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Intervention 1: Questions

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

Influenced by 36 Questions to Fall in Love study by Arthur Aron (and others) where they conducted an experiment to create closeness via a set of questions, I was curious to see if the same concept could apply to creating a bond between Gen Z and the immediate adult circle. The inspiration for the questions itself came from the game, Let's Get Closer by Intelligent Change, a game where questions increasing in intensity will create bond between people.

Activity:

1. Sit with the chosen person.

2. Write down you feel towards the other person. Be as detailed and honest as possible.

3. You do not have to show it to each other.

4. There are a set of five questions.

5. Ask these questions from each other.

6. Take turns answering. Do not speak over the other person.

7. Please give a valid answer to each question. Avoid saying ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I can’t think of anything’.

8. Write down you feel towards the other person. Be as detailed and honest as possible.

- Did you notice a difference in your perspective towards the other person from before and after the questions were asked? Please explain your answer.


Questions:

1. What is your favourite colour?

2. What is your favourite song?

3. What makes you sad?

4. What is your favourite thing about yourself?

5. How do you think people see you?


Expected results:

An understanding in the smallest way that there are actual emotions behind the person or the label ('mother' 'daughter').


The Intervention:


Participants: Loshani Nishekala and her mother.

Language: Sinhala


Mother:

Translation:

Before:

Smart mouthed.

No respect.

Talented.

Very messy and dirty.

Not obedient

Only think about herself.

Does not listen to parents.


After:

No difference.

The daughter that I know very well.

You should change and choose the right path.

Daughter:


Observations and analysis:

Mother makes jokes such as 'Are you writing an essay?'


Fav colour: Mother takes time to think and write. Loshani seemed almost proud to say her favourite colour.


Favourite song: Suddenly there was a softness in her voice talking about her song. Loshani mentions her favourite and there was no reaction from the mother.


What makes you sad?: The mother seemed sad to answer and says her life is sad. Says the father makes her sad, the children makes her sad, and says 'Does not matter what we give, if the end is sad'. She also says 'I don't think you will look after me when I'm old'. This is a very Sri Lankan cultural thing to say as in Sri Lanka it is expected that children should look after the elders.


Loshani: She mentions that she gets sad when she is compared to others. Mother doesn't want to accept it and denies. Mother says Loshani is going in the wrong path, and make comments such as 'My view is right. I'm never wrong', 'Listen to your mother', 'Respect the elders'. In the process of this, the mother compares her to another girl.


The mother also mentions that Loshani is 'fat' and 'dark'. Brings more of the culture in by mentioning that Loshani was 'pretty' before, but not 'ugly' and 'fat. She does not show any sign of empathy, but her facial expressions could possibly suggest that there is a lot of pain behind her words. Some of the advice the mother gives makes sense which shows that the information passed between the two generations could benefit each other if there is a filtering system. Mother admits she's not a smart person, and the daughter is smart, therefore she should make better decisions.


What is your favourite thing about yourself?

Mother says there is nothing about her she likes, and that she has given up on herself. Loshan says her favourite thing about herself is that she no longer gets upset by what people think of her. She says she likes who she is, and that she's happy doing what she's doing (studying animation at a design school).


Mother responds saying 'but that would make the parents sad'. While this can be seen out of context, it almost sound as if Loshani loving herself is 'wrong' and that is not what the parents want for her. Mother also says how they are attached to the children and there have been many sacrifices made, so Loshani should appreciate the sacrifices by doing exactly what the parents want. However, mother's voice breaks in this conversation, and she asks for the next question right away.


This made me wonder whether the generation beliefs that were passed down is considered 'too right' to be proven wrong by their children. As their parents gave no freedom to question orders, is that the conditioning they have received? Could there be a way that an intervention could (even slightly) shake that conditioning?


How do you think people see you?

Mother answers saying she's seen as (loosely translated) as a combination of strict and mean. Watching her tone and body language, it appears that she has accepted this is how she's known, and there is an unwillingness to change (or that she doesn't see it as an option).


Loshani says that people see her as strong, and that she can handle anything thrown her way.


Once the questions were over, the mother writes her answer of her opinion of Loshani, and walks off right away.


Actual results:

It appears that while Loshani (Gen Z) displays a form of understanding, the mother does not showcase any change. Whether this is limited to her interaction with the daughter at face value or whether her heart and mind did not have any effect from this intervention cannot be determined (limitation of the intervention). However, even within the small-scale intervention, it can be determined that the process of asking these questions can lead to an emotional conversation.


The intervention can be improved by giving more questions (such as the first two questions) where a less emotional but still illuminating exchange of information is created, and elevate the intensity at a later stage. This might build a stronger foundation for the more intense questions to be asked from each other.



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