I am a single girl in shidduchim.Over my high school and seminary years, I made some very good, close friends. Boruch Hashem, most of them got married pretty quickly.
I know that life gets busy and unfortunately you lose touch. I won’t get into that aspect now of who’s at fault, but there are a few friends who I still have what do with, and obviously those are the ones on my résumé. At this point, these friends have been getting phone calls about me for several years. They have, on average, 2-4 kids and lead very busy lives.
I get feedback sometimes that my friends don’t pick up when people call for information, and I can imagine that after getting so many phone calls over the years, their exuberance when giving over information is beginning to wane. Even if they try, they are pretty tired from a full day at work, then spending the night taking care of their children. They are then tied up on the phone, answering the same questions very often, which gets difficult when it’s your only free time of your day, especially if you’ve forgotten how being in shidduchim feels and don’t realize how much the person on the other line reacts to your enthusiasm or lack thereof.
I get many suggestions, but not so many yeses. I wish to make mothers looking into girls aware of this, and receive any tips from the panelists on how to handle this situation – besides thanking my friends so, so much!
From where I stand, it appears to me that you have articulated this dynamic so lucidly and accurately, and with such exemplary composure, there remains little left for me to add other than to express my gratitude and commendation to you for bringing to light what I am sure is a common impediment to successfully getting many viable shidduchim off the ground. And while one might argue, that given the gravity of responsibility that being a shidduch reference carries, those who accept this charge must always be at the top of their game, the reality is that none of us are at the top of our game 100% of the time. Such is the frailty of the human condition.
Accordingly, whenever we find ourselves in the position of placing a call to the reference of a single man or woman, it behooves us to extend a healthy dose of compassion to the person on the receiving end. We must be appreciative and non-judgmental of their sometimes limited availability or diminished energy levels. We must be aware of the fact that for them this may be the umpteenth time they have had this exact same conversation. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we must refrain from interpreting their capacity, or lack thereof, to spend hours on the phone discussing the delicate details of their friend’s life at the drop of a hat, as any sort of indictment of the target of one’s research.
Indeed, I believe it would bode very well for the parade of different parties who all occupy shared but different space in the oft overly pressurized and fractious universe that is our shidduchim system, if we all regularly referred ourselves to the everlasting words of Hillel (Pirkei Avos 2:4): Al tadin es chavercha ad shetagi’a limkomo.
May the Befi Yisharim Tisromam grant us the fortitude and clarity of mind to uplift our comportment in all of our interpersonal interactions to ever elevated degrees of dignity and grace.