Achkt Louys, Armenian matchmaking for the modern era

Narineh Abrimian is ushering in an era of dating with intention through Achkt Louys, a matchmaking service for Armenian singles in the United States.

“We’ve all been there with the dating apps. We’ve all been there thinking someone Armenian was going to come around, and you’re going to get married. It doesn’t always play out for everybody,” Abrimian said in an interview with the Weekly

Abrimian, a 36-year-old middle school English teacher from Waltham, Massachusetts, launched Achkt Louys at the start of 2024 to “help Armenians ages 21-50 find someone with whom they truly feel a connection and can see themselves with in a long, happy and healthy relationship,” as stated on the Achkt Louys website.

While taking certification courses in matchmaking in 2023, Abrimian realized that her communication skills as an educator have prepared her to be a matchmaker. “My friends and family have always shared how I’m a very good listener, and many of my friends call me their life coach. They always come to me for advice. Even my eighth graders come to me, and I’m like, ‘I can’t be talking to you about these things,’” Abrimian shared with a laugh. “Their personal lives, families, boyfriends, girlfriends, friend drama.” 

Abrimian draws on her teaching experience and her years-long interest in psychology and human behavior to determine compatibility, set up matches and guide people through dates. Over Zoom calls, she gets to know her clients intimately, asking them about their professional goals, whether or not they want children and the strengths and weaknesses they bring to a relationship. “I save you the first few dates,” Abrimian summed up. “I’m basically dating the client for them before I introduce them.” After each date, she has a follow-up meeting with each client to debrief and reflect on their experience – yet unlike filling in a friend about a date, Abrimian offers unbiased, professional guidance. 

Like many, Abrimian feels disillusioned with the failed promise of dating apps to deliver romance. In the era of cursory swiping, she believes matchmaking can be a successful alternative for people seeking committed and meaningful relationships. While working with a matchmaker, clients learn about the qualities and goals of their potential dates before seeing photos of them, thereby eliminating snap judgments. “I don’t think people take dating apps very seriously,” Abrimian said. “You don’t know the person’s intention behind the screen, as compared to with a matchmaker. If they come to seek me, I know they’re serious.” 

For Abrimian – an active member of her local Armenian community and the Armenian Relief Society and as an Armenian language teacher at St. Stephen’s Saturday School – dating within the Armenian community can build on the mutual understanding each person brings to the relationship in regards to their culture, traditions and upbringing. “You don’t need to worry about their background or their overprotective parents, because you already know what having an overprotective parent is like. You don’t have to explain yourself. It makes things a bit easier,” she said.

Many Armenians traditionally met their spouse through a matchmaker. Abrimian is reviving this tradition, yet not purely for the purpose of creating Armenian matches, but rather creating Armenian matches that will last, founded on compatibility and equality.

Achkt Louys adapts old Armenian customs to the needs of the contemporary dating pool. Many Armenians traditionally met their spouse through a matchmaker. Abrimian is reviving this tradition, yet not purely for the purpose of creating Armenian matches, but rather creating Armenian matches that will last, founded on compatibility and equality. Abrimian has witnessed how, within the Armenian community, being single and eligible are sometimes treated as sufficient qualities to set two people up on a date. She urges Armenians who want to date within their community to prioritize the fundamental traits and values necessary to build a partnership, alongside identity. 

“Sometimes you let go of things you actually want to make an Armenian union,” Abrimian reflected. “I don’t like the idea of just marrying an Armenian just to be with an Armenian. We live one life, and if that person’s not compatible with you, you’re giving away your whole life for something you probably weren’t looking for and sacrificing, potentially, your happiness.” 

Achkt Louys is also updating Armenian matchmaking for the modern age through its inclusivity. Abrimian extends her matchmaking services to Armenian men, women and members of the LGBTQ community. “Everyone deserves their right to happiness. No one’s more special, as I tell my students, than anybody else,” she said. “If I could have a safe space for people to reach out to look for a same-sex partner, then I want to be that safe space for them.”

For Valentine’s Day, Abrimian is offering gift certificates for a free interview and to be entered into the Achkt Louys singles database. 

“I often have friends say to me, ‘You love seeing others in relationships and being happy.’ It never crossed my mind that that’s how I felt, but once a friend made the comment, I realized how true it was. It fills me with energy, positivity and life to see happy relationships,” Abrimian shared.

Lillian Avedian is the assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly. She reports on international women's rights, South Caucasus politics, and diasporic identity. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Democracy in Exile, and Girls on Key Press. She holds master's degrees in journalism and Near Eastern studies from New York University.