There are often articles that make the rounds of the internet - first, circulating from a friend or relative who has read it directly on site; transitioning later to the Facebook post, where it garners many "likes" and perhaps even a few "shares"; it might leapfrog over to Twitter where endless RTs are possible depending on the size of your following; and, finally, the circle of life is complete when your mother forwards you said article and asks, "Have you seen this?" Inevitably, yes. Mandy Len Cantron's recent article is one such phenomenon - but unlike other times, where I feel satisfied reading and moving on, not even mentioning it to others, this time I feel compelled to share and, dare I say, discuss.
Her article shows an acquaintance and her following the directive of an Arthur Aron study (from twenty years ago) to answer thirty-six questions that are supposed to invoke feelings of intimacy and closeness within a ninety minute period. While Cantron admits she and her partner spent more than the allotted time (and probably more than the allotted alcoholic beverage amount, seeing as a lab should have none), she confesses that there was an increased feeling of closeness after answering these questions.
Which leads me to the ever Carrie Bradshaw-esque question: "I had to wonder... is love something we can manufacture, or is it that we can love anyone, all along?"
Stephanie from A Sparkle Factor and Hallie from Corals + Cognacs have both posted their answers to several of the questions, and I've decided to follow suit. Not just to try to get everyone to fall in love with me (I've seen Teen Witch, I know how quickly that can go sour) but to test the theory that these questions lead the listener to a newer, deeper, more nuanced understanding of the question-answerer.
Will you all feel you know me better after reading this? Will you look at me differently? I dare to say, I hope so.
Oh, and, P.S. - Canton and her partner fell in love. She says she's not sure whether it would have happened eventually without the questions, but that the queries definitely left the pair in a more intimate space to explore their relationship sooner.
(I'm omitting some of the questions that are directed at a partner in favor of brevity and readability. No one wants to see me make up a boyfriend here.)
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
At this moment, I would say Agatha Christie - her books are amongst the most famous in the world and she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's best selling novelist. I would love to know how she accomplished that and what her life was like.
Would you like to be famous? In what way?
I would like to be remembered - whether that is through an achievement, through charitable donations (which, at this moment, are mostly me feeding myself on each week's paycheck), or by some other means. I wouldn't say I'd like to be "famous" but I definitely have that very human urge to not be forgotten so soon after I depart this world.
Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
Not usually, but sometimes if it's a nerve-wracking phone interview or professional call.
What would constitute a "perfect" day for you?
First, the ability to sleep in beyond 7:15am. That would be lovely. Then I'd go get a croissant and coffee, and maybe some fresh flowers. I'd somehow expand the time-space continuum so I'd have time to go to yoga or for a run, read a book or knit while rain falls outside, and then cook dinner with friends. Maybe I'd end the evening with a snuggle from my family's dogs. Or, in an ideal world, a snuggle from another human.
When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
To myself? Doing dishes, last night. To someone else? My friend had a birthday party last weekend and we sang to her with cake.
If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or the body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Assuming I would only have the usual signs of aging and not some debilitating disease at 90 years old, I would rather retain my mind. You can always create with a strong mind.
Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
For as much as I fear dying (and I do, a lot) I haven't thought about how it will actually happen, realistically. Which is probably best for everyone.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My family and friends. I could survive anything with those fools around me (Note: Mom, fools is a term of endearment here.)
If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
I would make myself do more chores? In all honesty, my parents were incredibly loving and supportive, to the point where I didn't want for anything and I got away with a lot just by a cute smile and some witty comment -- but I didn't often have to take out the trash. I'm not sure whether my current household work ethic has been affected by this.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
If we're talking superhero qualities, I would want to fly - I think invisibility would be too tempting (does anyone really need to overhear conversations of their loved ones? Some things are better left unsaid.) If we're limited to "regular" old personal abilities, I would love the ability of Peacefulness. I mean that in the sense of having an even keel attitude, not letting others get to me so much, and being able to spread this feeling to those around me.
If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?
In the interest of honesty, I would want to know whether I'm going to get married and have children. If I knew that, I could just let it happen and focus on the flobbity jillion other things that are important in life. Also, this question doesn't mention whether you have the ability to change your future once you know it - I think the possibility of hope and change once you have that knowledge is an important caveat.
Is there something that you've dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven't you done it?
I want to write a book. A novel. I haven't done it because starting is the hardest part.
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
So far, in my meager 28 years, passing the Bar was my greatest accomplishment. It was three years and three months in the making and I never want to have to do it again.
What do you value most in a friendship?
I value loyalty - not blind, unwavering, undying loyalty like Spencer Pratt seems to believe in, but a sincere fondness for and support of your friends. I also think this includes not speaking badly about your friends, and supporting them even when it's difficult for you.
If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
I would travel, a lot, more than I already have and plan to. I would immediately book a ticket to Greece and figure it out from there.
What does friendship mean to you?
"Friendship means never having to say I'm sorry..." No, wait, that's not right. Friendship means support, companionship, joy, laughter, camaraderie, someone to build your lemonade stand with and get into giggle fits and drag to that horrible move you wanted to see. It also means someone having your back when you are devastated and all you want is to cry and look ugly and watch bad television and have someone drag you out to a coffee shop. One of the things Sex and the City got right is that I think your friends can be your soulmates, and sometimes men can just be these nice guys to have fun with.
What roles do love and affection play in your life?
Huge roles. I'm not sure how else to put it. Love and affection are very important to me, whether this be familial, friendly, or romantic love and affection.
How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people's?
Yes, to be honest. I think I had as great a childhood as I could have asked for, and I feel incredibly close to my family -- to the point where I go home at least two weekends a month and three weeks without seeing my family is a long time for me. That said, my family lives about 20-25 minutes away from me right now... if I lived further away, and only saw them a couple of times a year, I would be able to survive. That's what smart phones are for.
How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
She's my best friend? Yes. That's probably true.
Complete this sentence: "I wish I had someone with whom I could share..."
My silly jokes. And my desire to go snorkeling in Iceland.
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 am a morning person, and a night owl, but when I don't get enough sleep I just complain about being tired all the time. And also I laugh out loud while watching television - any television.
Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
That time when I went in to audition for Trial Team in law school and was basically a raging B-I-you-know-what to the fake witness on cross examination because I had watched too much Law & Order and thought that's how you were supposed to do it. I didn't realize until a few months later that there's this thing called "finesse"...
This may not seem that embarrassing but for me it screams AMATEUR HOUR and I still have flashbacks.
When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
In front of another person? Probably watching The Killing with my roommate last week. By myself? Watching the new Budweiser Super Bowl puppy commercial. Also this Subaru commercial does a number on me (I just watched it so I could link it here, and teared up at work.)
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 one item. What would it be? Why?
In theory I should say my laptop because it has all of my pictures and writings on it, but a lot of those are backed up on Flickr and on here... so if I was thinking clearly I would probably grab a framed picture of my mom and me when I was really young (and so was she, har har) and I look like the cutest little ginger baby you ever did see.
Share a personal problem and ask your partner's advice on how he or she might handle it.
How do I figure out what I want to be when I grow up? No, but really. How?
What do you think, are we in loooooove yet?
If you want, answer your own thirty-six questions and link back here so we can all get to know each other! If you're not a blogger and still want to participate, feel free to answer some (or all) of the questions in the comments below. I'm sincerely interested to learn more about you!