A Reader Writes: Be Mentchlich When Calling for Shidduch Info

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shidduch-infoDear Editor,

I frequently get “information” calls from mothers who have kids in the “parsha.” Generally I really enjoy these phone calls, because I think very highly of my friends and I enjoy helping the mothers out.

I’ve written “generally,” because when dealing with mentchlich people, it can be a pleasant experience. Mentchliche people are those who identify themselves. I understand a mother’s need for confidentiality. If the reason you aren’t identifying yourself is because you don’t want the person to know that he was asked about, then why can’t you just firmly ask for this phone call not to get back to the person in question? I don’t need you to identify yourself because I’m curious who you are, but rather, knowing a person’s name establishes some sort of connection. I know that I am speaking to a person who is interested in hearing about my friend and not some sort of nameless individual.

Another point in being mentchlich: Sometimes I’ll speak to a mother for twenty minutes, extolling the virtues of the boy in question and patiently answering her questions to the best of my ability, albeit with honesty and accuracy. Maybe this is too much to ask, but is it so hard for you to say, “Thank you for giving me your time. You were a real help”?

It isn’t fun dealing with people who hound you – I’ll save another letter for the ridiculous questions some people ask – and don’t always listen to your answer. It isn’t fun dealing with people who want to find out the truth about someone, but go about it the wrong way. Please ask your questions straight out and stay away from those loaded or trick questions which makes the reference confused. I try to always say the truth so please ask what you mean without being worried that I’ll say what you want to hear, as opposed to the truth.

As I’ve stated in the beginning of this letter, the majority of people are mentchlich. It’s just on the rare occasion that I speak to a mother who may not realize that she is making it difficult for me to help her. People should know and internalize that human beings like helping people who are mentchlich, soft spoken and appreciative. Human beings do not like speaking to interrogators, policemen, and ingrates. (Poetic license taken here in the form of exaggeration to get a point across.)

I think I made my point quite clear: It is hard to remain calm and upbeat when faced with insensitivity or rudeness. Please, mothers, do yourselves a favor. Act decent to make us feel that we want to help you.

Although I don’t think this is the cause of the shidduch crisis, I do think that people would pick up the phone more easily to redd shidduchim if they knew that they will be dealing with mentchliche people.

May there be many simchos bekarov. Amein!

Signed,
K. F.

P. S. It may be hypocritical not to identify myself, but since I’m still in the “parsha,” I don’t think revealing my identity would be safe.

13 COMMENTS

  1. i think it’s more important to know who the caller is so you know you’re speaking the same language. there are alot of terms that can mean different things to people from different circles. a persons definition of yeshivish, heimish, etc all depend on where they are coming from.

  2. #2-absolutely. When the person doesn’t give me her/his name, I will not get into to many specifics. I tell them that I don’t feel comfortable talking with anonymous people. Also, I NEVER get back to the other party with the questions being asked.

  3. I cannot believe, ok, maybe I can but I would never do it, that people don’t introduce themselves when making calls. I would NEVER give any info to someone who didn’t introduce him/herself. Though then again, neither do I go report back to the other side.

  4. K.F.

    Seems to me you are the exception here.

    -“If the reason you aren’t identifying yourself is because you don’t want the person to know that he was asked about, then why can’t you just firmly ask for this phone call not to get back to the person in question?”

    How many people would respect that request?? Unfortunately some (many?) would reassure the caller and then turn around and tell the person in question.

    -“Please ask your questions straight out and stay away from those loaded or trick questions which makes the reference confused. I try to always say the truth so please ask what you mean without being worried that I’ll say what you want to hear, as opposed to the truth.”

    YOU may always try to tell the truth. There are others who unfortunately are not as honest as you are when it comes to this parsha.

  5. i really agree (as i see most do ) about giving the name. the info seeker should ALWAYS identify themselves, not just for all the MANY practical and common civil reasons involded, but even from a halachic point of view to give lahshon hara l’toeles you must know whos your speaking to .
    as for NUM.7 I COULDNT DISAGREE MORE you think that if someone doesn’t say the name you cant find out who it is if u really want. i’ve found out many times thru circumstantial info who the anonymous caller was. IN CONTRAST to the father who called me like a mench(happened to be A known rabbi)completely identified himself, told me that he repeats what i say to noone but his wife and MAYBE daughter, and said that he expects that i keep the same level of confidentiality, and i did. as opposed to the people who act like obnoxious snoops- i will do the same

  6. I have to totally agree with #7 “been there and done that”. Unfortunately, K.F., you are definitely a major exception to the rule. We have been mortified more than once by thoughtless people who have gone back to the girl’s family, telling them who has called to inquire about them. It has gotten so sticky and even ruined some nice relationships when we rejected a prospective girl or two, sigh,…if only the girl’s family had not known that we called!

    I made it clear every time that I do not want the other side to know as we are not sure yet. Nonetheless, I have found that people are more willing to ignore our plea and break their “promise” to us. I therefore now wish to remain annonymous, and if one day I happen to call you K.F., and you do not wish to speak to me, well then it is your prerogative. I, for one, never ask someone for their name when they call to ask me questions. Why should I be a yenta? It is only my business to answer all the person’s questions to the best of my ability and their name is of no importance to me. I am willing to honor their need to privacy. I would like others to honor mine as well.

  7. When I was single, I found that trick questions were the only way to get out the truth, and they worked very well dealing with people who are just trying to say whatever it takes to get the girl a date.

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