Once upon a time, the grandmother of a boy would see a girl at shul and say, “I have the best boy for you!” She’d give a few details, and the young people would agree to go out and see for themselves if the shidduch was shayach (suitable).
Today, “resumes” are crucial to our shidduchim, and yet they have their drawbacks. It very often happens that a shidduch is stopped in its tracks even before the couple gets to meet. Yes, there is a great deal of information on paper, but could it be that that is the problem? A piece of paper should never replace going out on a first date and seeing where it goes. But, unfortunately, when “everything” about a person is in front of you on that resume, it can lead singles to forget the “big picture” of who a person is. Rather, singles tend to revert to the “perfect picture” that exists only in their minds. Feeling that nothing can be compromised on, they say it doesn’t seem ideal, so “why give it a date?” This happens even when the girl and boy are in the same town.
I have seen many examples of such situations, which can serve as a learning experience for others. For instance, one boy said no to meeting a wonderful, beautiful girl, living in the same town. This was because, after inquiring how outgoing the girl was, on a scale of one to ten, he heard she was a seven – and said, “I need more of an eight, personality-wise.” I heard from the parent of a kollel boy that he would like a girl who shops at high-end stores like Anthropologie, rather than Macy’s-type stores, yet she should also be open to supporting him in learning for the first five years. (These are real stories!)
It’s not just the boys, though. Many girls will not give a wonderful guy a chance because something on his resume is not perfectly in line with her ideal picture. For instance, I have seen girls nix shidduchim with wonderfully shtark (religiously strong) and learned boys, because they were looking for someone in full-time learning, but the boy on paper had plans to go to work. I have also often heard girls say no because a boy seemed “too quiet” on paper.
There is nothing wrong with having a general picture of what you are looking for, but even if you have everything planned out, and you see something different on a resume, don’t make the mistake of not meeting the boy. A resume should never replace a date.
As long as the important basics are there – basics such as middos (character), how the person treats others, chesed, and other qualities that are crucial to a happy marriage, please do yourselves a favor and give it a date to see if things go well in person.
See for Yourself
I know a girl who called a relative in the same yeshiva as a boy she had heard of. This relative made it seem as though the boy was extremely introverted and quiet. The girl knew that this was not what she wanted in a personality and did not pursue the shidduch. A year later, she saw a boy at a simcha – a lively, leibedik boy who really made an impression on her. She went out of her way to find out who he was, and sure enough, it was the same boy whose name had been mentioned a year before! Seeing him in person, she was shocked that he had been described as very quiet. In reality he was quite lively, and always had been! It turns out her relative did not know the boy well at all and had the wrong perception.