36 Questions for Closeness in Relationships

Even if you’ve been with a partner for years, there is always something to learn about them. These questions came from a study by Arthur Aron and others designed to create interpersonal closeness. (You can see the entire study here). 

In the study, Aron worked with students to measure closeness and found with more meaningful conversation (initiated by these questions) they started to feel closer to those around them.  You can use the same questions below with your sweetheart, a colleague, or your kids to start feeling closer as well!

Set I

1. When was the last time you walked for more than an hour? Describe where you went and what you saw.
2. What was the best gift you ever received and why?
3. If you had to move from California where would you go, and what would you miss the most about California?
4. How did you celebrate last Halloween?
5. Do you read a newspaper often and which do you prefer? Why?
6. What is a good number of people to have in a student household and why?
7. If you could invent a new flavor of ice cream, what would it be?
8. What is the best restaurant you’ve been to in the last month that your partner hasn’t been to? Tell your partner about it.
9. Describe the last pet you owned.
10. What is your favorite holiday? Why?
11. Tell your partner the funniest thing that ever happened to you when you were with a small child.
12. What gifts did you receive on your last birthday?

Set II

13. Describe the last time you went to the zoo.
14. Tell the names and ages of your family members, include grandparents, aunts and uncles, and where they were born (to the extent you know this information).
15. One of you say a word, the next say a word that starts with the last letter of the word just said. Do this until you have said 50 words. Any words will do-you aren’t making a sentence.
16. Do you like to get up early or stay up late? Is there anything funny that has resulted from this?
17. Where are you from? Name all of the places you’ve lived.
18. What is your favorite class at UCSC so far? Why?
19. What did you do this summer?
20. What gifts did you receive last Christmas/Hanukkah?
21. Who is your favorite actor of your own gender? Describe a favorite scene in which this person has acted.
22. What was your impression of UCSC the first time you ever came here?
23. What is the best TV show you’ve seen in the last month that your partner hasn’t seen? Tell your partner about it.
24. What is your favorite holiday? Why?


25. Where did you go to high school? What was your high school like?
26. What is the best book you’ve read in the last three months that your partner hasn’t read? Tell your partner about it.
27. What foreign country would you most like to visit? What attracts you to this place?
28. Do you prefer digital watches and clocks or the kind with hands? Why?
29. Describe your mother’s best friend.
30. What are the advantages and disadvantages of artificial Christmas trees?
31. How often do you get your hair cut? Where do you go? Have you ever had a really bad haircut experience?
32. Did you have a class pet when you were in elementary school? Do you remember the pet’s name?
33. Do you think left-handed people are more creative than right-handed people?
34. What is the last concert you saw? How many of that band’s albums do you own? Had you seen them before? Where?
35. Do you subscribe to any magazines? Which ones? What have you subscribed to in the past?
36. Were you ever in a school play? What was your role? What was the plot of the play? Did anything funny ever happen when you were on stage?

Nine Simple Ways to Build Closer Relationships

Staying in love long-term takes intentional action every day.  It doesn't have to take a lot of work, but by keeping these things in mind you'll be a dream partner to your sweetie.


Strong relationships are based on trust and accountability.  Being a great partner means owning when you've hurt someone, taking accountability, and moving forward.  Try apologizing with more clarity next time (here are a few tips).

Breathe Before Responding

Most conflicts could be resolved if we just slowed down and thought things through before reacting.  Take a breath before you respond from now moving forward and notice what shifts between you.

Take Care of Yourself

If you aren't taking care of yourself you can't properly take care of your love.  Period.  Prioritize your self-care as a means to nourish your relationship.  

Make Their Day

Stop and ask yourself, what one thing might brighten my sweetie's day- and then do it.  Maybe it's a love note, a clean house, or a special song no matter what it is we all like to enjoy a special treat once in a while.  Surprise them with something new.

Show Affection

Not all communication is verbal- having strong kinesthetic communication strengthens relationships too.  Ask your partner what their favorite kind of affection is, and then follow up by doing it.  

Think Kind Thoughts

Resentment likes to build up even without our partners' help.  Notice when you start dwelling on negative thoughts, criticisms, or complaints you have about your partner and force yourself to think nice thoughts for each negative thought you're holding.

Consider their POV

When you're in conflict make sure you take your partner's feelings and ideas into consideration.  It's going to be very difficult to move forward until you do.

Compliment Them

Often as a relationship grows we forget to tell our partner the things we love about them- specifically, in person, and with words.  Take the five seconds to nourish your relationship right now- just tell them why you love them.

Share Gratitude Openly

Strong couples share genuine appreciation and gratitude regularly.  Start a daily gratitude practice and share something you're grateful for to help you stay close.

I hope these suggestions help you create a partnership you love.  Here's a version you can print for your fridge if you want a little hanging reminder to help you get into strong practices that nurture your relationship.

positive psychology | love coach | relationship coach | couples coach | couples retreat

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC has helped thousands of couples review their growth together, and renew their connection moving forward. 

For nearly 15 years she's specialized in strengths-focused, positive psychology-based relationship advice and coaching to nurture lasting joy and and resilience in her client's relationships.  

She will help you:

  • develop a shared vision and goals- and create actionable steps to move in that direction
  • overcome outdated patterns and establish new intentional, healthy ones
  • strengthen trust or repair it after infidelity or dishonesty
  • connect in meaningful ways during and well after life transitions
  • design rituals of connection that will keep you close for many years
  • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns and learn new skills 

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.