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ESL Conversation Topic – Social Experiment on Forming Friendships

Updated on May 12, 2015

ESL Conversation Topic


  • Read the explanation of the experiment.
  • Put students into pairs and give them the handout.
  • Pairs answer the 36 questions.

Time: 60 - 90 minutes.

Levels: Intermediate, upper-intermediate and advanced.

ESL Conversation Topic – Social Experiment on Forming Friendships


A Social Experiment on Forming Friendships

Ever made a strong friendship after an hour? What about falling in love in 60 minutes?

A social experiment on forming friendships published by psychologist Arthor Aron claims that two people can bond really quickly or even fall in love after answering 36 questions about each other.

The idea behind the social experiment is to create an atmosphere of vulnerability and intimacy that normally occurs in a strong friendship or a loving relationship. Only instead of taking months or years to reveal your deepest thoughts, you do it in an hour or two.

After Aron tested his theory on volunteers, 2 of them got married and invited the whole lab to the wedding. The rest of the participants acknowledged that they felt very close to their partners and many exchanged contact details after, intending to meet up again with their new-found friends.

Interestingly, they used the social experiment on groups of different races and people from different professions, for example, police officers and community members. The cross-groups all reported feelings of closeness and positive attitudes towards the other.

Want to try? All you need to do is find someone who is willing and ask them 36 questions about themselves. You must also answer the questions. The last part of the task is to stare into your partner's eyes for 4 minutes. So grab someone and let's get started!

Will You Make a Friend Today?

  1. If you could invite anyone in the world to dinner, who would that be?
  2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
  3. Have you ever rehearsed a phone call before making it? Why?
  4. What would a 'perfect day' for you be?
  5. Describe the last time you sang to yourself or someone else.
  6. If you could live to 90 and keep the mind or the body of a 30 year old for the last 60 years, which would you choose?
  7. How do you think you will die?
  8. What 3 things do you think you and your partner have in common?
  9. What are you most grateful for in life?
  10. If you could change anything about the way you were brought up, what would it be?
  11. Tell your partner about your life in 4 minutes. Be detailed.
  12. If you could have any one quality or ability, what would you choose?
  13. If you could learn anything about yourself – your life or your future, what would you like to know?
  14. What have you wanted to do for a long time. Why have you not done it yet?
  15. Describe your greatest achievement.
  16. What's the most valuable thing in a friendship?
  17. Tell your partner about the memory you hold more dear?
  18. Tell your partner about your worst memory?
  19. If you found out that you would die in 1 year, how would you change your life?
  20. What does friendship mean to you?
  21. How do love and affection make up a part of your life?
  22. Say 5 positive things about your partner's character.
  23. Tell your partner about your family. Did you have a happy childhood?
  24. How is your relationship with your mother?
  25. Make 3 true statements about “we”, e.g. 'we are both sitting down feeling...'etc.
  26. Complete the sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share...”
  27. Share something important about yourself to your partner.
  28. Tell your partner what you like about them. Be very honest, this is something you might not tell a stranger.
  29. Tell your partner about something embarrassing that happened to you.
  30. Describe the last time you cried about something alone or in front of someone else.
  31. Tell your partner something you like about them.
  32. What is too serious to make jokes about?
  33. If you died this evening, what would you regret not having said to someone. Why have you not already told them?
  34. If your home went on fire and you were able to save your loved ones and pets, what 1 item would you save?
  35. Think of your family. Whose death would affect you the most?
  36. Tell your partner about a personal problem you have and ask for their advice. Ask your partner to comment on how you are feeling about the problem you chose.

Adapted from

© 2015 Muttface


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