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!
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.