Dec 31, 2011
If I were a Shadchan…
Shidduchim SOS: "You know those dates where five minutes in you know this is absolutely not for you?" A COLlive reader suggests a few practical suggestions to improve the shidduch system.
You know those dates where five minutes in you know this is absolutely not for you? Where an entire night could have been saved and much time and energy spared, if only you met the guy for three minutes before anything started cooking?
Those dates should never come to be. If the person setting you up truly knew YOU – not a paper, not a family, not your friends – but YOU, these situations would never occur.
I’m not trying to change the way the system runs.
I’m not trying to stage a revolution.
I’m only trying to improve.
I’m proposing a few practical tips to smooth the path that is already in place.
So… If I were a shadchan, here a couple of things I would do:
1) When I’m first contacted by a parent, I would, of course, listen to what s/he has to say in regards to what the child wants, but I would then insist upon speaking to the girl/boy as well. As well as a parent may know his/her child, and as close as they may be, the way a parent describes a desirable match will almost always be different than the way the child would express him/herself. I believe it is important to speak to both parents and children – both about how the girl/boy would describe him/herself, and about what exactly he/she wants in a spouse. How can a person set two people up without ever having spoken to them?
2) And not just speaking – but meeting face to face. A successful match is formed through chemistry and compatible energies. Take two people who on paper seem to be very similar – worldly but chassidish, went through the system, is hardworking, motivated, sweet, friendly, generous… This description can fit many - What makes each of the many unique? Their vibes, the way they express themselves, their manners (not etiquette – but the way they move their hands, the expressions they make…) – all the things that one simply cannot give over to another through speech – a person has to SEE these things in order to KNOW.
How can someone claim to know a person well enough to set them up without ever having met?
3) When receiving a resume, I would scan the info on top and then go straight to the references at the bottom. I believe it is important for a shadchan to know the person h/she is dealing with very well – both from personal interaction and from how others would describe the said person. So as tedious as it may be, I would call every reference on the list, and then some who aren’t; I would take notes, compare, contrast, and thereby gain a perspective of who this person is to the world. Some say calling references is a waste of time – true, if you’re calling the reference and leaving it at that. But if you call many people and then compare notes – and after doing so, matching that to what you inferred while meeting the prospect face to face, you will get a pretty clear picture of what this person is about. Yes, it may seem like spending A LOT of time and it does takes lots of patience, but it will pay off in the end.
Surprises happen – rarely do we marry exactly who we thought we would, but we have to do our best and eliminate as much senseless frustration as possible.
So that’s what I would do if I was a shadchan – but I’m not…
…So those of you who take this great responsibility upon yourselves, please do your job well.