Most people have been on awkward dates where the conversation does not flow the way it should. Whether you’re meeting for the first time or you’ve been dating a bit, there can be situations where you do not dare to go deeper in the discussion and miss the opportunity to truly know each other. To fight this, Fabien Huet developed “IceBreaker”. This app will gently lead the two partners through a mutual discovery process.
At the end of a date, you want to know who is that person in front of you. But if we are super good at telling what we do in life, where we traveled, where we studied… We are terrible at telling how we feel about all that. Even if this is what actually defines us as a human being and potential partners.
The name of the app and the mascot are from a famous cheesy self-introduction line:
– Hey, do you know how much a polar bear weighs?
– Umm no.
– Enough to break the ice apparently!
But the app intends to go further. It’s easy to say hello. And for some people, it’s easy to keep going. But for most of us… not so much. The pressure over dating is such that we often have difficulties to stop focus on how we behave and start focus on our partner like we should. IceBreaker helps with that matter. The app basically consists of a set of questions that both partners have to ask and answer. The questions and their order are from a study by Arthur Aron called “The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A procedure and some preliminary findings”. The study has been popularized by the “36 questions experiment” and the related New York Times article.
In his study, Aron tries to find the best way to help people getting close to each other. It appears that a bunch of questions exposing our subtle flaws do exactly that. He listed two categories of questions, some aim directly at the goal and some are there to let the date breathe a little. He paired volunteers to answer and ask each other these questions and then evaluated their proximity level after. Many iterations later, he had a really well-performing formula. And some of the volunteers actually became couples.
IceBreaker delivers those questions in the form of an easily accessible mobile app which can be used on a date without looking too weird. It can also be used by a committed or married couple to explore each other; you may be surprised by the results! Valentine’s day is around the corner. This is the moment to try that. The user must simply sit down with their partner, relax, swipe and answer the questions honestly. The idea is to focus 100% on the answer of your partner and to answer as fast as possible with your instincts.
The app goal is not to make people fall in love. Pretty much the opposite. It is more an accelerator. Toward an exit or a good start. You won’t circle around important topics and you will know super-fast if you should give it a chance or let it go.