Dear Dating Coach,
I have been dating for a while now, and on occasion have received “constructive” feedback from a shadchan. I find these comments hurtful and struggle with them for days afterward. I know that this is simply a part of the process, but any pointers that are not positive really affect me. Are there any tools I can use to be less bothered? I want to date productively, and feel hindered by any negative reactions. Do I just need to “toughen up?”
Sticks and Stones
Have you ever had one of those days when you are feeling creative in the kitchen? You open your shiny new cookbook and turn to a fresh page, so you can lovingly prepare a NEW meal for your family. You peel, chop, dice, and roast, your love infusing every ingredient. Dish complete, you call your charming angels to the table to sample your magnificent feast. With expressions reserved for the gallows, your sweet babies begrudgingly taste one small bite of your Michelin Star-worthy meal. You smile at their precious faces as the gag repeatedly, doubled over in distaste. Their comments warm your heart as they rate your time and effort. “Smelly socks covered in vomit,” they offer. “Dirt encrusted tires,” they share. Treasure these moments with your precious darlings as I do, and then order pizza.
I appreciate your question, and of course it is hard for anyone to receive less than positive feedback even if it is constructive. You mull over any comments you receive from shadchanim and worry over your inability to simply listen and let go. If a date or a series of dates pass and one or both parties decide not to continue, there will often be some sort of explanation from the shadchan as to why a guy/girl chose not to proceed. These comments can be helpful to many daters, but you find that you become bogged down by the perceived criticism and have a hard time moving on.
There are two parts to the feedback. First there are the critical pointers offered by one party that can help us to grow as we move on in the dating process. If they noticed for example, that you were very quiet or monopolized the conversation, you would be able to rectify any of these social hindrances before your next date. Any reaction offers direction and a chance for personal growth, should we be mindful and mature enough to listen to their response with humility and grace. Any chance you have to better yourself as you look for your perfect match is an opportunity. Perhaps your willingness to listen and change can salvage a connection you made on previous dates, and allow you to move forward together toward a happily ever after.
Secondly, any critical comment received after dating someone who definitively no longer wants to date you simply shows that they are not meant for you. A piece of your character that someone else might find endearing has bothered them. A part of your personality that another person might find fascinating did not present well on your date. This is ok. You don’t need to marry everyone. You are looking for that one special someone who will appreciate of all of you. This does not mitigate our need to always focus on self-improvement, but reminds us that chemistry is special and unique in that it may not connect us to all people, but it does allow us to connect with that one special someone who’s taste mirrors our own.