Part of the excitement of falling in love is getting to know someone new. At the beginning of a relationship, we’re often interested in every little thing about our crush.
As time passes, though, sometimes we start to take our partner a bit for granted. Life feels busy, and we may think we know “what there is to know” about him or her. Truth be told, we might tend to spend our time together talking about where to get dinner, what we need from the store, or what to watch on Netflix.
But while there’s definitely a time and place for “Burgers or pizza?,” don’t forget to continue to make time for other, more powerful conversations in your relationships. Talking about deeper, more personal topics (what researchers call “self-disclosure”) brings people together and makes them feel closer to each other.
In one study, researchers found that strangers who were brought together to discuss a specially selected list of intense, “deep questions” felt much closer afterwards, with one pair in the study even falling in love. Such effects were not found when the strangers were asked to carry on small talk with each other. Self-disclosure—sharing personal feelings and emotions and talking about ourselves—is also tied to increased relationship satisfaction in couples.
Of course, we may not always feel like talking about revealing topics and powerful emotions. But just starting a conversation about something new and different can rekindle feelings of connection and passion that sometimes “go missing” from everyday relationships.
The following list includes a range of questions, from light to revealing. Try a few out on your next night out or in with your partner.
And if you’re interested in the list of questions used in the study to help strangers feel close to one another, they’re available here. Check it out!
Looking for more ways to connect and get closer with your partner? The SMART Couples project is offering ELEVATE, a free, research-backed relationship enhancement class for couples, in Florida counties across the state. All our programs are taught by trained professionals and are welcoming to all. Sign up today!
Aron, A., et al. (1997). The experimental generation of interpersonal closeness: A procedure and some preliminary findings. Society for Personality and Social Psychology, 23(4), 366-373. doi: 10.1177/0146167297234003
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