A Vancouver-based author, who penned a widely popular essay about falling in love through asking a series of questions, says all her research into love and intimacy boils down to one simple thing: kindness.

"Being kind to other people, showing compassion and generosity … there's tons of research to suggest that we all benefit from it," Mandy Len Catron told the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday.

Catron is best known for her 2015 essay on modern love called To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This, which appeared in the New York Times. The article was the result of Catron's own experiment, based on a theory by psychologist Aurthur Aron, who suggested a pair of strangers could fall in love by asking each other a set of 36 increasingly personal questions, followed by staring into each other's eyes for four minutes.

Catron said she was skeptical when she first read about Aron's study, but was intrigued enough to give it a go.

"I didn't think, oh, I'm definitely going to fall in love with this person. I just thought, I feel this interesting closeness with this person and that's kind of cool, and we'll see what that becomes," she said.

"Basically, it accelerates a process that might otherwise take weeks or even a few months otherwise."

Experiment a success

The experiment actually worked for Catron and subject, who is now her partner.

She said the intimacy involved with the experiment was a vastly different experience than from what she encountered through online dating.

"In the era of online dating, we now have access to a lot more potential partners, which is a great thing. But often that access feels really superficial and we don't get these deep, intimate connections that we really want."

"I think everybody just wants to be known and to feel understood by someone else. And I think the thing that this study offers is that possibility," she said.

Catron's article is now part of a larger book of essays about love and relationships, simply titled How to Fall in Love with Anyone.

She will be in Calgary this Friday and Saturday as part of Wordfest.


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener