psychologist Arthur Aron made two strangers fall in love.
If you’ve been crushing on someone for quite sometime, then this is the news that you want to hear. Because contrary to those feelings of doubt, there is a real possibility that you can, finally, get your crush into your clutches.
In the New York Times this past weekend, Mandy Len Catron, wrote about psychologist Arthur Aron, and how, with a simple technique, he made two strangers fall in love. She also wrote about how she applied it to her own life and — voila! — magic there, as well.
Dr. Aaron’s study was all about questions and staring. The two participants in the study were to sit facing each other while answering a series of questions about death, family relationships, dreams, love, and so on. Each question got more and more personal, with the final question, or rather statement, being, “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.” After that part of the experiment was finished, the two were to stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes.
It might seem simple, but what it’s really doing is opening up a path to honesty and communication through intimacy. The strangers in that initial study ended falling in love and were married six months later. So, with that as her inspiration, Catron, did the same with a “university acquaintance,” and had the same results.
But before we go crazy and start chasing Ryan Gosling down the streets, begging for him to look into our eyes for four minutes, take a step back. As with all things in life, there’s no guarantee. But what the experiment does do is “generate trust and intimacy, the feelings love needs to thrive,” and that makes for a great jumping off point. There’s also something really intense about staring into the eyes of someone for four minutes. As Catron noted:
“I’ve skied steep slopes and hung from a rock face by a short length of rope, but staring into someone’s eyes for four silent minutes was one of the more thrilling and terrifying experiences of my life. I spent the first couple of minutes just trying to breathe properly. There was a lot of nervous smiling until, eventually, we settled in. I know the eyes are the windows to the soul or whatever, but the real crux of the moment was not just that I was really seeing someone, but that I was seeing someone really seeing me.”
When it comes down to is being open. When we reveal ourselves we’re allowing someone to get inside and sort of rummage around, and when they open up, we get to do the same. We get the complicated stuff out of the way; we skip the drama, and see each other for who and what we really are. This isn’t always easy in today’s world, so when we make the time to do it, it strikes us.
Will you fall in love by answering 36 questions then staring into the eyes of someone for four minutes? I don’t know. But what I do know is that there’s nothing wrong with trying—and you and a partner can here — and if it doesn’t happen, then maybe you should just chalk it up to something else.
“Love didn’t happen to us,” wrote Catron, “We’re in love because we each made the choice to be.” But I think we can all agree that the experiment helped.