Once upon a time, I took a Landmark Education class, in which we were told to silently hold eye contact with a stranger for 5 minutes. I did the exercise twice.
Once, I was paired with a woman 25 years older, and by the end of the exercise, I wanted to kiss her. Why? Probably because the only people I’ve ever looked at for that long are people I’ve kissed.
The next time, I was paired with a guy. The beginning felt like a boxing staredown – the other man gazing coolly into my eyes as if itching for a fight. I couldn’t help but to smile at how he was trying to exude toughness in an exercise designed to foster intimacy. Thankfully, by the end of 5 minutes, no punches were exchanged (no kisses either), but we did feel artificially close, even without exchanging any words.
Which brings me to the point of today’s post. If you’re a New York Times reader, or, more likely, a regular on Facebook, you’ve probably seen this Modern Love piece from a few weeks back. It’s an audacious concept that asserts that we can fall in love just by holding eye contact and asking a series of increasingly intimate questions.
You want to create an intimate bond with a man? Look into his eyes, be authentic, listen to his stories with intent, and share without fear.
The author, Mandy Len Catron, tried this experiment by Dr. Arthur Aron, on a colleague at the university at which she was employed, and, sure enough, fell in love with him.
It makes for a great story, even if it’s somewhat anomalous, as the author acknowledges.
“It’s true you can’t choose who loves you, although I’ve spent years hoping otherwise, and you can’t create romantic feelings based on convenience alone. Science tells us biology matters; our pheromones and hormones do a lot of work behind the scenes.
But despite all this, I’ve begun to think love is a more pliable thing than we make it out to be. Arthur Aron’s study taught me that it’s possible – simple, even – to generate trust and intimacy, the feelings love needs to thrive.
Love didn’t happen to us. We’re in love because we each made the choice to be.”
Your takeaway should not be to grab your crush, stare into his eyes and demand he take a 36-question quiz with you, but rather, to realize that love is predicated on trust, vulnerability, mutual sharing, and emotional intimacy.
You want to create an intimate bond with a man? Look into his eyes, be authentic, listen to his stories with intent, and share without fear. Who knows? You may not fall in love, but at least you’ll have a great date.
Your thoughts, below, are always appreciated.