I’m not sure who is more frustrated by the dating process these days – singles or matchmakers. A shadchan recently told me he hasn’t made a shidduch in a full year. Some new singles who reached out to me told me they haven’t had a good date in 3 months; others haven’t had ANY dates in 3 months…or longer. Everyone is having a hard time with shidduchim. But one thing we can all agree on; there is a consensus that dating is the Most. Frustrating. Process. Ever.
Most people blame the shadchanim and give up on them. Here are three of the top reasons I have heard people reject using matchmaker services:
- Shadchanim lie. How quickly his “age 35” turns into 42. Or “stable and employed” turns into “hasn’t worked in five years and still lives with his parents at age 40”. And “normal and charismatic” becomes “socially awkward”.
Do some matchmakers lie? Yes. Some even quote Rabbis who approve it. But most do not do so intentionally. Every now and then, they can give you the wrong information. I just had that recently, where I quoted an age that I thought was accurate, only to learn it was not. But I owned up to it and apologized for the misinformation.
You want to build a trusting and honest relationship with your shadchan, so they can have your best interests in mind. If you will lie to the matchmaker and not trust a shadchan with your information, then you may end up with a matchmaker who lies to you. If you are going to work closely with a few select matchmakers, then you need to be ready to be honest about yourself and trust their discretion and confidentiality. You need to share any challenges and conditions that can ensure they find the best match for you, but you also need to trust the matchmaker who doesn’t show you a photo but is truthful when he or she says the suggested match is slim or attractive. You shouldn’t need to see college transcripts but trust a shadchan who says the proposed match is smart or intelligent.
If you are struggling with matchmakers who lie to you, or repeatedly give you false or misleading information, then you shouldn’t work with those matchmakers. But don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. That doesn’t mean all matchmakers lie.
- Shadchanim never follow up. It is most frustrating when you have sent a profile and had an interview with a shadchan who doesn’t get back to you. Perhaps they aren’t calling because they have reached out to 10 different people with ideas for you, but none of them panned out, right now. Or maybe they got sidetracked by something in their personal lives; shadchanim are human too. Or perhaps the matchmaker does not have a great suggestion at this time. Shadchanim are not like some dating sites that are obligated to give a specific quantity of suggestions – good or bad – to their members. Quality, not quantity, is the key.
The best way to work with a shadchan is to remember that Hashem not only chose your bashert before you were born but also the time it is supposed to happen. If it hasn’t happened yet, and you have done proper hishtadlus, then be patient…your time is coming. But always ask a shadchan, should I wait for you to call or should I call you (and how often)? I personally like when people touch base with me once a week, if they need a suggestion. But I get really turned off when someone asks for help, I invest time to find a good idea, and then I learn that the person already had 3 people waiting for an answer but just wanted more ideas to see what sounded best. Also, if you don’t get suggestions from a matchmaker after a few weeks, reach out and find out why. Perhaps the matchmaker found you were too limiting with your list of requirements. Your lack of flexibility could be preventing quality suggestions. Working with a shadchan is not about one phone call and now sit back and wait for the shidduch resumes to come rolling it. It is about an ongoing relationship, collaboration, working together. If you are not interested in that, then working with a shadchan is not for you.
- I don’t want to have to pay someone to do Hashem’s work.
First of all, kudos for realizing that Hashem is the true shadchan. That is an important first step. However, Hashem sends messengers to carry out His work. Avraham sent Eliezer to search for a shidduch for Yitzchak. Hashem’s messengers should be appreciated and rewarded for their efforts.
For those who don’t believe in paying a shadchan for doing Hashem’s work, that is like saying you should not pay a Rebbe or teacher in a school for teaching Torah. Or the Rav of the shul should not get paid. Nor the Rosh Yeshiva. The mohel at a bris. They are all doing holy work. Do they work for free?
What’s more, do you intend for the caterer to serve food at your wedding for free? The photography not to charge? The wedding hall to give it complimentary? Are they more valuable to your life-long happiness than a shadchan?
We never know who the shadchan will be. You could pay a few matchmakers and, in the end, your next door neighbor or your sister makes the shidduch. But you have to do hishtadlus. That doesn’t mean you have to sign up with 50 different matchmakers. It means you should talk to a few reliable matchmakers and work closely with them, developing a real relationship for collaboration. The good, successful ones charge up front (unless they are being paid from an organization or other source). Ultimately, you choose. You can solely rely on friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers in the search for a shidduch, but if you aren’t getting good suggestions and guidance in the dating process, don’t ignore the professional matchmakers.
Matchmakers have the hardest job. Sure, some make it look easy. But you don’t see how many hours they spend reviewing ideas and making phone calls. How many shidduchim they suggest that get nixed before you even hear about it. Hours of coaching they do in between dates. So if you don’t appreciate matchmakers enough to be willing to pay, then you should not be using one.
Stay tuned for more…coming next week!