Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Show HN: App for Falling in Love (loveactualized.com)
252 points by ada1981 on Jan 11, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 116 comments

I was so impressed with the NYTimes article I saw posted this morning about a study done on strangers falling in love, that I took the questions from the original study and built an app / game. Should be a great tool for first dates or for fun with your lover. Enjoy!

The inspiration was this thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8866933

"most terrible memory"

Yeah, there's a fun one for a first date. Seriously how do you handle that question? Some people have had very bad things happen to them.

I'm imagining how I would look/act and how my date would look/act upon seeing that question. I think the use of that question is not in communicating the information of the most terrible memory, but rather in seeing your partner feel sad, then empathizing with him/her.

This helps create a climate of intimacy and trust, regardless of the answer to the question.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the questions and I plan to do this.

Delish! Awesome. Do you think you would use the app? Or prefer to just have a list of questions? Would love to get your feedback for some press inquiries we are getting!

I much prefer the app because me and my partner can't look at anything save the question and each other. Time, space and relationship: There's only the present question and the present partner.

I read the questions on your app without having read the list of questions on NYT or github. When I read those questions (by myself), I was filled with anticipation and not fear or apprehension. I think this is because your app and these questions pre-structure disclosure in an environment of symmetric experience. This is really important and I could talk more about this.

You can feel free to email me at zlrthn mouse geemail (replace mouse with @ and fix geemail). I haven't gone through the app with a potential partner but I'll let you know when I do.

Thank you for doing this. Made my day.

Great feedback. I'd love to talk with you more about this when the neurotransmitters are replenished in my brain after some sleep. :)

"My most terrible memory is the repeated rapes my father subjected me to from the age of 9 to 13"

It's weird that you think a first date is a suitable date to go poking around in stuff like that or that a first date could possibly do any meaningful empathising.

I understand the design of this question (edit: an perhaps the whole exercise) as making a tradeoff between providing an opportunity for two average persons to bond strongly and being appropriate for everybody in favor of the former. The average person's most terrible memory, I would wager, is something easier to share in a way that encourages intimacy, namely losing loved ones, injury and personal failure.

Well, relationships are about sharing the darker sides too.

That said, if you don't want to talk about it, say so. Or give only a very brief summary without going into detail ("my $relative died very slowly from cancer", "I had an abusive partner", ...).

The difficulty is that sometimes memories are not fun and it's hard to dissemble and move on. I had a tinder date last year and for some reason I was put in a position where it was necessary to explain that my father had died recently. I couldn't avoid memories flooding back, and could only apologise whilst I tried to control my thoughts and move on.

That stinted conversation for a good 30 minutes and honestly I nearly just walked away because it was so goddamned uncomfortable. I don't want to share that kind of pain with a stranger. Maybe once I've known someone for a few months I'd feel happy doing so.

Does it say somewhere that this tool is for a "first date"?

This is actually a great question. Some similar questions I have asked my partners:

* Tell me a secret

* Tell me your most embarrassing moment

* Tell me something bad about you

I remember a girl answering "my mother is crazy" to the first question.

The point of those questions are to deeply open yourself to the other. Share intimate moments. Create complicity. And in OP's tool it will also be about having an emotional roller-coaster (since it mixes happy questions with sad questions). Which as I've heard is the best way to get to someone's heart (debatable).

OP suggested it for a first date in the parent comment, but the author of the questions did not. I'd say it'd be good for a third date or later, otherwise you're very likely to scare off the person or get something sanitized (thus reducing intimacy).

OP just sounds dangerously optimistic and cheerful about probing into each others' psyches. "Love Actualized"? More like air out your dirty laundry and hope the other person's ok with it.

The questions get progressively more intimate. No reason to finish all 36 questions in one go. Certainly some of the earlier questions are appropriate for a first date.

"Deciding to go on a first date with you." :) I thought that was an intense question. But I also see how, why not? Also, in the context that you've built some trust with this person, you might give people space to communicate things they haven't felt safe experiencing.

I should probably create an accompanying course on how to hold space for someone and to create a safe, empathic environment.

I've had that question used on me in a scientology clinic. I assume it opens one up to new suggestions.

LOL, I've been doing the same thing tonight. Funny that I found this afterward.

How did you approach it?

You work fast my man. I saw the post and read the article when it popped up on HN. Well done.


wow, you are fast

Funny.. Some people are like "this took you all day!" others say it was fast... I felt like it was taking me forever, but looking back feel like I got a lot done.. today feels much slower and I'm a bit frozen with decisions to make...

Good work, would be great if both partners could submit their answers online separately, which then generates a page where they can compare the results together.

You're missing the point - this is something that is done on a date as a sorta really long icebreaker that tells you right away if this person is someone you could spend a lot of time with, this replaces those awkward first date questions because neither one of you has to think them up, they're someone else's and you're just "following the rules" but at the same time they're a fun thing to do.

I'm thinking of including an easter egg that unlocks a slide saying "Kiss each other" after the eye gazing ;)

Ah yes, my favorite call-to-action.

Added... http://imgur.com/6mI0NzN Let me know if you find it ;)

That would completely defeat the object. The point of this exercise is not the transfer of information, but the practice of intimacy.

Curious if there is an application for LD relationships.. Surely you could do this over facetime with a lover. Would be an interesting study actually, and fairly easy to design.

Could you simulate intimacy with a bot? Simply ask these questions and give feedback like you are listening and when asked questions, have some scripted responses.

Maybe a plugin for Siri :)

LD relationships, at this point, are not much different to F2F relationships, in my experience. If anything, the use of asynch comms (meeting via PMs, for example), means that conversations get to intimate details faster, because people involved have a little more time to be the person they want to be, rather than a jibbering bag of dating nerves. Less of that underlying ambience of subdued panic, that is common in F2F dating.

You could absolutely simulate intimacy, yes. But it would be as satisfying and useful as a digital ice-cream simulation.

The point is for folks to do it in person -- as an in person game. I figured people could fire up an iphone while at dinner and play. But would be cool to be able to invite your partner for an online only version.

Perhaps I could have people chose to play online or play in person.

Yeah, definitely keep how it currently works but the ability to do it separately too would be neat.

I just realized that yesterday was the to-the-day 1 year anniversary of my girlfriend of 3 years dumping me in Palo Alto (via email) the day after she told me she could see us married and happy together (ouch!). Woke up, read HackerNews, and had this insatiable urge to blow off everything I had on my plate for PRMatch.com and code this sucker up. So grateful for all the praise / support / people using it and signing up for more free relationship tools.

Looking forward to some wedding photos!

xo, Anthony

It's heartening to see you moved beyond that painful experience and didn't let it make you bitter. I love that you are still optimistic about love. Best wishes! Hope you find what you are looking for.

Wow, that's cold! Any idea what caused her change of heart?

Sounds like she was thinking about their future 'she could see us...' And ultimately decided she wasn't going to marry him.

At some point I'll write about it -- but she said she was terrified her family would cut her off because they had a particular idea of a guy she was supposed to be with. It was pretty intense and I went back to her again and again, but ultimately -- we lacked the context to navigate it together.

I have an idea for an experiment: take this to the UN and have two quarreling diplomats go through the process with each other. Next step - world peace.

I'm sort of curious how you imagine these quarrels actually go. "You sent tanks into my territory." "It's my territory!" "Let's use a dating app." "I love you, man."

I think it's a great idea. I'm certain there is an application of this for conflict resolution. Guided conversation apps for specific situations.

You should definitely still add the "kiss each other" easter egg in this application :P

Added. See my earlier comment..


Let me know if you find it.

I see, that's awesome :)

Zuck just liked this. Congratulations! https://i.imgur.com/BJHPU4w.png (and enjoy in in-flow of traffic)

Thanks! Missed this one.

Is the premise really that just the exercise alone produces the result? Wouldn't two people who were totally repulsed by each other's answers not fall in love? What about people who were just lukewarm towards each other's answers?

If that's the case, how does this idea allude to anything other than the concept that two people who generally get along with each other, and were already predisposed to liking each other in the first place, would develop feelings for each other after spending a few hours conversing and learning about each other?

The paper linked from the article goes into this a bit. (Though I just skimmed it.) The authors started by thinking people who had similar answers would be more attracted, but found that wasn't the case. Just the act of opening up seems to provide the effect.

Highlighted in purple on page 367:

"Overall, these data suggest that matching in terms of not disagreeing on important attitudes or leading subjects to believe that they and their partners will like each other probably has little impact on the overall closeness subjects achieve through this procedure, or even on their mutual attraction. "


Super interesting isn't it? Looking forward to doing some experiments with this tool.

The eye gazing alone is incredibly powerful if you know how to do it properly -- you can dissolve through a ton of projections that normally interfere with someone.

I had the experience of eye gazing with a woman this fall, and the moment we saw each other, we both had the experience of "this is my husband/wife" -- we dated for a couple months, though she had a bf so that was sort of tricky and I decided I needed to take space to let her sort that out.

As for the questions, most people have a very low level of intimate conversation -- Level 1 (of 5), where they mostly discuss facts about things, the world, etc. This moves them up into higher level intimate conversations.

Also, a big part of attraction is feeling safe, on a deeper level, so actively moving to deeper levels and being vulnerable together will bond people.

Will this work if you hate the person or have no attraction at all? Maybe not, but it can be a huge catalyst for newly dating people or long term couples.

In my workshops I've had women say they had more sustained eye contact in 3 minutes than they've had in their entire 20 year marriage. Powerful stuff.

Thanks for the feedback!

Interesting comment. I need to go home and do some gazing.

I like the "grab a partner" as if it doesn't matter who.

I kind of want to try this with someone from a gender I'm not sexually attracted to who is also not sexually attracted to my gender. I'm assuming we'd just end up closer friends.

Or gay.

Or straight, depending on where you started.

But much of this thread is assuming "in love" (in the sense this practice purportedly produces) is a state that is inherently linked to sexuality. I'm not sure whether or not that's the case.

Ancient Greek had four words for love, only one of which meant the love a man has for his wife. There was also the love of family, the love of friendship, and the love of spirit. CS Lewis gives a great lecture on the Greek ideals of love, here, https://medium.com/message/radically-renovate-your-relations...

Well, tightly connecting it to sexuality carries an implicit assertion that asexual people cannot love (or be "in love"). Seems untenable.

It might motivate the assumption, but it doesn't have to be the case. One can imagine a model where there is some fact about a person that determines who they can fall in love with, and that hetero-, homo-, and bisexuality fall out of that for people with interest in sex, but which is still present but possibly less observable for asexual people. I have no particular confidence that this matches reality well at all, but it should be enough to show that there's no logical implication...

right, what about bro love?

Or best bros/sisters forever.

That might or might not fall under "just [...] closer friends".


Friendstrap looks awesome!

Awesome to see this! After reading the article, I too thought about making an app for it, but kudos to you for beating me to the punch.

I might suggest making a native app though. Several developers made an absolute killing off their native versions of the NYT's 7 minute workout article (eventually pushing the NYT to release their own app).

Releasing it in the next day or so in app store ;)

Did not have desired result. However, it did reveal that my parter was a replicant.

I appreciate this for the same reason I appreciate metasploit.

Yeah. I think of this fall-in-love trick as a sort of hack. It's certainly not how we expect humans to work. Like metasploit, this service takes full advantage of the vulnerability to bring it to light. Not that there's much that can be done about it.

I found this study a few years ago, I met a women where i was working told hr about it. A few weeks later I got the courage to ask her out on a date, (She accepted :) and we did the 36 questions together - a year later we are now married. It's such a powerful thing to do with someone you have just met.

Found this as well if anyone is interested - they have made a film about the study in down under Australia, says online it comes out in 2015, heres the link:




can you email me? I'd love to talk to you more about your experience...


I'm the creator of LoveActualize.com

Bug: On Nokia N900's MicroB browser on each step forward or backward it jumps over one question, effectively skipping half of them in total.

I'm aware that it's a really old engine (from somewhere around Firefox 3.5 times), but it sounds like something trivial to fix.

I really like the carousel. Nevertheless, for those that are too lazy to click 36 times:

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

Would you like to be famous? In what way?

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

What would constitute a "perfect" day for you?

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

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?

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

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

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

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

Take 4 minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

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

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

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

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

What do you value most in a friendship?

What is your most treasured memory?

What is your most terrible memory?

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

What does friendship mean to you?

What roles do love and affection play in your life?

Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of 5 items.

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

How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Make 3 true "we" statements each. For instance "We are both in this room feeling ... "

Complete this sentence: "I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... "

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

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.

Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

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

Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

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

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?

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?

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

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.

Almost done. Now silently look into your partners eyes for 4 Minutes.

Congrats! You're in love! :)

where are the interview answers? it's no good just having the questions, I won't know what to say!

I will post this list in the app so it's pretty and easily accessible from one's pocket. Added to the features list.

Here's an alternative version featuring random questions: http://www.fallinloveapp.com

Since I'd already started my own version before seeing this, decided to release it anyways. Quite similar, though mine is integrated into more of a story/post format.


Whilst I appreciate that it may not always be easy to create significant 'chat' on a first date and an app like this enables two people to enter into questions which would otherwise not be asked and through the safety of a third party arbiter, does it not enhance the way our culture arbitrarily relates to love as something that is possible to manufacture and causes no risk to the individual? An "app for falling in love"!!! The safety of these generic questions and the way they avert an danger of imaginative import from either party effectively over throws the possibility of the fall (i.e. risk, danger, ingenuity) required to fall in love. Zizek recently compared online dating and modern dating techniques (like this) to arranged marriages: neither allow for the individual risk to fall in love (become something other than they are through love) as both are moderated by an all powerful other, on the one hand the parents with their infinite gaze into our lives and on the other the normative values of our society that we find no way of freeing ourselves from if we try to enter into love through the reproduction of cliches like this app encourages us to.

You lost me at "whilst". OK, not really, but your writing reads like an audition to a contest I'm not holding. Why not just say, "taking risks in love frees us and this app doesn't do that"?

Quickly looked over it. Needs spellcheck.

It's possible I'm mildly dyslexic as my spelling is terrible. Thanks for the reminder I need extra eyes to get this production ready.. Also, been grinding all day. Thanks for checking it out!

To help you out, "Couples therapists estimate that only 5% of relationships ever break out of the power struggle and into true intimacy and self _actulization_." s/actu/actua/ I guess? In the page titled "Warning!".

Thank you so much! Been on a product bender for 36 hours and now have media stuff popping. Fun times in the Love Lab ;)

At the risk of my servers being breached / destroyed... I've embedded an easter egg for you guys.. If you unlocked it, it will add an extra final slide that should be useful for first dates ;)



It says "a gift to all humans", but http://loveactualized.com/robots.txt does not appear to deny the gift to robots!

hahaha... humans are a subset of the superset of who the gift is for.

> Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of 5 items.

Could someone explain this question to me?

Add the space so it shows up in the Show HN tab.


Any chance this is open-source? I'd love to translate it to Spanish, at a request of my non-English speaking friend.

Ok I set up a google doc where you can translate the questions if you'd like to translate.. We will credit the folks who help translate. For now anyone with the link can edit..


Not open source but I've had some people send me translations which I will implement if you'd like to send them to me - anthony@175g.com or we can talk more.. thanks.

That was quick.

I was sprinting all day to crank it out! Think I started around 11am and went live 11pm. Thanks for checking it out.

Can you write up here what you had to do?

The reason I ask is I immediately thought, "Hey it's just a list of questions, and a way to move between pages. Shouldn't take more than an hour." But software projects are often underestimated. What took you 12 ??

I'm not the OP (and, btw, would love to hear the real answer) but having been through the exact same process (both the "it should only take an hour" and "wow how did that take 12 hours?" parts), here's my general answer:

Some things just take way longer than we think they will. Sometimes it's sheer mis-estimation (setting up the basic CSS style sheet, getting the layout to look nice, getting the transitions working properly, etc. all seem simple but still require raw time and effort), and sometimes it's just that nasty bit that _should_ be easy and just ends up not being easy ("why isn't the DIV centering??") and you blink and 3 hours have gone by. And that part should have taken 30 seconds.

So it no longer surprises me when things that should be simple end up taking 10 or 100x as long.

BTW - fantastic article on this subject I read recently:


That all being said - OP - would love to hear about your process.

YES.. I'm also more of a hack than a hacker so I often have to relearn stuff and nuance. Today my tech cofounder from PRMatch.com forced me to goto sleep and basically said he was going to do the ios / android apps.

Exactly what I was going to say.

It would be interesting to see how much traffic spiked after Mark Zuckerberg liked it. Do you have any data?

I missed the Zuck like. Happy to share a snapshot of the traffic if I can find the timestamp.

Suggestion: rename it as "The Love App". Easier to remember, better for media.

I set up a $150 Reward Namestorm™ over at Bootname.com to see what happens to float through. Put a buck-fiddy in there as a thanks to the community to see what we come up with.


Bootname is a site that runs crowdsourced name brainstorming contests aka "Namestorms" and is a Codective Ventures Portfolio company of which I am co-founder.

I wonder how well some of these questions could be adapted for job interviews.

I fucking hate you guys. We're both crying now.

This game sucks.

That can be a good thing to process difficult emotions together.

www.peeps.club connects people (around NYC) biweekly to exchange these 36 questions in person, one on one.

I enjoyed that article too. Bravo.

Was this made in one day?

Started about 11am yesterday, and I think it went live around 2am today. Then stayed up polishing it and then there was a ton of comments online to answer.

"Perfect for a first date"? Taking a 90 minute computer quiz? Snort.

Idea is that you'd have the app running and actually have the conversations. I'd be excited to try it out.

Sad that we need an app to fall in love now ... kudos for making the app though

You clearly commented on a title alone.

Go and read the NYT article linked from the app's page.

There was no golden age of analog love. Love needs all the help it can get.

Did you ever read the book Wired Love? It's about two telegraph operators falling in love via morse code. It's from the late 1800's.


My sense is this could be a really fun first date ritual for people.

Seems pretty heavy to me for a first date - perhaps if you follow "fail fast" reasoning then it's perfect?

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact