Easing out the awkwardness of first meetings in arranged marriages

Arranged marriage is the leading norm of matrimony when it comes to Indian society. There has been a steady growth in the popularity of free-choice weddings, but arranged wedlock still wins. The debate over which is better is a perpetual one. The general arranged marriage first meeting between prospective partners is always awkward in a typical arranged setting. So, how about trying to ease the awkwardness into calmness. Let’s talk about that.

To make the awkward encounter less awkward, here are some tips which will put you at ease.

1) Go Well-Dressed And Well-Prepared

You must have heard this umpteen number of times but first impressions seriously make a lasting impression (if not the ‘last impression’). Before the other person hears your voice, he/she is going to notice your attire, how well groomed you are etc. Begin your arranged marriage first meeting by dressing up well for it. If you can get some insider information about the other person’s preferences then maybe you can prepare yourself better. Make a mental note of all the things you intend to ask, and how would you tackle questions posed to you as well.

2) Set Up A Comfortable Atmosphere

Once you meet up, you must ensure that it is a comfortable atmosphere for both of you. After all, you want to ensure that you and your prospective life partner are able to ask all the relevant questions without any hiccups. Since it’s the arranged marriage first meeting, you can meet at a place where you both are comfortable.

3) It Is Not A Job Interview!

This is more applicable to men than women. Most men tend to treat the arranged marriage first meeting as an interview to find the right person for the vacancy of a life partner. Try treating the girl as a ‘candidate’ and you are assured she will never call back. Instead, the best way to approach the first meeting is as if it was a first date. You will never let any unnecessary stiff overtones take over the moment yet stay sophisticated like you would on your first date. It is also a great way to lighten the atmosphere since after all you are strangers.

4) Start With A Light-Hearted Comment/Question

Do not barge in with a string of convoluted questions. Instead, begin your conversation with a general comment. For example, if the venue is his/her relative’s house, you can share how lovely the house is. One of the best general conversation-starter is a comment on that day’s traffic or weather. It might seem trivial but it is THE easiest and safest means of at least kicking off a conversation.

5) Begin With Stock Questions

Most couples end up starting their core arranged marriage first meeting with the obvious questions like ‘What is your hobby?’ blah blah blah. These questions may seem very routine but are actually a great way to develop some initial impressions about the other person. Also, they help you buy some time since in an arranged marriage scenario it is quite likely you may know the answers to these questions. If you are the one being quizzed, then focus on biographical points that matter, and don’t list down your entire life story.

6) Ask About His/Her Opinion On Marriage

One of the most important things you need to know in an arranged marriage first meeting, is the other person’s opinion about marriage. You can best do this by sharing why you agreed for the meeting. Maybe you found that the person’s hobbies match yours, and thus decided to meet. You can then observe how that person reacts. It could be that the other individual may have been cajoled to attend the meeting with you, and may not have genuine interest. Questions pertaining to marriage and wedlock will be a great way to discern that.

7) Discuss About Families In Your Conversation

You will make each other feel more comfortable in the arranged marriage first meeting when you share some nuances about your family as well. It could be something like how your aunt found him/her to be quite talented, and that you quite agreed with the point. Get the hint? Face it, arranged marriage is more about family ties than just two individuals entering into wedlock. Having a family-related talk will definitely help build a nice pace.

8) Keep A Mental Log Of Questions Answered

Keep a log of the questions that have been answered so that you don’t end up asking them again, even indirectly. Often, asking questions from a mental list leads to a common problem. Wonder what it is? Take a look at the next tip.

9) Do Not Talk Like Reading From A Script

In other words, do not be a wordbot reading out from a list prepared beforehand. Be natural in your approach; it should be two human beings talking to each other, and not some webpage asking for biodata.

10) Smile!

One of the best means of not looking too mechanical is to smile whenever necessary. Often, due to the nature of the situation, we get so lost in our thoughts that it is only later we realise that we hardly gave a genuine smile. Make it a point to smile at the right moment in the right manner. This will reassure the other person that you are mentally present in the arranged marriage first meeting.

11) Be Courteous But Don’t Go Overboard

It is good to pull the chair for the lady when she arrives but rushing ahead of her to open her car door is definitely going to make you look weird. It is good to be courteous in your first meeting but you must also make sure that you don’t overdo it. Over-courteous behaviour may come across as artificial in nature.

12) Be Your Normal Self

It is the simple solution to the previous dilemma. In case you do not know how far you need to extend your courtesy, then stick to being your natural self. This means being polite and courteous just the way you would innately be without being pretentious. Often, people appear way too affable at the arranged marriage first meeting. Eventually, their normal nature comes as a rude surprise to their partner once they tie the knot. So stay normal and natural.

13) Focus! Your Future Is At Stake

Most couples tend to go blank after some minutes of conversation or get lost in imaginary thoughts. Time is precious and you don’t have the day for you. Remember, you have been given a stipulated time together by the family members and most of the time the meeting is chaperoned, so there would be someone waiting for you. So make sure you do not waste time idling around.

14) Be Observant

Keep your eyes peeled for any subtle body language moves your prospective partner is making. Did he break into a sweat at that question? Did you just catch her amorously staring at you? All these gestures help you decide the flow of your meeting. It can help you decide whether your questions are really helping you get acquainted with each other or are just making your prospective life partner uncomfortable.

15) Take care of Your Manners

Just because he/she may soon end up being your life partner does not mean you just grow way too casual. Most individuals keep an eye on the mannerisms of their prospective life partner, so make sure you do maintain a civilised composure.

16) Avoid Passing Any Cheesy Comments

In your quest to impress, you might unconsciously end up passing a remark, which in reality may dim your image in the mind of the other person. To be on the safe side, avoid passing remarks on controversial topics or sensitive matters at the arranged marriage first meeting. You can hold back those views till you have comfortably settled down with that person. For now, treat this is as a date, and stick to general topics and matters pertaining to your marriage.

17) Be Your Past, Present And Future

Like mentioned in the previous point, having transparency with your prospective life partner is a nice thing, and it is always good to share your story in a honest manner. Once you’re comfortable enough, you can talk about your past relationships. You need not list down every boy/girl you hung out with but just a brief narrative of the major relationships you had. Make it all sound that you are all-ready and mature to deal with relationships, and therefore are looking for a stable relationship through arranged marriage. From your end, you can ask some questions as well but do not press the question in case he/she feels uncomfortable. Also, here is a moment when you can share about your vices (if any). In case the other individual raises objections or requests you to give up on certain vices after marriage, then give an affirmative assurance that you will change. Marriage has its own set of compromises, and quitting  bad habit is one of the good ones.

18) You may Ask About His/Her Opinion About You

When you feel you are reaching the end of your arranged marriage first meeting, ask your prospective life partner about what he/she thinks of you in a firm yet pleasant manner. It may seem creepy or awkward to do so but it is one of the best ways of showing your affirmative interest in that person. Also, in case things eventually do not work out with this person, at least you will know your pros, which you can use to charm ahead.

19) Split The Bill!

So it is time to leave. You had your meeting at a swanky restaurant with just the two of you and not your families, and here comes the bill. Instead of ceaselessly insisting to pay the total bill, smile and make an offer to split it. Trust us, it is no way impolite. It is in fact a great way to subtly show that you believe in sharing responsibilities and having finer financial planning.

20) Asking About The Next Meeting isn’t being desperate if done well.

‘So when can we meet again?’ Yes, that is what you are supposed to sign off with. It is quite likely that you have sized up all the attributes of this person, and can make a pretty sound decision whether he/she deserves the ‘spouse’ status. If the other person thinks of you in a positive way then it is quite likely you may next meet at your wedding. But it is always good to ask for a second meeting when you had fun on the first one.

These are some great ideas as to how first meeting awkwardness can be turned into ease. Often being unpredictable, but these can be calmed when done with ease and alertness. Let’s cut the awkwardness out and make rhinht lucid clear and easy for a happy life ahead.

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