Psychology Professor Dan McAdams has studied what it takes to truly know someone. He believes there are “three levels of knowing” and that these are the three stages people progress through to become intimate friends, lovers, or companions.
The Science of Intimacy
At this level, you get to know someone’s general personality traits. Specifically, where they fall on the Big 5 spectrum: how high or low they are in Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.
Level 1: General Traits
This is where someone gets to know a person’s goals, values, and motivations.
Level 2: Personal Concerns
Finally, when you truly know someone, you know the stories they tell themselves about themselves.
Level 3: Self-Narrative
The 15 Questions
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? 2. Would you like to be famous? In what way? 3. Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you’re going to say? Why? 4. What would constitute a perfect day for you? 5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? 7. What do you value most in a friendship? 8. What is your most treasured memory? 9. What is your most terrible memory? 10. What does friendship mean to you?
11. Tell your partner what you like about them: Be honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met. 12. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life. 13. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself? 14. Tell your partner something that you like about them already. 15. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
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