I spoke to the mother of a boy to find out some details about her son to see if he would be a shidduch for my friend. (This boy is my brother’s friend.) After I had asked all my questions, I emailed her with the résumé of my friend. After about a week, she had not responded, so I sent another email, asking if she can confirm that she received the résumé. Still no response. About two weeks later, I called her and she said, “Oh, thank you so much for thinking of my son, but I don’t think that it is for him.”
Honestly, where is the mentchlechkeit in that? Someone took the time to think of your son and you couldn’t even respond with an email? For myself, it’s frustrating, but for my friend, whom I called to get her résumé, it can be so unsettling to know about an open shidduch. (I had those experiences as well.)
My basic question is: What happened to just being a mentch?
From what I have observed over the past many years, if there is one malady which plagues the interpersonal dynamics of shidduchim more profoundly than all others, it is that of poor, or entirely absent, communication. Indeed, I am convinced that if all dispatches issued by those in shidduchim were replied to – courteously, and in a reasonably timely fashion – it would enhance the playing field in ways we could hardly imagine.
True, there are shadchanim who receive a mind-boggling expanse of emails, texts, WhatsApps, and calls. True, there are families in shidduchim who are in receipt of a towering mountain’s worth of suggestions from friends, family, shadchanim, acquaintances, and even long forgotten bunkmates from camp. So much so, in fact, that there are periods when some simply do not know where to start. It is one of the better problems to have – of that there is no doubt – but it is a problem all the same. True, the primary intention behind approaching the bochur’s side first with an idea, and the very reason many experienced shadchanim endeavor to procure a young woman’s résumé through indirect channels, is to avoid exactly these types of situations and prevent the dashing of high hopes and painfully lengthy periods of uncertainty. But none of this addresses basic derech eretz, and appreciating kavod ha’adam first and foremost.
The absolute very least one can do for another is to acknowledge their existence as a human being. And that means taking the time and energy to communicate with another person. All it takes is a few seconds. Yes, those seconds may add up to hours on the aggregate, but taking just a moment to say, “I have received your email and will be in touch if or when I have information,” or, “I am sorry, but I am unavailable to meet for a number of weeks,” or, “Thanks for the idea, but I do not think this is for us right now,” can bring untold menuchas hanefesh to the person on the other end of the exchange. It may not seem like much, it may demand conveying less-than-stellar news on more occasions than one might prefer, and it may be onerous and repetitive, but it is a small price to pay for saving another Yid from deep despair at a juncture in their life when everything often seems precarious enough as it is.
May the Oneh Terem Yikra Eilav help us all to find the requisite astuteness and aptitude to effectively and efficiently emulate His ways.