A Very Special Dinner Guest | Questions to Fall in Love | Q1

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?

What about you, who would you like to have as a dinner guest?


  1. Good perspective, treating those 36 questions as a means to better know one self is probably more ethical than using it to manipulate or enchant another person. There is no shortcuts to building trust (closeness or intimacy) that can last the season. Happy to see that you’re spending the time & energy to take good care of your garden.
    Love & light,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree with you Jason 😄 although using one or another randomly might be interesting in a dating scenario🌷 Thanks for stopping by dear one, your words and thoughts are always refreshing ✨

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Vanessa, I love this! The teaching part speaks to me because I doubt my teaching abilities A LOT. I identified as the learner, the student for so long that I didn’t know how to be a teacher or if I’d be a good teacher, and I often find myself comparing myself to other teachers who have lots of years of experience. I’ve learned that even though I don’t know everything, there’s still so much I can offer the world. Take for example, some of my students who don’t know how to add period or capitalize words in their sentences. I rarely think of these grammar rules anymore because I’m so used to using them. I think we all have so much knowledge and experience that we can offer others! I like your question of being able to “remain open, vulnerable, curious, and most of all… human?” For my dinner guest, I would want to invite one of my uncles from Mexico :). I’d invite him because we seem to have the same ideas about spirituality/wellbeing. This summer when I visited my family there, I didn’t get the chance to talk a lot to him. But just the few days I talked to him, his positive energy and words affected me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can tell from here that you are a very good teacher. You care about giving the best to you to your students and you are always showing positive regard for them. Those two ingredients put you already on top of the list! ^_^ You are right… I tend to minimise what I know or assume because I know it other will know it too… I like the way you put it – “there’s still so much I can offer the world”. I should focus on that idea. I hope you can return to Mexico soon! It’s super cool that you have family there. Mexicans are adorable! 😀 Why not write him an invitation? 😉 Even if he can’t make the trip, I think he would love to know how you feel about him and how you would enjoy his company over dinner 🙂 😘😘

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m trying very hard, Vanessa, however, I can’t…. Well, well, well… Just as I was about to say I couldn’t think of anyone I’d like to have as a dinner guest (apart from you, and hopefully, this will happen one day) Barack Obama came to mind. I find him to be such a trustworthy, brave, sincere and super intelligent individual; I know I could listen to him for hours; his life is/has been so rich.
    Well, that was a surprise!
    What a super idea this is: I do believe I will enjoy this series; that is, if you intend to pursue the 36 questions! I’ll most certainly follow along… 😘😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah we would have a nice dinner, full of healthy options, and hopefully with a nice glass of wine 😊 subject: this world and beyond ✨ I would like to meet Barack too, although I feel the presidency took a great toll on him. I would like to meet Michele too, she looks amazing in her book cover “Becoming”, but I didn’t have a chance to have a look inside. I look forward to know your answers 💐💐💐 😘😘😘

      Liked by 1 person

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