As I begin to type these first few words, not knowing exactly how this post is going to flow, I can’t stop laughing in my head. Before I tell you why, let me explain though what are these “Questions to Fall in Love” all about.
A few days (weeks, maybe a month, you know I’m not good with temporal limits), I came across a very interesting Psychology study on Stephan’s blog Stories of a Colorful Life. The study consisted in finding out whether it would be possible to create closeness (I prefer the word intimacy to be honest) between strangers, using a set of 36 questions (e.g. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?).
These questions were thought to accelerate and facilitate the process of meeting someone and establishing a deeper bond, something that is very difficult to achieve nowadays in this post-post-modern era (I addressed current issues with dating here on the blog, you may want to check it out here). Avoiding my technical brain here and any comment on methodology, I must say I absolutely adored the idea of the study, and inspired by Stephan I decided to dedicate a blog post to each question.
FUN FACT: Apparently, two people fell in love in the lab while participating in the study. They ended up marrying six months later and the whole lab was invited to the wedding!
Now, the reason why I was laughing in my own head is that, as some of you might not know (but I’m sure you do…), I’m an expert on dating apps and failed relationships (*insert irony tone here*). I can probably recognise any dating app or website that you may tell me about. Why? Well, the sad truth is that I always ran to them whenever I felt like fixing my heart. So let me tell you beforehand that if you are having the same idea, if you are thinking about trying online dating right after a break up… just don’t do it, because it doesn’t work, it only makes things messier. For now just trust me, and later on we can come back to this topic, because there is much to say about it!
Another reason why I was laughing is that I once read an article about using a couple of interesting questions on a date to find out whether two people were a good match in the long term or not. The list was not as huge as the one from the Psychology study I mentioned but still… they were too many. Questions included “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” and “What makes you happy?”. I tried to use them once, but to be honest it didn’t work out very well. Let’s be real, it is pretty weird to start asking this kind of questions on a first date! Ok, if you are a psychologist, people will already expect that you are a ‘bit’ of a weirdo, but I don’t know what excuse can other people find… (insert *sarcasm* here).
So… my aim with these blog posts around the 36 questions is not to fall in love but to know myself a little bit better. Right now I’m focusing on what I’m going to do with myself rather than wasting precious time scrolling down or swiping left/right on my phone, looking for Mr. Right.
Moving beyond my explanation, let me then start with the first question on the set:
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
What a great question to start with. Sharing a meal with someone and having a real interesting conversation is one of the things that makes me the happiest person in the world. And when I read this question for the first time, the fist name that came to my mind was… Dalai Lama.
I never had a chance to listen to him live but I never miss the opportunity to watch his teachings or read his books whenever I can. I left a couple of his books in Canterbury but I look forward to reread the two Portuguese editions I had left in Lisbon: one is about life in general and another about job satisfaction and serenity at work.
Each time I read one of Dalai Lama’s books is like coming back to a very special place within the cosmos. It’s like we communicate in the same language although we certainly have cultural and language differences. That is not all, however. I really admire his attitude and way of being. He is someone very intelligent, but he his not arrogant or dogmatic. He is kind and compassionate. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, he will listen to you as if you were a source of wonder. He will make you feel ‘seen’, ‘heard’.
Another of my favourite things about him is his ability to remain curious, open, and childlike. That’s the way of being I try to cultivate within myself and that’s probably one of the reasons why I never moved forward too fast with my teaching, writing and speaking projects. I always think there is still so much that I don’t know, how can I teach anything to anyone?
I always feel like I have no moral to even want to teach somebody. I see teaching as a leadership position and any leadership position holds the risk of making people blindly accept what they are told. Maybe that’s it, I’m scared of having that responsibility. I like people to think for themselves and I believe Dalai Lama is a great example of leader and teacher: he guides, but he will never make you feel that you know less than him. He will empower you to think with your own brain. Thus, if Dalai Lama was my dinner guest, I think that’s one of the things I would like to discuss with him: how to be a leader, a teacher, and still remain open, vulnerable, curious, and most of all… human?