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The purpose of the study was to achieve an accelerated sense of intimacy between strangers in only 45 minutes.

Think of conversation as a tennis match in which the players lob the ball back and forth. They ask personal or sensitive questions that put the other person on the defensive. If feeling inhibited is a problem for some people, others go to the opposite extreme: they use a date as an opportunity to purge and vent.

The two pick at their dinner salads, staring down at the leafy mound before them. Finally, one of them tries to grease the wheels of conversation. Some people consider themselves skilled communicators because they can talk endlessly.

But the ability to speak is only one part of the equation—and not the most important part.

Still, with so many other people in their twenties on dating apps, she figured she might as well give online dating a chance.

She created an account on Ok Cupid and set a challenge for herself: she would go on three dates. She actually did go on a date with a guy she met on Twitter through a mutual friend, and she met and bonded with one of her current friends through Words With Friends.