As a parent, we care deeply about our children. No one would like to see them happily married more than us. Why is it that when we take the time, hours, looking into a shidduch that is suggested and then decide that it is not for our child are we met with annoyance, and sometimes worse, from the shadchan? Do they not realize how much more pain this adds to the process?
In order to answer your question, we must first understand the dichotomy between parents and shadchanim, and the disparate vantage points from which they each approach this situation.
A shadchan’s part begins with the formation of an idea. Shadchanim meet hundreds of single men and women each year, keeping record of each one via their shidduch profile. Some shadchanim quickly scan through their records and come up with ideas, while others pore over them for hours before making a suggestion. Either way, by vast majority, each shidduch redt is done with a certain measure of time, effort, and sechel, and because the shadchan feels – based on the information they hold – that the pairing is a potentially good one.
On the other hand, a parent’s part, at this stage of a shidduch, inherently comes only after the idea has been conceived. At that point, responsible parents look into the prospective shidduch before deciding whether or not it is one they would like to pursue – and, not all ideas will, or, necessarily should, in fact, be pursued.
Shadchanim cannot know a single’s needs or techunas hanefesh with the same depth as a parent, nor can they do the research that parents do before presenting each and every idea. Consequently, shadchanim cannot always perspicaciously intuit why an idea appearing so sensible to them, is being turned down. Often further compounding the dilemma are the unyielding emails, texts, and phone calls from countless parents, asking, begging, and sometimes demanding, a shidduch for their child. As such, I believe it is readily understandable why shadchanim, at times, become exasperated at this juncture.
When a shadchan’s door is being pounded on to point of the hinges bursting off, and when that door then opens with an idea they feel has real potential, only to be met with a “Thanks but no thanks”, or to be tuned down for reasons lacking any degree of substance, or because only 13 of 15 required qualifications have been met, it can easily become a gut-wrenching experience for even the most unflappable of shadchanim.
It is not because shadchanim are callous to the pain parents and singles are feeling that they may become frustrated, it is just the opposite. Because shadchanim absorb this pain from so many parents and singles in shidduchim, it is rather disheartening for them when an idea which they perceive as one which may alleviate some of that pain, for even one person, is discarded – unused and unexplored – leaving those parents and singles back at square one.
Additionally, shadchanim can only humanly work on so many singles at a time, and parents and singles can only remain in regular contact with so many shadchanim before becoming overwhelmed. As such, it is natural and fair for both parties to focus their time and efforts toward those whom they feel are most pleasant to work with, most receptive to their suggestions, and most reasonable in the area of decision-making.
The last thing anyone wants is for either side to adjudicate against working with the other, rightly or wrongly, due to a belief that an individual is too difficult to work with. And the ones who suffer the most from the erosion of this relationship are the young singles themselves, who may be cut off from a potential asset, i.e., the shadchan, due only to poor communication.
How, then, can this conflict be ameliorated in a manner that does not cause harm to any of the involved parties?
M’tzad the parents, it cannot be overstated how important it is to show constant appreciation towards shadchanim for any amount of effort exerted on one’s behalf. Although parents are certainly appreciative of shidduchim redt to their children, unfortunately, this hakoras hatov is not always expressed as explicitly as it ought to be.
There is a world of difference between responding with a curt, “No, thank you”, or, worse, not even responding at all when one is not interested, and warmly replying, “Thank you so much for thinking of us and for all your work in redting this shidduch, we truly appreciate your efforts on our behalf. While we understand where you are coming from with this suggestion, after looking into it further, we do not feel this is an idea that we would like to move forward with at present, and we hope you will continue to think of us.” Sharing thankfulness in such a fashion costs but a minute of one’s time, and the subsequent return on investment is c’miotzei shallal rav.
M’tzad the shadchanim, it is vital to always be mindful that; a.) There is a monumental difference between someone who passes on an idea or two, and someone who habitually turns down suggestions, b.) A suggestion is just a suggestion, and unless those receiving it are utterly impenetrable, or are passing on ideas for reasons bordering on the ludicrous, it best to reserve judgement and remain equanimous, and, c.) Since one rarely holds all the cards, there may be factors which one is not aware of – even the seemingly best of ideas may not, in actuality, be shayach.
May The Melech loveish rachamim see that all those navigating through shidduchim act compassionately with one another, and may the resulting shalom v’shalva lead to shidduchim hagunim v’yafim.