• Becca Schwenk

36 (Social Justice) Questions to Fall in Love (With their Values)

Does anyone remember those 36 Questions to Fall in Love that went viral in 2015? Did anyone fall in lasting love from cycling through the questions? We may be partial here, but we think the power of falling in love belongs on a wider scale than that of monogamous romantic relationships.

Rather, we often fall in a deep love with folks around us who motivate us, challenge us, teach us, inspire us, feed us, make us laugh… By now you’ve probably gathered that we’re talking about friends, family, lovers, all those other important folks with whom love can too be nurtured and strengthened, or even newly explored.


So, here is our alternative list of 36 questions, but with a (you guessed it) social justice twist! You can find the original questions first for reference and a bit of fun, and our revamped ones below in bold.



1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

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Given the choice of any social justice thinker/theorist/activist in the world, who would you want to have a beautiful, nourishing dinner with?



2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

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Would you like to be famous for your values, theories, or perspectives? Why or why not?



3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

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Before participating in an engaging discussion, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?



4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

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What would constitute a self-care day for you?



5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

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When did you last sing a song by a marginalized artist to yourself? To someone else?



6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

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If you were able to live to the age of 90 and receive $100 for every single ableist physical structure you encountered (ie. lack of ramps, expensive mobility aids, etc.), or receive $100 from every single time you noticed someone use ableist language, which would you choose?



7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

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Do you have a special way that you process grief?



8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

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Name three things that you have in common with your favourite social justice icon.



9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

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For which lessons in your life do you feel most grateful?



10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

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If you could unlearn anything harmful or oppressive from childhood that became internalized, what would it be?



11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

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Take as long as you need and tell your counterpart(s) the trajectory of your life as a feminist, activist, empath, etc., beginning from when you became attuned to social justice. Go into as much detail as you feel comfortable with.



12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

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If you could wake up tomorrow having significantly improved on one quality that you learned from another, what would it be and whom did you learn it from?



13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

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If spirituality or mysticism resonate with you, and one of those practices could suggest something about your future, what would you want to know?



14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

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If there’s something you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time, which systemic constraints have made it more difficult to actualize?



15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

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What is something you’ve done or theorized that you’re proud of?



16. What do you value most in a friendship?

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Without hierarchical ranking, what are a few things that feel particularly valuable to you in friendship?



17. What is your most treasured memory?

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What is a memory where you felt empowered, moved, inspired, or joyful?



18. What is your most terrible memory?

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Sharing trauma can lead to unearned feelings of closeness. With that in mind, if you feel comfortable and positive sharing a difficult moment, how can your counterpart(s) make a safer space for you to do so? Share with them when you feel ready, and breaks are encouraged.


If you don’t want to go there, trust your instincts and take good care of yourself. Alternatively, maybe tell them about an embarrassing moment or a lighthearted cringey memory!



19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

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If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, which billionaire would you redistribute resources from? Great, now that you’ve been provided with the means for some extravagant bucket list experiences, what would you want to do in your last year on earth?



20. What does friendship mean to you?

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How do you feel about the power of friendship? Do you feel this has been devalued in comparison to intimate relationships?



21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

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Do you enjoy love and affection? If so, in what ways do they nourish you most? If not, how do you wish folks would better exercise consent?



22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

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Question what you’ve been taught are positive, desirable characteristics. Now, working with your own idea of truly positive characteristics, share with your counterpart(s) some that you feel they possess. Share as many as you want!



23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

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How close do you feel with your family? This does not have to refer to a nuclear family; rather it can be your chosen family or however you connect to the concept of ‘family.’ Is getting nostalgic about childhood a positive experience for you?



24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

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How do you feel about your relationship with a parent, guardian, or mentor figure?



25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling…”

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During this time, you may not feel on the same page as your counterpart(s). Make three “I” statements each and leave room for your counterpart(s) to respond in agreement if your statement resonates with them.



26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share…”

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Fill in the blank: “I wish more folks would share these core values of mine: ______"



27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

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If you were to gain closeness with your counterpart(s), please share what would be important for them to know about you. These can be access needs, pronouns, food sensitivities, favourite books, and more!



28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

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Tell your counterpart(s) what you like about their values, activism, and/or energy. There’s no need to force intimacy before you’re ready for it, so trust your comfort levels whilst complimenting.



29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

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Share with your counterpart(s) how you have been kind to yourself or self-soothed when you felt embarrassed. Alternatively, share how you held yourself accountable if your own harmful actions led to your embarrassment. Mistakes are human. How did you learn from yours?



30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

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Does crying help you process your emotions? If not, what does?



31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

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Tell your counterpart(s) something you feel you could learn from them.



32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

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Plenty of things are too serious to joke about. Why are jokes about identity particularly harmful?



33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

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Recognizing that it is not always the best idea to say what we want to say, accounting for others’ mindsets in those moments, what do you wish you could have said to someone if you knew they were in a space to receive it?



34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

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Your home, containing special keepsakes and memorabilia, is where you will be spending lots of time as we attempt to flatten the curve. What one item carries particular significance and comfort?



35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

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Of all the people in your family (including extended and chosen family,) who would you be most disturbed to find out ran a right-wing Reddit forum?



36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

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Share some frustrations you have with mainstream society and ask how your counterpart(s) relates to them, tries to mediate their effects, and/or works to change them.



And there you have it: 36 revised questions to fall in expansive love with values, teachings, and connectedness. We could all use a little of that right now! Feel free to discuss these questions with whomever you like on your favourite virtual platform.


Check out the original source here.





























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The making of this conference, and the broader work of Cicely Blain Consulting and our co-conspirators takes place on stolen, unceded, and occupied Indigenous land including, but not limited to the land of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. 

© 2019-2020 Stratagem. Brought to you by Cicely Blain Consulting.

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