Many shadchanim have emphasized the need for more people to start making shidduch suggestions. With all the time I’ve put in, I have yet to set up a single date. However, when I’ve passed my ideas on to other people to actually redd them, my ideas have led to the boy/girl giving a yes, going out, etc. I primarily focus on the yeshivishe/Bais Yaakov community. This leads me to think that there may be something lacking in the way I present the boy/girl to the other side. I also hear from many people that they feel uncomfortable redding a shidduch. It’s not their type.
Can you provide practical advice and ideas? What should we say, how should we say it, and what is best left unsaid?
First and foremost, I would like to applaud your dedication to the task at hand. That you were neither dejected nor deterred after receiving one no after another, but rather, chose to go the extra mile and enlist others to pick up where you left off is truly a tremendous triumph. I am duly impressed. That said, and as much I wholeheartedly agree that everyone should attempt to make shidduchim, I find myself struck by three notable challenges with respect to addressing the inquiries presented.
First, provided with only the fact that success has not been achieved at the desired level, but lacking any specifics on how ideas are actually being shared, it would be quite the feat to precisely and effectively point out where improvements are needed.
Second, I do not believe that there is only one universal path to follow when it comes to redding a shidduch. Insofar as each person is different, for optimal results to be obtained, each person needs to be spoken to in a manner which is tailored to resonate with what they want and need to hear. As such, a crucial component of being a successful shadchan is knowing how to couch each suggestion, when to elucidate and when to prevaricate, how to carry each conversation as questions are asked, and how to roll with the punches as concerns are raised. Part of amplifying this skill comes with practice and experience, and to some degree, most people can develop and hone such an aptitude over time. Nonetheless, there is certainly a unique chush to redding shidduchim, and not everyone is cut from that cloth.
And third, even if there were some way to outline a comprehensive handbook on how to productively redd shidduchim, it would by definition require countless chapters detailing all of the subject matter related to the field. Accordingly, given the limited available space in this column, I am afraid that there is not nearly enough room to suitably cover each and every one of those topics, and do them all the proper justice.
Consequently, there are two alternative suggestions that I would like to offer to anyone who finds themselves in this situation, and my hunch is that it is a struggle which many people commonly face.
1. For those who feel that they have the ability to redd shidduchim, and would like to better cultivate that talent, reach out to a seasoned shadchan and ask for hadracha. It might necessitate a series of conversations and a somewhat thorough accounting of how one has gone about it in the past, but with sufficient guidance, I am confident that one who has it within themselves to augment their skillset, and is comfortable and interested in doing so, will inevitably see enhanced outcomes.
2. For those who would like to be involved in making shidduchim, but simply feel that the charge of redding them lies beyond the scope of their powers, find another way to be immersed in the undertaking. We all have assets which HaKadosh Boruch Hu has bestowed upon us, and we can all be regularly occupied in the making of shidduchim. However, being that our strengths are different, we each must find the most applicable manner in which to utilize those strengths. If it is not within someone’s wheelhouse to redd shidduchim, they should not feel forced to do so. Nor should they be left to think that there is only one laudable way to be involved, or that the sole palmary part to play is that of being a shadchan. On the contrary, one should be encouraged to focus on their natural forte and find areas of involvement that are synchronous with their individual proficiencies.
For example, some may have a keen eye for coming up with ideas, but lack the capacity to garner a yes from either side. For others, they may not have much propensity for coming up with ideas, but reign supreme when it comes to gathering yeses. For yet others, they may not be particularly talented at either métier, but have a knack for guiding dating couples when a bump in the road is encountered. And for yet others, they may find their optimal value within the domain of volunteering for shidduch organizations and running events.
All told, there is no shortage of positions which need to be filled, and wherever it is that one feels secure and capable of trying their hand, they should be welcomed to do so and fully supported in their distinct role. It is perfectly fine to have more than one person engrossed in the making of a shidduch, and as long as communication and boundaries are clear, and the resources are made available for teamwork, it is a wonderful thing to share in this avodas hakodesh.
May the Karov L’kol Korav see to it that we are all able to identify where it is that we can provide the most benefit in the realm of shidduchim, and that we all have the opportunity to apply our faculties frequently, efficiently, and with great dexterity.