Dear Dating Coach,
As I have gotten a bit older, my parents, friends, and shadchanim have started to push me to attend singles events. Speed-dating, holiday parties, Shabbatons – I hate these types of gatherings. So far, I have attended one of each, and they are horrible! I never want to go to one again! How do I tell everyone to leave me alone?
No More, No Way
Throughout my school years, I was always placed in honors math. This may lead you to believe that I was a natural mathematician, but in fact I struggled through every derivative and logarithm. I would look around at my classmates as their pencils dipped and scratched, their concentration deep as they logged their answers. Meanwhile I sat, a wrinkle in my brow, valiantly trying to figure out if A equaled B and B equaled W.
After years of late-night study sessions, I thought that the best solution would be for me to opt out of higher math classes. I was tired and felt dejected by my inability to grasp concepts that others seemed to master with ease. I marched into the school office confident in my decision, and was told to give honors math one more day. I happily went to class, glad that this would be my last, and listened as the teacher taught the lesson of the day. To my delight – and then dismay – it suddenly all made sense to me. At that moment, I understood two things clearly: You can never escape math, and sometimes time is really all you need.
Time = Distance/Speed
Singles events can be very difficult. You may feel out of place, frustrated by the event itself, and dejected when you don’t meet anyone of interest. It can feel impossible to be sufficiently witty and clever in the five-minute time slot allotted during a speed-dating round. A Shabbaton can make you feel awkward and stuck when you are positive that there is no one there for you. A singles holiday party can make you feel desperate and alone in a sea of people hoping to find their soulmate. The desire to stay home in your pajamas eating Chinese food is real – and completely understandable. However, we can all agree that takeout, while initially satisfying, is not a long-term solution to meeting someone with whom you can spend the rest of your life.
Singles events work. While they can be frustrating and you may feel uncomfortable, they are a way to meet new people. Every event you attend is a way to get one step closer to your bashert. Sitting at home on a Saturday night is not. Making small talk with virtual strangers may not be your idea of fun, and dressing up after a long day at work may feel like a chore, but this is the effort you need to put in to find a spouse. Watching Netflix all Sunday night is not. The math is simple on this one: The more events you attend, the higher the likelihood that you will meet someone wonderful. While you may initially write off a room of fellow singles, always remember that you only need one. You don’t need to connect with everyone in the room, just one special person. Just one.
Every time a new singles event is suggested to you, or you see one advertised (in The Jewish Press!), take a deep breath and tell yourself that you will try one more time. Then, if that event is not a success, dig deep, and agree that you will try again – one more time. This way, you are working to change your single status and taking control of your own destiny with sheer determination. You cannot afford to be passive when your future is at issue. Hard work is necessary and essential to get you there. You can do this and you will meet someone. Now go get dressed.