PDA

View Full Version : Friends; when to intervine and when to mind your own business.


Oerdin
20-10-2005, 05:44:57
A good friend of mine (a former college roommate who moved to San Diego and lives a block away), who happens to be Indian-American, is doing something I consider very foolhardy possibly even stupid. My question is should I say something and if so how should I bring the subject up or should I just keep my mouth shut.

Aman was born in India but moved to the US at age three so culturally he's American though his family remains very much a traditional Indian family with very traditional senses of family duty. He has a very successful career but nothing going on the lady friend front and his parents have taken to calling him up on a daily basis crying, ordering, and cajoling him to get married and have kids. His older sister basically up and moved across the country because they did that to her but Aman seems to not be willing to live his own life like his sister has done. Instead he feels bad when his mother calls crying and demanding he get married ASAP and give her grandkids. So he's under considerable family pressure to marry and marry quickly.

The problem is his only real girlfriend (also Indian but Americanized) broke up with him over differences concerning a woman's place in a family and the idea that the newly weds would have his parents move in with them. She wanted to live a western style life without in law running her house while Aman's parents very much want the traditional set up where the grandparents live with the eldest son and running the house so she bailed. Aman is a true friend of mine and I want him to be happy but he's gone on one of those Indian Matrimonial websites and is thinking about marrying a mail order bride from India. Not just thinking but really ready to do it and his parents are all for it.

He's been exchanging e-mails and pictures with this girl from India for two weeks now and he says he's going to fly out to India, meet this girl during a two week vacation, and if she's nice marry her a month or two afterwards. I was shocked when he told me and I tried to be sensitive but I told him marriage is the single most important thing you'll ever do in your life and you shouldn't just rush and marry someone you haven't even met just because your parents are playing emotional games to get you to marry. He accussed me of being culturally insensitive and said his parents had an arranged marriage so he thinks he could make one work even though he'd prefer a western style marriage for love.

I figured I had spoken my peace and I let the subject die but now he's left a message on my voice mail saying he wants to talk about it some more. Do any of you have an idea for a culturally sensitive but still straight forward way to approach this? I honestly think a mail order bride would be a bad choice especially since he'd be doing it to make his parents happy and not to make him happy but I recognize it is his life. Personally, I would tell my parents to fuck off and mind their own business if they ever tried to pull anything this intrusive in my life but I am a western and our culture has a great deal of individualism. Ideas?

fp
20-10-2005, 06:10:12
You raised your concerns with him and he chose to ignore them. That's his choice and it's his life, which I realise you recognise. In this situation I would "mind your own business".

On the other hand, he's left a message with you saying he wants to talk about it more. Listen to what he has to say (listen .. don't talk :)) and if he's clearly having second thoughts you can raise your doubts with him again. If he still seems set on the idea, however, you should keep your reservations to yourself.

Just my $0.02.

notyoueither
20-10-2005, 06:11:40
Ask him which culture he wants his daughters to grow up in.



If he answers that of his parents, you're wasting your time.

fp
20-10-2005, 06:20:55
Or his sons, for that matter. :D

NYE's right. If he really thinks this is the appropriate way for a family to behave and he would do the same thing to his own kids then there's nothing you can do.

Anyway, this mail-order bride might be really really foxy. ;)

Greg W
20-10-2005, 06:22:31
Just because his culture is different to yours, and ours doesn't think of arranged marriages as good, doesn't mean they're not. He's the one that has to make the decision, and be true to himself. I honestly think that the best advice that you can possibly give him is that he needs to be true to himself. He can't listen to his parents, his sister, or even you. He needs to decide within himself just what's going to make him happy.

He needs to think of the ramifications of his choice too, and just how they will effect him. And his decision will need to take that into effect. In the end though, he is the one that has to live with the decision and the ramifications. Nobody, not his mother, not his sister, not you has the right to tell him what to do.

Though, oddly, that's another culture difference. In some countries, the parents do indeed have the right to tell their children what and who to marry. So, who's to say I'm right, with my western ideals? I'd still go with him needing to be happy though, and making the decision himself.

mr.G
20-10-2005, 06:35:50
It is a cultural difference between the two of you, don't let that break up a friendship.
Being a friend means also to respect otherones choices, so respect your friend oerdin.
Difficult, but the best thing to doooo di doooo.

mr.G
20-10-2005, 06:38:18
Damn this is the first time i agree with that Grekko guy, bring out the beerrrrr

Greg W
20-10-2005, 07:03:38
Oh well, I can live with Tizzy thinking like me when I'm drunk. I can just about live with her thinking like me when I'm sober. I'm not sure that I can live with mr.G agreeing with me. Fullstop. It's just too scary to contemplate... :nervous:

Asher
20-10-2005, 07:09:27
**** "culturally sensitive" - you should simply start out any piece of advice you give with a disclamer that it's your opinion and yours only, and is given to them purely as friendly jesture because your really care about them. They can do with that advice whatever they want.

Then, spit the truth.

Asher
20-10-2005, 07:10:00
Since he asked you for your opinion, it's okay for you to give it to him.

After that, if he asks you to butt out, you need to respect that.. His parents already drove his sister away, so he may not appreciate someone else trying to tell him what the right thing is to do is.

I think you should tell him he needs to make HIMSELF happy first, not just with this girl, but with all things.

On the other hand, all the arranged marriages I have seen have worked out really well. But, I'm not Indian or Paki so my experience is limited.

I don't think Americans should claim to have any wisdom about what makes a marriage work, because, frankly, with a 50% divorce rate, WE SUCK AT IT.

Asher
20-10-2005, 07:10:39
Regarding the mail order bride thing, I don't have any problems with it.

The guys are getting women they would never be able to get in their own countries, and the women are getting men they would never be able to get in their own countries.

People will talk about financial exploitation or whatever, but this same thing goes on and has gone on in the USA and Europe all the time at the local level. Tell me what woman doesn't look at a man as a provider as an attractive quality? What man doesn't look at a beautiful woman as an attractive quality? You wanna see the poster child for mail order bride then check Anna Nicole Smith. Or go to any LA Lakers game and you'll find dudes in their 50s going out with SMOKING HOT women. I mean these girls are unbelievable, but you see them with these guys in their late 50s.

It's also disrespectful and bigoted toward certain groups of people. My coworker, for example, is a stud, and married a Russian girl he met at school. People kid him about, "was she a mail order bride," but that's not funny. It's the equivalent of calling gay people people "fags."

Of course, I don't know any of these couples personally, so I can't say how "successul" or not they are.

If they are happy together, it's nobody's business to judge them.


There was a time when personal ads were considered for losers, but now it's gone mainstream. I even took a look at them but the profiles all seem to be like "going to the club," with alot of emphasis on pop psychology/Comopolitan advice article superficialities, except it's just online. Hey, that's cool for people that like that, it's just not my thing.

One of my boys gets on AOL and scores alot with it. Not my thing either but he's happy with it. He was with the same girl for 10 years who treated him like crap, and didn't think he could find other girls, but he's literally with a different girl every week!

Colon
20-10-2005, 07:22:11
I'd be careful not to condemn him for it, even if you tell him he should think of himself first. My experience is that Indians may appear very westernized but within they're often still deeply traditional. He's never going to tell his parents to fuck off.

mr.G
20-10-2005, 08:04:58
Originally posted by Colon
He's never going to tell his parents to fuck off. No he would say: maithun karanaa dUra

Gary
20-10-2005, 08:06:04
he's left a message on my voice mail saying he wants to talk about itI think the important bit there is 'talk about it' rather than 'listen to you about it'. He needs to lead the conversation, you can guide subtly if you think it helps, but that's about it. Give an opinion only when asked. Ask questions to ensure all areas have been considered, but basically this is his meet, to get things off his chest and consider them, not yours to be the font of wisdom.

fp
20-10-2005, 12:48:54
Is Asher going to re-post the whole of the 'poly OT here today, or just Oerdin's thread?

Venom
20-10-2005, 13:29:43
This looks like another "Oerdin learns a life lesson" thread. God damn after school specials.

Venom
20-10-2005, 13:32:10
Or possibly a Lifetime movie, where the evil white man doesn't understand the nature of the noble savage's lifestyle and tries to change it to something more fitting. In the end, the noble savage kills himself with super hot curry and everyone feels bad. THE END

King_Ghidra
20-10-2005, 13:35:04
:lol:

mr.G
20-10-2005, 13:42:01
Originally posted by Venom
Or possibly a Lifetime movie, where the evil white man doesn't understand the nature of the noble savage's lifestyle and tries to change it to something more fitting. In the end, the noble savage kills himself with super hot curry and everyone feels bad. THE END can i get the girl?

Venom
20-10-2005, 13:45:09
Only if we set the movie in South Africa.

The Norks
20-10-2005, 14:18:57
I've had a lot of female friends who have been pressured into arranged marriages, but the pressuring aside, I don't think arranging a marriage is a bad thing. They are often very successful as long as the partners have been selected carefully, and that all boils down to setting out your respective ideals very early on. I think the difficulties arise when one person is deceptive about their reasons/background/motives etc. Asher is correct in saying that its really just a more formalised way of doing what we do in the West. A lot of Asian societies laugh at love marriages because they think they are so impractical.

The best thing is just to listen to your friend I would say, and encourage him to think long and hard about making any decision, and ensuring that if he does go this route he does it because he wants to and he has found the right girl and not because he feels pressured.

Additionally, you might want to edge into the conversation that the cultural gap betwen rural India and urban America is still huge, and a lot of these girls are more or less forced over for financial reasons by their families and then find themselves in a country where they have no support network, no language or employment skills, and consequently feel very isolated and unhappy. That in turn will not make a happy marriage. I think he will have to put in a lot of work to integrate an Indian bride into his culture, if thats what he intends to do.

Gary
20-10-2005, 16:09:25
I shan't say this to often, but ... looks like Venom's 'on the ball' today :)

Meanwhile, practical, shmactical. One good reason not to be keen on arranged marriages is the cheek of having your parents decide who you will have sex with.

Risking being accused over oversimplifying, couples, even marriages, work if you have enough in common, and are willing to work at it. They fail if that isn't met.

The Norks
20-10-2005, 16:13:27
In the experience of my friends the parents get ultimate veto but there's a lot of leeway- they don't want a failed marriage any more than the people going into it. Western arranged marriages usually involve a lot more choice than people realise. There's a whole courting phase where couples are introduced to see if they like each other and get on etc. If they don't get on they move swiftly on, although I think sometimes the parents say enough is enough and precipitate a decision. I guess it depends very much on how liberal the parents are really.

Drekkus
20-10-2005, 19:29:34
What's the divorce rate in the US now, 50%? Might as well have your parents pick a bride for you, since half the guys pick the wrong woman anyway apparantly.

Gary
20-10-2005, 20:41:12
It's not the wrong woman. It's when she reaches forty, you have to trade her in for 2 twenties.

Oerdin
21-10-2005, 01:36:52
Originally posted by Drekkus
What's the divorce rate in the US now, 50%? Might as well have your parents pick a bride for you, since half the guys pick the wrong woman anyway apparantly.

It's more like around 1/3 though some people get married and divorced repeatedly so that spikes the over all divorce rate.

Tizzy
21-10-2005, 16:15:36
Originally posted by Greg W
Oh well, I can live with Tizzy thinking like me when I'm drunk. I can just about live with her thinking like me when I'm sober.

Why is that scary for you? It's me who should be worried :p

MDA
21-10-2005, 17:24:35
this is a "Mr. G scares the hell out of CG with intelligent on-topic posts" thread

Stay in character, man!

I'll echo everyone else. Listen, advise, and make sure he knows you've got his back no matter what he decides to do.

Does he still talk to his sister? He might want to get her side of things, and her feelings about the decision she made.

Greg W
21-10-2005, 23:34:23
Originally posted by Tizzy
Why is that scary for you? It's me who should be worried :p Well, that means that when I am drunk, I think like a psychotic scottish woman. That I can almost live with.

But thinking like a psychotic Scottish woman when I am sober? That really has me questioning what little sanity I may have left. :nervous:

:D

Koshko
22-10-2005, 06:43:16
I avoid the possibility of things like this by simply not having any friends.

Funko
26-10-2005, 08:41:34
You can't make anyone do anything. Tell them what you think and then once they've decided be supportive and don't "I told you so" if it all goes wrong.

The Norks
26-10-2005, 18:11:01
surely saying 'I told you so' when your friends fuck up is half the pleasure of having friends? :D