Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I have been married for five years and still have good friends from high school who are single. One recently called me out for not being supportive and I feel really bad. I want to be there for her, but I have no idea how I can help. When I asked her what she expected of me (I’m not a shadchan!) she became even more frustrated. But isn’t she wrong to expect more than I know how to give?

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Dear Bar,

I lost my car key. I have absolutely no idea where they are. (If you do, please let me know!) I have been using the spare key all week, but I want my old key back. But the whole “looking for it” part just hasn’t worked out. Sure, I did a cursory check in the little bowl we keep the keys in (yes, that is theoretically a good idea if I had actually put the keys in the bowl) but nada. I peeked into my purse, in my other purse, and in the big bag I use sometimes. Still nothing. And then the “search” kind of fizzled out and the spare key became a thing. Is it time to bring in a key-sniffing dog? Search party? Metal detector? I’m no expert, but perhaps the “key” (can’t help it) to looking, is to simply start.

Thank you for your letter. It is so special to have close friends for so long, and it is important to nurture and maintain those relationships. Your single friend is hurt by your lack of “support,” but without a list of guys to set her up with, you are just not sure how you can help her. You think it is unfair for her to believe that you have more to give when this is not your field of expertise. You value your friendship though, and that still means a lot to you. If only you could do more.

You friend is not expecting you to pull a perfect single guy out of a magic hat. She does however, want your care, concern, and friendship. She wants you to put forth just a bit of effort for her because while you have been blessed with your bashert, she is still looking for that same gift. It is important to be self-aware, to realize that you are lucky, and that alone should propel you to be of service to others. There are some “key” (I need to stop!) things you can do to help your friend though the shidduch process.

Simply remember those three R’s. Respect, Resist, Remember.

Respect your friend and the choices she makes. Does she want to only work with a shadchan and her parents, or is she open to hearing suggestions directly? Ask her what she is looking for and then respect her wishes. Speak to her kindly and directly, and never of course behind her back. Respect your friend as she works her way through this challenging time and bolster her and her choices so that she feels seen and heard.

Resist the need to typecast your friend, to label her as “too picky,” “too stubborn,” or “too anything.” She is doing her best. Resist hurting her with your judgment or tough love. Open your heart instead, and listen to her and she will be more likely to heed your advice, your encouragement, and your guidance. Encourage her to try, instead of admonishing her for her choices. Resist putting her down, and she will be more likely to rise up.

Remember your friend and include her in your life. Remember to invite her to simchas, to Shabbos meals, and to spend time with you when you are able. Remember her when you think she “doesn’t belong” at an event or when you are not sure if she will be comfortable. Include her, welcome her, and she will get to decide if she wants to join. Remember how important she is, and envelop your friend in your life.

The three R’s are the perfect place to start to show your support for your friend. They don’t require a special skill set, just a willingness to simply start.

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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at hennihalberstam@gmail.com to schedule a phone session.