Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be? Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know? Is there something that you’ve dreamt of doing for a long time? A man and woman face each other across a table at a downtown bistro, looking nervous and awkward. There is a stiff formality to the way they sit—no slouching. It remains to be seen if it will pick up speed, gain altitude, and soar skyward . Sometimes they lead to burning love; sometimes they go down in flames. All the observable and obvious clues: They are nicely groomed—stylish, but not overdone. As would-be romances go, this plane is very slow to leave the gate and get onto the runway. or if it will lose engine power and sit on the tarmac indefinitely. It’s true that first dates can be one of the most nerve-wracking, anxiety-producing situations in our society. What should I know about you that I’d never think to ask about? Who was your favorite schoolteacher or college professor?
Apparently the New York Times recently published a story about a study that discovered that if you put two people in a lab together where they ask each other 36 questions and then stare deeply into each others eyes, they will fall in love. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? What roles do love and affection play in your life? Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. The best communication occurs with an even and equal exchange between two people. Getting to know someone new is like peeling an onion one thin layer at the time. But some people, overeager to get into deep and meaningful conversation, go too far too fast.
Think of conversation as a tennis match in which the players lob the ball back and forth. They ask personal or sensitive questions that put the other person on the defensive. If feeling inhibited is a problem for some people, others go to the opposite extreme: they use a date as an opportunity to purge and vent.
Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s? How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?