By Moshe Pogrow, Director, NASI Project
(Second in a series)
(To view Part I – Introduction, click here.)
With a greater understanding of the shidduch process from the shadchan’s point of view, we can now address what takes place when a single meets a shadchan and what can be done to make the most out of each opportunity to meet a shadchan.
When a single meets a shadchan, they are hoping the shadchan will take a singular interest in them, come up with numerous quality shidduch suggestions for them over the next few days, and work to see those ideas to fruition. This expectation is, as we will explain shortly, unrealistic, and further exacerbated when the single pays the shadchan $150 just for the meeting. It is for this reason that I personally discourage the practice of some shadchanim or organizations asking for a fee to meet singles on a one to one basis. Although they are well within their rights to do so, it inevitably generates unrealistic expectations that are soon followed by ill will.
A notable exception to this would be when a shul or community organization puts together an event for their city’s singles to spend and evening meeting shadchanim. These events generally cost in the many thousands of dollars and provide the young women with the opportunity to meet a number of skilled shadchanim, both local and non-local, in one place at one time. For the exceptional opportunity to meet numerous shadchanim, while saving themselves extensive travel time and expense, it is understandable to have a reasonable registration fee for those attending the event to help their community with a part of the expense in putting together such an event.
Unfortunately, the reality is that very active (professional) shadchanim often meet upwards of 20 new singles a week, sometimes in one evening. In one month, they can easily meet more than 80 new singles. Active shadchanim are unquestionably, legitimately overwhelmed. The most prolific of shadchanim sets up about 25 dates a month. As such, it should be plainly obvious that the vast majority of singles a given shadchan meets will never be sent out on a date by that shadchan. Well more than half of the singles a shadchan meets will not be redt anyone by that shadchan.
Take the common scenario: a shul, school or community makes an event and invites a few shadchanim to meet “their” singles. Each shadchan might meet 16 young women that evening, yet it is unlikely that they will have any suggestions for more than 5 or 6 of the young women they meet. This is despite the organizers devoting extensive time and preparation to arrange for each shadchan to meet only with young women that they are most likely to be successful in helping. If even half of the shadchanim who attended were to send 2 or 3 young women out on dates as a result of the event, it would be considered a highly successful event.
As such, the reality is that when a single meets a shadchan, they have the shadchan’s attention for the duration of the meeting. During that relatively short period, the shadchan is evaluating whether this particular single is someone for whom they will likely have ideas. Will the shadchan have a relatively easy time getting yesses from large numbers of boys? If the shadchan thinks so, they will automatically file that away, and that single will be someone they will more consistently work on. (Later in this series, we will delve into the characteristics that can make someone more likely to have an easier time getting yesses, and what they can do to increase the likelihood of that happening.)
For the vast majority of singles who do not fit that category, what takes place during the meeting is this: the shadchan thinks of anyone, off the top of their head, who might be a reasonable suggestion. Some shadchanim might search their database for an appropriate idea. Over the next few days, it is possible for the shadchan to come up with an idea or two and work on it. However, once a few days have passed and the shadchan has had no suggestions, the chance that they will subsequently remember that particular single and suggest a shidduch drops precipitously.
It must be noted and appreciated that just because the shadchan hasn’t set up a date for a particular single does not mean they haven’t tried. One can never know the many hours a shadchan invests only to hear a “no” from the boy’s side. Unless the boy’s side has given a yes, or has at least begun to express interest, the shadchan will most likely not inform the girl’s side. Just recently, a shadchan told me of a couple that will be going out three months after the suggestion was brought to the boy’s side. The girl met the shadchan at a community event and heard nothing. She surely thought that the shadchan had ignored her, when, in reality, the shadchan had been working on an idea for her for every bit of three months.
The one way that a shadchan may redt a shidduch for a single they met a while back is if the single sends timely and gentle reminders—with the full understanding that the shadchan may not respond to them unless he or she has a particular shidduch to discuss. The purpose of such one-way communication is that shadchanim are constantly meeting new boys. It is possible that in three months, the shadchan will meet a boy who is a wonderful idea for this particular single. If she has stayed in touch with the shadchan, hashgachah elyonah often arranges that punkt the day a girl sends a reminder text, the shadchan meets a boy who is a good idea. But without the “reasonable histadlus” of a reminder, the shadchan simply wouldn’t remember her and would instead suggest him for someone he or she more recently met.
This will be discussed in greater depth in a future article.
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