Can 36 questions make any two people fall in love?

ABC breakfast radio host Red Symons with Monash journalism students Andrea Thiis-Evensen (left) and Matilda Boseley (right).

Three Monash University students decided to see what would happen if they each went up to a stranger and asked if they could share two hours and 36 of the most intimate questions imaginable – and let them record it for publication. 

One of the students did it on a first Tinder date. The result is Do Talk To Strangers, a podcast that tracks those conversations in full, and what happened as a result.

Listen to Do Talk To Strangers podcast here 

In the end, 11 students took on the challenge with complete strangers. The questions come from psychologist Dr Arthur Aaron, who said his 36 questions could make any two people fall in love. 

The three journalism students who started it – Andrea Thiis-Evensen, Matilda Boseley, and Sybilla Gross – said they didn’t think anyone would take up their offer, and were surprised at how easy it was to find conversation partners.

“We’re the kind of people who have always wished it was socially acceptable to ask people on the train what their biggest regret was,” Ms Boseley said.

“The 36-question format gave us this chance.”

The students spoke on ABC radio, sharing their stranger experiences with breakfast radio host Red Symons.

ABC radio’s Do Talk To Strangers segment

Ms Boseley said the student appreciated at the significance of their interviews. 

“We all thought we would interview people, we would good audio and we would move on, but those recordings are now really precious to us,” she said.

“We still can’t believe that our partners were willing to share so much with us, trusting us enough to tell us all about their families, relationships, the worst moments of their lives.”

Ms Boseley said the interviewees were supportive of the students, encouraging them, offering advice and their unbiased opinions.

“I think everyone walked away really appreciating this sort of crazy two hours of extreme vulnerability,” she said.

“Interviewing people has always been such a hard part of journalism. But now the three of us feel like we have kind of done the hardest thing, walking up to a stranger and asking them to reveal their entire lives to you and then asking them to be your friends.

“That was terrifying, so now normal interviews really don’t seem that scary.”

Listen to Do Talk To Strangers podcast here