36 Questions That Can Make 2 Strangers Fall in Love ♥

In Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” she refers to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron (and others) that explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. The 36 questions in the study are broken up into three sets, with each set intended to be more probing than the previous one.

The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. To quote the study’s authors, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.” Allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult, so this exercise forces the issue.

The final task Ms. Catron and her friend try — staring into each other’s eyes for four minutes, with the suggested duration ranging from two minutes to four. But Ms. Catron was unequivocal in her recommendation. “Two minutes is just enough to be terrified,” she told me. “Four really goes somewhere.”

Set I

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 telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are 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 want?

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 your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

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 dreamed 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 very 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.

Writer’s Toolbox

This week in a conversation with my fellow MA students about the upcoming hellmonth of term papers and preliminary dissertation research I realized that a lot of the apps and tools and Chrome extensions I use for writing, research, and productivity aren’t necessarily common knowledge. So here, for anyone who wants it, is a collection of writer tools. Feel free to reblog and add your own.


  • Momentum: Chrome extension that helps organize your daily goals
  • Strict Workflow: Chrome extension based on the Pomodoro Technique; blocks social media to keep you focused when working online
  • Pacemaker: highly customizable tool which helps you form a plan of attack for various drafts, projects, rewriters, etc.
  • f.lux: freeware which gradually adjusts the colors on your computer screen to make working after dark easier on the eyes
  • Coffitivity: app and website which provides ambient background noise to fake that coffee-shop feeling and keep you focused
  • WriteChain: app which reminds/motivates you to write every day

Outlining & Word Processing

  • iMindMap: mind-mapping software
  • Scrivener: word processor designed for writers (who also happen to be Mac users; seriously if you’re on a PC don’t bother)
  • Evernote: online workspace which can be synced to your laptop and smartphone 
  • Final Draft: script and screenwriting software that does the formatting for you
  • Celtx: the free version of Final Draft
  • LitLift: online outlinging tool and way to keep track of all your projects

Names & World-Building

  • AutoRealm: free mapmaking software; there’s a learning curve but it’s not rocket science
  • SketchUp: 3D modeling software that helps you create imaginary buildings and keep them consistent
  • Google Earth: great for working in real-world locations
  • Stellarium: lets you get a real-time look at the night sky in any location on Earth
  • Ambient Mixer: free tool for creating custom soundscapes; or you can listen to soundscapes other people have already made
  • City and Town Name Generator: a lot of great resources here for fantasy/RPG writes but this provides examples of real-world place names based on geographic data
  • Ever-Changing Book of Names: freeware which creates random names, also based on geographic data; geared toward fantasy but extra sets can be downloaded individually
  • Names by Decade: US census data of popular baby names by decade

Lit Agents & Query Letters

  • QueryShark: blog run by ruthless lit agent Janet Reid who will teach you how to write a query letter, and how not to
  • QueryTracker: online directory of lit agents and agencies
  • Writer’s Marketplace: the paper version of QueryTracker
  • #mswishlist: agents open to queries and what they’re looking for
  • MSWL: a more organized website which keeps track of the above hashtag


  • Calibre: free software which lets you create your own ebooks; a great way to read later drafts and look for errors on the go
  • Mendeley: a great way to organize research and resources if you don’t want to pay for Scrivener
  • calendars for any book you might be writing that takes place in recent history; also provides solar/lunar info
  • Dropbox: document storage so you don’t literally lose your shit

This is a very short list and I will probably expand it as other tools and tricks I use on a regular basis occur to me. But in the meantime, I hope this is useful to other writers (and grad students) out there. 

It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do.
—  Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
Recovery Kit/Grounding Box/Self-Help Box Thingy!

So, there are several different names we could call this, like grounding box, comfort box or coping skills toolbox.  I’m going to go with recovery kit because…idk why. In any event, I made a self-help box thingy, and it was actually sort of fun doing it. It reminded me of those rainy-day boxes we had to make in elementary school.

For those of you haven’t done something like this before (including myself, until yesterday), making a recovery kit is sort of like making a first aid kit for your mental health. When you’re in a moment of crisis, or just having a bad day, you can take out the box and use it to soothe yourself. You can put whatever you want in it, as long as it makes you feel good.

I was inspired by these posts, but there are probably a lot of other sources for inspiration, too. I tried to get an item to represent each of the five senses, as well as items that fostered creativity and mindfulness. Things that serve as a distraction, funny items, reminders of loved ones, and emergency phone numbers are also helpful. Honestly, I’ll probably wind up taking a few things out of it before an emergency strikes, like my ginger and sandalwood candle from the Body Shop (which smells rididiculously good).

Contents (and the function it plays)

  • One miniature sock monkey. Touch.
  • One ginger and sandalwood candle. Smell.
  • Two mini bottles of white musk shower gel and satsuma body lotion. Smell and taste.
  • One mindfulness-based stress reduction CD. Sound and mindfulness.
  • One packet of Starbucks’ salted caramel hot chocolate (hyfr!!!) Taste.
  • One Luna bar. Taste.
  • Two containers of cheap-ass nail polish (hot pink and black, because I’m apparently tapping into my inner scene kid???) Sight and creativity.
  • Small pocket Sudoku book. Distraction.
  • One blank composition notebook and two small pens. Creativity/self-expression.
  • One box of watercolor pencils. Creativity/self-expression.
  • One Lolcat Poetreez magnetic poetry kit. (I can has recovery box?) Silly/fun stuff
  • Multi-colored foil star labels. Because I love them, okay?!?!
  • One index card containing seven phone numbers (parents, three friends, therapist and psychiatrist)

If you guys have done recovery boxes or plan to do one, I’d love for you to share them with me. You can submit stuff or send me a message with your post and I’ll reblog it here :) What’s in your box?

Every time you threaten to run I wish you knew I couldn’t stop you if I tried. Every time you said you wouldn’t love me anymore because of something you thought was broken I wish you knew that I never held the toolbox with all the trinkets required to fix it. I wish you knew that if I could I would make everything right again. Mothers would all be able to kiss their children goodbye every morning before school. Dolphins would all be swimming in the open ocean. We would never have been a thousand miles away from each other in the first place. You wouldn’t have ever felt the need to punish me for mistakes you made with someone else. There would never have been any doubt in your mind that I love you. But like I said before, I’ve never held the toolbox.
—  A.O.A.M || Toolbox

I finished my toolbox \(^-^)/

I think it turned out nicely :3 and it is very light too :D

I had to remove 4 mm in thickness from the lid to get a usable surface again and I didn’t have enough wood to make a diagonal part for it (-_-)

I like how the handles look on it :3

I used some paste wax on top of the Kakishibu to finish the toolbox :)

I didn’t apply any Kakidhibu to the inside of the toolbox because I didn’t have enough to do so and because I kind of like the contrast :D

I intended to put my beech toolbox on its side and use the lid as a sliding door but it didn’t work out that well because I couldn’t access my tools the way I wanted to so right now I need to put my new toolbox away whenever I want to access it which is kind of cumbersome but I don’t have enough space do do it in a different way (^-^;) I realized how heavy my beech toolbox is (°_°;) 

I keep the tools I use the most in the toolbox that is on top :D

For everyone wondering whats in the small carrying case :) It is the case I use for my multimeter :) I’m an mechatronics engineer after all :D

Also I do agree that a toolbox doesn’t need to be perfect but I wanted to set myself a challenging goal and this was the only project that I needed at the time :) Also it is the first project I used Paulownia or きりand this served as a guinea pig for future things :D

I wish everyone a great week and fluffy things (^-^)/


Things that inspire us: 

Toto Storage by Sung Wook Park for Umbra

“Inspired by the ease-of-use and multifunctional characteristics of the classic toolbox, the Toto Jewelry Box by Umbra can be used in the office or as a beauty supply holder. Toto’s base is made of wood and the ergonomic handle and slide out shelf are made of metal. The two-level accessory box has a variety of open and closed compartments and a padded base to protect surfaces. Designed by Sung Wook Park for Umbra-the worldwide leader in innovative, modern, casual and affordable design for the home.”

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