A recent New York Times article resurrected research on social connectedness and interpersonal connection to see how much control we have over falling in love. The author describes her experience using a well-researched technique where two acquaintances pose a series of questions to one another that become increasingly more personal and probing.
The questions are designed to help the individual learn more about themselves and their partner, fostering interpersonal closeness through “self-expansion.” Self-expansion is a concept that assumes our sense of self grows as we learn overlapping information about others, and we tend to feel closer to those with whom we overlap. Makes sense, right?
I enjoyed this article because it reinforces the value of gradual self-disclosure and in-depth conversation when building new relationships. The article is worth a read for anyone, but would be particularly relevant for those navigating the dating world. Oftentimes I hear my single (and ready to mingle) clients say, “Is it too early to ask her about ____?” or, “I’m afraid to talk about _______ because he’ll think I’m too pushy.”
I believe this article explains how asking insightful questions and sharing appropriately personal information is actually more likely to bring that other person closer to you versus push them away. If the ultimate goal of dating is to find that special someone with whom to build an intimate relationship, keeping up the wall, playing games, or waiting for perfect timing rarely leads to success. Instead, be your genuine self and look for opportunities to share overlapping stories, thoughts, and dreams. You will probably have a much more enjoyable date and who knows, maybe you will even fall in love.