Matters of the Heart #2 How Do You Deal With An Arranged Date? – by Kaajal

What is an ‘arranged’ date? Well, it’s pretty much similar to what a normal date is but there is a vital difference- it is not set up by your nosy and well -meaning friends or a result of any romantic interest or chance meeting leading to mutual attraction. This is a date set up by none other than your parents! This means that you will not only have to share details of this date with your parents and family members but will also be the hot topic of discussion, deliberation and analysis of your date’s family members and friends. Sounds scary and intimidating right?

An arranged date is where you meet a complete stranger with the intention of marrying him/her and this can be pretty daunting. A casual, normal date may end up in a friendship or a romantic relationship but this date may end up in matrimony. The need to create a good impression and the quest to find your future life partner may have you breaking out in a sweat but with this blog post which is compiled after taking into account the myriad experiences and advise of friends and siblings who have survived the ordeal of an arranged date will be the best guide to help you navigate the choppy and dangerous waters of an arranged date which is  a fine line between a formal, friendly and romantic date.

  1. Tardiness and timidity: a definite date disaster

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It’s not an age old adage for nothing; it’s absolutely true that first impressions are often the last impressions, which means that if you are late then in all probability you have already received minus marks. Not reaching the venue on time is a clear indication that you do not value your date’s time and are not seriously interested. It is definitely a bad start to your date and unless you have a plausible excuse for being late, be ready to work hard to impress your date.

Also timidity and nervousness are a definite repellent. No one wants to date a nervous wreck who stammers and stutters. Be confident, charming and conversational. Listen well and share interesting facets of your life. Be warm, genuine and friendly

  1. Dress to impress

How you look has a great impact on how good an impression you can create on your date. It’s a fact that appearances matter and if you want your date to notice your inner beauty, start with attracting their attention with your outward appearance. For ladies, keep the makeup light and leave out the smoky eyes for later dates. Wear elegant and comfortable clothes and leave out tight fitting and plunging necklines. Go easy on the accessories, after all a minimalist look and elegance is the key. For the men it’s advisable to sport a clean shaven look.

An unkempt beard and untidy hair smacks of sloppiness so if you are in the no shave November mode, shake your-self out of it. Slight stubble or a well-trimmed beard is acceptable but nothing impresses more than a clean shave. Smelling good is half the battle won so generously spritz some perfume and cologne. There is no need to wear stuffy formals, smart casuals are the best bet for your clothes and a final tip for the ladies and the men- don’t forget to wear your best accessory- your smile! A smiling face is always attractive and it never goes out of style!

  1. A coffee date over dinner date

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A coffee date is always a better idea because if you are stuck with a boring date, at least you can slurp your coffee ad scoot out of there before you fall asleep, but a dinner can take longer so unless it’s your third date, refrain from planning on lunch or dinner. Also avoid alcoholic beverages because you do not want to puke, slur, stumble or spill secrets on your first date. This may seem obvious but a friend of mine was asked to meet up at a sheesha place or over beer. Play it safe and stick to a coffee place.

  1. Topics to keep the conversation flowing

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After the initial hi and how are you, it can be very awkward so here are few conversation starters that you can use to keep the conversation flowing. You can start by asking how was their day at work? Ask for details about what they do, what are their hobbies how does a typical day of theirs look like, what sport do they enjoy, what kind of movies do they like to watch, what’s their favourite cuisine, their favourite hangout place, what’ s on their travel bucket list etc. The key is to keep the conversation on neutral ground and find out what you have in common. This is important because even though it sounds great when you say opposites attract, in real life it’s the likes and similarities that attract and draw you closer. A shared passion for any hobby or similar taste in music can be a great starting point for a fun conversation.

  1. Topics to avoid at all and any cost

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Arranged dates can be a minefield if you do not tread carefully. Talking about your ex and what a jerk he was, or talking about where you want to go on a honeymoon and how many kids you want and what you want to name them are an absolute no- no . It is okay to ask about if they drink or smoke but past relationships is a topic best encountered on a second date. Avoid hypothetical questions and refrain from talking about a single topic for an elongated period of time. My friend once met a crazy Shahrukh Khan fan and Shahrukh was all she talked about throughout their date which only shed light on her fanatic behaviour. (She also asked the coffee maker to write Shahrukh on her Starbucks coffee glass!) So fanatic obsessions and tattling on about only your interest areas is a strict no-no too.

  1. Look out for these tell-tale signs

You can tell it’s a good date and you want to meet them again within the first 30 minutes of the meeting. If your date maintains a good amount of eye contact, leans in and listens to all you have to say, smiles often, asks more questions to find out more about you and gives you full attention and the conversation flows smoothly then you know it was a good date but on the flip side if you have stunted and awkward conversation or you are so bored that you think that binge watching your favourite TV show in your PJs would be a better way to spend your time, then the second date is just not happening. Also no matter how dull your date is, looking at your phone is a strict no-no. Not only is it outright rude to check your phone while your date is talking to you, it’s also something you shouldn’t do out of respect and courtesy for your date, after all it would be very annoying to be on the receiving end of such behavior.

  1. Signing off

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Saying goodbye is as important as how you begin your date. Also the manner of the goodbye can give you a hint about whether your date likes you or not. A polite and warm handshake with a smile on your date’s face is a good sign. On the other hand a hurried and distracted goodbye is a sign that your date was not into you. If your date seemed friendly and outgoing then maybe a side hug is also acceptable but its best to limit physical contact to a handshake. Beyond that any amount of physical contact should be avoided, a tight lingering hug or a kiss would seem too suggestive and too eager a gesture which can make your date feel uncomfortable or make you look like a sleaze. If you catch your date turning back to wave you a goodbye like the ‘palat’ scene from DDLJ then trust me, your date is definitely attracted to you and a follow-up date is right around the corner!

With these simple but extremely relevant and helpful pointers, your arranged date will most definitely cease to be a nightmare and may turn out to be a great date indeed leading up to many more dates and an actual proposal. The key is to be calm, composed, confident, friendly and approachable. Most importantly, be yourself rather than pretend to be something you are not. Genuine interest and a great conversation can go a long way and you never know, your ‘arranged’ date may end up in connubial bliss!

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