Most of you have read a plethora of shidduch articles. Usually, they are loaded with advice and guidance for your typical girl or boy “in the parsha” or, to put it in plain English, dating eligible. Well, all you singles out there can breathe a sigh of relief, because this article is not about more advice for you. Rather, it is aimed at everyone else: the typical neighbor, friend, doctor, coworker, mailman, butcher, uncle’s friend’s neighbor’s cousin – even the parrot! – of a single, dating-aged person! Basically, anyone with the ability to talk should keep reading.
Everyone wants to know how he or she can help with the current shidduch situation. And there is one huge way to help all the singles out there and hopefully lead to more matches being made, without doing much legwork at all! I hope I’m not egged in Seven Mile Market for saying this – I think I will stay out of the egg aisle for a while – but this is very important, and for the sake of the klal, I feel it must be said.
While this may be a bit of a generalization, I have noticed that people like to pretend they know more than they actually do when it comes to shidduchim for other people. People like to feel involved. It is coming from a place of trying to help. I understand, but I would like to show how this need to be involved can sometimes be detrimental. Allow me to elaborate.
This typical conversation might sound familiar to you: “Leah,” a secretary, is talking to coworker “Shprintzy”:
“So, Shprintzy, my cousin from Lawrence called me today. She wants me to find out about Yenti from Baltimore. I thought you might know her, because she works with your friend Tova. Can you tell me what you know about her?”
Let’s stop right here. Conversations like this happen all the time. If it has not happened to you yet, just wait a couple weeks, because it will happen. You will be asked about someone whom you backhandedly know, barely know, or whom your husband knew 10 years ago. Quite understandably, you will feel the need to get involved and “help.” Of course, you could respond politely that you’ve heard the girl is phenomenal but since you do not know her well you can’t answer any detailed questions. Instead of that straightforward answer, however, your first instinct will be to call this one and that one (people who also barely know the girl or guy) and get bits and pieces, put them together, and report back to Leah.
Many find this the ideal way of doing shidduch research. After all, it is from the random people around town that you will get the real scoop about this girl, right? Actually, wrong. Many, many times, such “fishing” just leads to misinformation, people’s personal perceptions, and sometimes, as I have personally seen, outward lies. From my experience of trying to set up many matches per week for the past couple of years, I can testify that I have gotten many “no’s” to going on even a first date because of misinformation heard from “someone.”
Moms, I want to assure you I am not in any way belittling your efforts to research your child’s shidduch prospects. I am not blaming you for believing what you hear; I am saying that you, the parents, need to know whom you’re talking to and whether they really know the person you’re asking about.
As for you coworkers, mailmen, butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers, etc. – I am asking people those of you who do not know what you’re talking about to be a bit more careful with what you say. When you are asked about a certain girl whom you might know, sort of, you must know how to respond to the questions you are asked.