Season of love?

Season of love?

Hannah Lentz and Maddie Forshee

As everyone is well aware of, Valentine’s Day has come and (thankfully) gone. The endless aisles of cards, candy and flowers in grocery stores, the gift displays in the windows of shops and the god-awful commercials promoting what is a glorified Hallmark holiday all serve as a reminder that everybody is in a relationship except you.

In the spirit of the season of love, we tried to force people to fall in love with us. Well, sort of.

Last February, the New York Times published a series of 36 questions that supposedly make people fall in love with each other. The idea is that the questions would create a connection with the two participants and through this mutual vulnerability, they will forge emotions for each other that very well might be love.

Our rules were simple. Do the exercise with two people with whom we have two different relationships. Maddie chose a good friend and a coworker, while Hannah chose a stranger and a coworker. See what happens.



Using one word, I can sum up my flirting style almost completely: awkward.

To understand what the questionnaire process was like for someone who once asked a tall male how high his ceilings were in an attempt to make conversation, I’m going to explain how the whole thing worked.

The questions you ask your partner start out looking at the surface of each person. “If you could invite anyone in the world to dinner, who would it be.” These questions are classic ice breakers that any college student would recognize from the first day of classes.

The next section moves to move in-depth questions about your childhood, your dreams etc.

The last section really goes for it — there are a lot of awkward pauses and questions you may not have even thought about.

Okay, so I think you get the picture. Here’s what I found after my attempts to fall in love (no promises, mom):

1. If there’s one thing that will make you form a connection with someone, it’s staring into each other’s eyes for four minutes

One part of the “quiz” has you stare into each other’s eyes for a prolonged period of time. If there’s one thing that will bring out your awkwardness, this is it. We’re all told that eye contact is key and after doing this, I can see why. When you make eye contact with someone, you are forced to only pay attention to them. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing, it’s the truth.

2. I’m really bad at taking compliments

Throughout the experiment, there are several questions that focus on you telling your partner what you like about them. We’re used to getting compliments from our family and close friends, but it seems odd when someone you don’t know as well tells you they like your smile. But, honestly, it got me to thinking, why don’t we give each other compliments more? Compliments make you feel great and are a great way to form a connection with someone. The next time you notice something you like about someone, let them know, if you’re lucky, they’ll think you’re cute too.

3. Don’t hide from yourself

If you find yourself wanting to quote Star Wars in conversation, you should definitely do it. The most enjoyable conversations I had during these interviews were when both of us were being ourselves. The things I remember the most about my partners were the quirks and random facts that stemmed from our conversations. Yeah, it might seem weird to bring up your thoughts on the Marvel franchise when you’re “looking for love” but it could be a great conversation starter.


With both stranger A and coworker B, there were topics that we focused on more than the others. When you are asked questions about every aspect of your life, you’re bound to find a common connection and that’s where the real bond starts. People are attracted to people who feel strongly about things, confidence is key. Although no “final rose” has been dropped at my doorstep, this experiment has showed me that you should take risks when the opportunity arises. These risks don’t need to involve looking for love, but you should take the time to get to know someone when you have the chance, because you never know what you’ll find out. In the worst case scenario, this at least gives you the opportunity to tell your mom that yes, you are “putting yourself out there.”


I’m generally an open person, and that’s reflected in most areas of my life, including my love life. My flirting style is essentially nonexistent, as I tend to be unabashedly honest to whomever I’m talking to. This exercise exemplified and capitalized on that.

While I think that no question is really unwarranted in the right situation (do I sound like a journalist, or what?), I was taken aback at just how deep some of these questions got, and was surprised at the reactions that I got.

Before starting this exercise, I had very high hopes that I would learn more about the people that I was talking to, and I came away satisfied. The setting and time of day influenced the answers, but all in all, it was a good time. 10/10 of me would recommend this for everyone.

There were a few things that I took away from trying to make random men fall in love with me (alas, unsuccessfully):

1. Telling someone over and over why you like them can be weird

Alternatively titled: The most obvious takeaway ever.

Throughout the exercise, there were little “activities” and prompts for each of us to go back and forth and say either something we like about each other or something that we are feeling for each other. With my coworker, it was very repetitive due to the lack of knowledge that we have about each other. Sure, I could tell him that I like his confidence or he could tell me that he liked my attitude, but being prompted to say similar things a few times throughout the process got a little tiring. For the sake of professionalism, neither of us complimented each other’s appearance when we were prompted, which probably would have made it even weirder. We both agreed that there’s only so much to say about each other, personally or professionally.

When it came to sitting with one of my closest friends, telling each other things that we like about each other was nice. So often, you take your friends for granted and never reflect on the reasons behind why you’re friends, so verbalizing what you enjoy about their personality can really make you appreciate their friendship.

2. Don’t be afraid to open up

This sort of plays off Hannah’s “Don’t hide from yourself” point that she made. Many of these questions were really introspective, and as I would answer them, I’d find myself editing my answers as I went. I think that this point is more for myself in my personal life: It’s okay to let people in. Talk about deep stuff, have these conversations outside of spaces where they’re prompted. It feels good.

3. Forget the comfort zone

This was obviously a pretty uncomfortable exercise, if I’m being completely honest. From talking with someone whom I know at a very surface level to someone whom I’ve known for over three years, it was still weird to be so open and honest in that moment.

After both conversations were over, though, we reflected on how we felt and both times, we agreed that it was a good talk. Both guys reiterated to me that taking a little while to have this deep conversation was actually kind of cool (guys are actually in touch with their emotions, who would have thought?), and that they enjoyed it. Maybe that’s just a testament to how cool I am. Probably not.

Final reflection:

Though I didn’t end up with two new potential love interests (sorry mom), I did end up with a much deeper bond with one of my close friends and a better understanding of someone with whom I spend a lot of time at a desk with, at the very least. I think that, while this exercise is meant for people who don’t know each other, it’s a great move for friends to have some interesting conversations with each other. I appreciate where both of my friends (I can now confidently say that my coworker is now my friend, regardless of how much I forced him to open up to me) are coming from now and can understand them better, which will lead to much more genuine friendship in the end.


We both agree that putting ourselves out there in any context was beneficial in one way or another. And maybe that’s what the “season of love” is about – even if we didn’t end up in love with random people, we still consider ourselves successful.