Too Much Attention

How involved should a shadchan be?

On the one hand, a few pointers on whether the girl expects you to hold opens doors or will be horrified by it can make a big difference to a date. On the other, telling a guy where to take his date would suggest that you’re not entirely confident in his abilities to navigate the grown-up world.

Then again, if the shadchan has asked some of my dates “Where do you plan to take her?” it might have prevented them from stepping off the train into residential Brooklyn and saying “So, where are we going?”

Then back again, you can’t expect the shadchan to guide a guy through every possible mine in the field, with questions like “Do you plan to speak to her on this date? Do you plan to speak to her about anything except your PhD thesis? When she starts talking about how cold she is, will you take her indoors?” After all, if you have that little confidence in the guy, you probably shouldn’t be setting him up.

And then, sometimes, the shadchan is the clueless one. Like the shadchan who called a guy on the day of the first date to inform him that the girl was sick, they’d have to postpone, but wouldn’t it be so nice of him to drop off flowers erev Shabbos for her? The mind boggles. I mean, they hadn’t even met yet.

So, how involved is too involved? Should the shadchan give the guy your phone number and bow out, or should (s)he be coaxing the parties through every step of the way? Which would you rather? Which would your dates  rather?


7 thoughts on “Too Much Attention

  1. you forget that we do not expect our youth to know much of anything. they have never earned a living or spoken to the opposite gender. they have never left the confines of their community, and live at with their parents.

  2. A fine line. Generally, couple should be able to handle things on their own, but unfortunately, most of todays yeshivish young couples need someone to hold their hands through shanah rishonah.

  3. I usually fine shaddchanim leave me alone and never offer me any advice or question my decisions. It is always the non-shaddhcanim who drive me nuts. Those people don’t put together too many dates so get waaaaaay to invested in the situation (and are often heartbroken and horror struck, more so than the girl, when you pull out).

    As I mentioned, the flower idea was from my neighbor who set me up. She was not a shaddchan 🙂

    Then those people shouldn’t be dating

  4. From all the the ShUT we have on the matter, it’s quite clear that shadchanim have always been involved in the course of a shiduch. Not every shiduch, of course, but it was normal enough that the Responsa discuss that role fairly extensively. And this was without the kind of dating we do.

    If a guy needs to be told to be polite or not to keep the conversation focused only on the one thing that is currently of interest to him, that’s a problem. But there are a lot of things that people just don’t know. Some are more general (eg in this community dating couples don’t go out to eat) and some are more individual (eg if you go out to eat, find a meat place, because she can’t handle dairy.)

    Sometimes, there is also miscommunication. Let’s be realistic – it happens between people who have lived with each other for years – what do you expect from people who really don’t know each others’ idiosyncrasies, and are seeing each other under very constrained circumstances?

  5. Let’s put it this way: Every single time I’ve had to be more involved in a shidduch it didn’t last long.

    All four couples I’ve set up who are married stopped using me at the latest by the end of the third date – one never bothered, two basically asked the girls out again on the second date, and the last one asked the girl out again by the third date. In all of those, all the people said were “I’d like to go out again” with barely any discussion.

    Basically, people who are ready to get married date maturely and tend not to need help. People who do need help tend not to be ready. Are those absolutes? No. But it’s certainly what I’ve seen.

  6. The point of a shadchan is to introduce two pple – after that, they’re on their own, except for passing a “yes, I’d like another date” message early on. When you like someone, you know it, and you don’t need to be convinced into trying again. When things are working, you don’t need a third party giving dumb advice. I never once had a shadchan be helpful beyond the introduction, and had them trying to mix in or give stupid advice, which made things worse…they pass along mixed up messages, and even on occasion, tell lies.

  7. I’ve been trying to stay out of this one, but really, Orit, how would you like to read a post saying, “single girls say and do dumb things, give mixed message, and, on occasion, tell lies.” Do you need to malign a group of people because you’ve had bad experiences?

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