As a young married couple, we spend a lot of time trying to set up singles. As anyone who has been involved in shidduchim knows, it can be very time-consuming.
Recently, we set up a few shidduchim. Some almost got engaged, while others only went as far as a second or third date. It is disheartening that after so much time and effort are invested, there is no phone call or card expressing appreciation. A feeling of being appreciated is itself a motivation to keep on trying.
People should keep in mind that although they may be disappointed with the outcome, time and effort have been expended on their behalf and a thank you is in order.
We are wondering if, as professional shadchanim, the Shidduch Forum panelists have experienced this, or if it just us, novice shadchanim, who seem to be searching for that elusive thank you.
Though I am not a professional shadchan, as someone who spends a great deal of time speaking and working with shadchanim, I can say with near 100% certainty that you are not alone in your experience of receiving insufficient hakoras hatov. And while I lack definitive data on the subject, it appears that many singles do not even issue a modest “Thank you” after an unsuccessful shidduch concludes. This is inclusive of single men and women alike, and regardless of how close to the finish line the shidduch managed to approach.
As far as how this potentially internecine issue can be handled, I believe it must be addressed in two separate parts: first, with respect to the daters, and secondly, with respect to those setting up the dates.
Concerning the daters, without question, any time one is set up on a date – be it a horrific one-and-done, or a fantastic idea that didn’t quite cut it – it is imperative to reach out after the shidduch has ended and express gratitude for the opportunity. It doesn’t have to be in the form of money, or even a small gift. It could be a phone call, an email, or a text message. It just needs to be a clear and explicit expression of appreciation for being set up on a date, and being placed in the position to segue from being single to being married.
Whether it is a professional shadchan doing the work, or a young couple dabbling in shidduchim to assist their friends, countless hours go into the redding of most shidduchim.
From answering all manner of questions during the investigation period (some astute and, inevitably, some rather inane) to advocating for the prospective daters and procuring the two yesses; from suggesting ideas and places for the dates to, oftentimes, serving as a coach and mentor to each dater as they endeavor to decide whether this person is the one – the time, energy, and emotional output can be enormous. And this is without even factoring in how much time and effort may have been previously spent on ideas that were ultimately vetoed by one side, thus never making it to date one.
Even if setting up dates was easy as pie, something that anyone and everyone could do, with their eyes closed and their texting hand tied behind their back, a proper thank-you would be owed to the shadchan, friend, or relative that set up the date. How much more so then, in our day and age, given the immense difficulty and time commitment that is required of all those who are oisek in shidduchim, must one be sure to express their gratitude for each date they are fortunate enough to have been presented with.
If one can be consciously aware of all that has been done on one’s behalf, and will hopefully continue to be done as long as one remains single, it really should be rather self-evident how incumbent it is to plainly say, “Thank you, I really appreciate that you were able to set me up. I’m sure it took a lot of work to make that happen, and it means a great deal to me. I hope you will continue to work on ideas for me in the future.”
Not only does such a declaration give tremendous nachas ruach to whoever it was that set up the date, the likelihood that that person will continue to feel excited and motivated to work on ideas for any one dater increases exponentially when a note of appreciation is shared, paired with an acknowledgment of the effort that was expended on one’s behalf.
Now, as far as those who are setting up the dates are concerned, there is another angle that must be brought to light.
As true as it is that issuing a thank-you is the right thing to do, and it absolutely is true, admittedly, it isn’t always easy. In the frum world, we do not date for dating’s sake. The sole purpose of dating is with designs of marriage, and every shidduch that doesn’t reach that plateau can leave one feeling distressed, depressed, and sometimes disillusioned about their prospects of reaching the chupah. Furthermore, such feelings may be particularly preeminent within those who have been dating for some time, or have been recurrently rejected, or who have had long stretches of inactivity between dates.
When someone’s headspace is fully occupied with uncertainty and apprehension, it can be challenging to even remember that each date one goes out on is a bracha, let alone concede that a failed date remains a matter deserving of thankful recognition for its receivership, and feel positive enough to express the appropriate appreciation for it.
There are a great many qualities that being involved in shidduchim for a sustained period of time necessitates, and high up on that list are a degree of dispassion and being a little bit thick-skinned. One must know that gratefulness will not always be forthcoming, even when it ought to be; muster the capacity to depersonalize such injustices; and develop an understanding of why it may be difficult for a dater to be appreciative at these junctures. All this in order to press on with the work of redding shidduchim, a service that is of truly inestimable value to Klal Yisroel. It is no easy task, but it is what is generally called for if one hopes to prevent hard-and-fast burnout.
May the Tamim Deyos see that all those in the world of shidduchim have the koach and chizuk to endure the challenges they encounter, and the ability to emerge stronger for them.