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In the pursuit of becoming modern, our society has left behind a lot of traditions. Most of them were either stupid superstitions or just plain unfair to a group of people, but there are a few that I think we could stand to bring back. Dueling would be nice. Guys would be a lot less likely to be dickheads if they thought they might have to answer for it at the tip of a sword. The other is arranged marriages. I know what you’re thinking–given how out of touch or ridiculous our parents can sometimes be, why would we ever put the decision of choosing our mates in their hands? Just look at their track record and at what they’ve said about all your exes. It seems like the person your parents are always encouraging you to ask out is the exact opposite of who you eventually see yourself with. That’s why I’m proposing (it’s a pun, enjoy it) that we update the idea. Rather than our parents choosing our future husbands or wives, we should let our friends do it instead.
I know, it sounds insane. I imagine that you’ve been set up on at least one blind date or you’ve been dragged to the bar because a mutual friend of your buddy’s girlfriend was there. Sure, sometimes something comes out of that, but more often than not, it’s a disaster. That’s not because your friends are bad at knowing what type of girl or guy is right for you, it’s because they probably had another friend who’s been bitching about being single as much as you have, so they decided that you two deserve to shut each other up about it. If our friends were actually invested in the eventual success of our romantic encounters, they’d be the best possible people to orchestrate them.
See, letting our friends take the emotional reins removes the biggest obstacle from the entire situation: ourselves. We’re the ones who get in our way the most, whether we’re not doing enough self-examination to figure out why we’re chronically single, or we’re eliminating certain potential, romantic partners based on some flimsy issue with their appearance, personality, or stupid gut instinct. If our friends are truly in charge, that means they have carte blanche to kick your ass about stuff. If you’re being a fatass, that means you’ve now become THEIR problem. They can’t shed this responsibility until you’re happily married, and it’s much harder for them to set you up with someone if you’re pasty and out of shape. They also have veto power over your veto power. If they’ve specifically picked someone for you, you’re not allowed to shut down your friends after one date. You’re obligated to go out several more times before ultimately being able to say no.
The next great thing about this idea is that your friends know you more intimately than your parents, in spite of how much less time you’ve likely spent with them. There are just certain things that you either can’t or don’t share with your mom and dad that are common knowledge to your friends. The thing that makes your friends better decision makers than you is that they know how you come off as a human being. See, as self-aware as some of us try to be, we can never truly understand how other people perceive us. Your friends can, though, and they also have the added benefit of being people who have chosen to be close with you. They know the things that attract people to you because it’s why they’re friends with you in the first place, and they know your bad qualities, too, which they choose to endure because they like you. Armed with all of this information, they’ll be able to collude and plot with other groups of friends who are searching for their own friends. They’ll compare notes and then set you up.
Granted, all of this is predicated on you having a close-knit group of friends in the first place, but I’d argue that if you’re not socially able to create a circle of friendships, you’re probably not ready to entangle your life with another human being. And look, I’m not saying that the rules here will be as stringent as with traditional arranged marriages. Of course you’re able to say no in these scenarios–it’s just that so many of the problems that arise from “normal” modern day relationships could be eradicated. The burden of choice will be gone. You’ll no longer have to subject yourself to an endless buffet of dating profiles and Tinder pictures. You won’t subtly judge everyone you come across for no reason whatsoever, simply because you know there are hundreds of other available people sitting just around the thumb swipe corner. Sometimes you have to just admit that maybe you don’t know best and give control to the people you trust. At the very least, you’d get a good story or two out of it.