For greater closeness and intimacy with friends, lovers, families, and community. Included here is an amended set of instructions from the original authors of The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness, Anon, Melinat, Aron, Vallone, Bator.
I wrote about my experience with a selection of these questions, recently, when I went on a date I really wanted to go as close to excellent as possible.
This is a study of interpersonal closeness, and your task, which we think will be quite enjoyable, is simply to get close to your partner. We believe that the best way for you to get close to our partner is for you to share with them and for them to share with you. Of course, when we advise you about getting close to your partner, we are giving advice regarding behavior in this demonstration only, we are not advising you about your behavior outside this demonstration.
In order to help you get close we’ve arranged for the two of you to engage in a kind of sharing game.
On of you should read aloud the first question and then BOTH of you do what it asks, starting with the person who read the question aloud. When you are both done, go on to the second question — one of you reading it aloud and both doing what it asks. And do forth.
Please don’t skip any questions — do each in order. Alternate who reads aloud (and thus who goes first) with each new question.
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you’re going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a perfect day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you choose?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell you partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamt of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “we are both in this room feeling…”
26. Complete this sentence “I wish I had someone with whom I could share…”
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them: be honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. 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?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. 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.
… and a few variations:
- If you could choose the sex and physical appearance of your soon-to-be-born child, would you do it?
- Would you be willing to have horrible nightmares for a year if you would be rewarded with extraordinary wealth?
- While on a trip to another city, your spouse/lover meets and spends a night with an exciting stranger. Given that they will never meet again, and could never otherwise learn of the incident, would you want your partner to tell you about it?