To the esteemed panelists:
It is admirable and appreciated that so many people want to suggest shidduchim, but unless the shadchan is extremely close to the single, they would not know if the single is currently dating someone, just finished a difficult dating situation and needs a break, or for any other reason might not be open to suggestions at the moment.
To avoid putting singles in the awkward spot of having to explain, be evasive, or make excuses (which typically prompt shadchanim to respond with explanations as to why the shidduch is truly a good idea even if the single already said that it doesn’t sound appropriate for them), I find it extremely helpful when people open with a general question of, “Are you available for shidduch suggestions at this time?” and wait for an affirmative response before making any suggestions.
I also feel that there is an element of respect in asking if someone is interested in suggestions at the time, rather than assuming that she is free and available to any suggestion that comes her way. It is my hope that sharing this message will make this opening line more commonly used.
When it comes to friends, family members, and loose acquaintances casually tossing out ideas, I can certainly appreciate both the utility and benefit of the tendered motion. Indeed, integrating tactics for enhanced kavod habrios into the dating lives of single men and women would be more than welcome to the field. Nonetheless, when it comes to the day-to-day activities of shadchanim, I am struggling to conceive how exactly such an approach is feasible and implementable.
By and large, shadchanim begin with the bochur, sometimes with a very specific proposal, and other times with a panoply of résumés to select from. Whatever the case may be, it appears to be expected by bochurim and their families that this is how shadchanim will interact with them and present prospective matches. Subsequently, once a single man has said yes, there would be little sense in reaching out to a single woman, with a concrete yes firmly in hand, and not fully divulging to her that there is an opportunity ready and available for the taking.
Regrettably, myriad bnos Yisroel wait daily and anxiously with baited breath for shadchanim whom they have met with in the past to reach out and submit that very yes, and simply calling to ask if she is perhaps maybe theoretically willing to be proffered with a shidduch, without actuallytelling her that there is a promising candidate all teed up and ready to go, would be disingenuous and unfair. Even if the idea ultimately proves unappealing or untimely, for many, just getting a yes at all is tremendous chizuk in and of itself. Furthermore, after the bochur’s side in fact agrees to go out, they rightly assume that their intent will be fully conveyed to the single woman in question.
Does this system thus inherently create some awkward and uncomfortable conversations wherein daters need to delicately maneuver around unwanted or unpropitious suggestions? It would seem so. But adult life is full of awkward and uncomfortable conversations. They occur in marriages, with one’s children and their teachers, in the workplace, at shul, when volunteering, and everywhere in between. That is ok. It is a part of life, and getting a little bit of practice in navigating that arena during dating is not the worst thing. In fact, it might be great preparation for a future challenging scenario down the road.
As such, when situationally apropos, such as after bumping into a young woman at the grocery store, it would more than likely be mentchlich, to say the least, to ask if she is interested in hearing about a potential shidduch, rather than treacly accosting her with one’s recommendations, irrespective of what she wants at that moment. However, for the shadchanim that are out there every day grinding, trying to turn one yes into two, all things considered, I believe that the more direct route is the right route.
May the Chassid B’chol Maasov introduce ever increasing shalom and shalva in all of our lives, and as often as possible.