Getting the Shadchan’s Attention – Part I
By Moshe Pogrow, Director, NASI Project
(Third in a series)
(To view Part I – Introduction, click here.)
(To view Part II- Meeting the shadchan, click here.)
So who do shadchanim focus on?
As explained, shadchanim constantly meet new people, and it’s impossible for them to focus on every person they meet. So which shidduchim do they actually redt? Which singles do they actually choose to redt shidduchim to? And most importantly, what can any one person do to increase the likelihood that they will be taken an interest in?
Surprising as it might seem, a large number of shidduchim that shadchanim redt are actually “handoffs,” where a third party asks the shadchan to suggest an idea. Whether or not the third party has already approached either side, if the shadchan thinks it is reasonable, they will be glad to redt it, especially if they know either or both sides. This is a classic example of a shadchan redting an idea they would not have contemplated on their own, simply because it isn’t possible for them to conceive suggestions for all the people in their database.
Another scenario involves a shadchan redting a shidduch to a single who, for whatever reason, they have made it a priority to marry off. In a database of hundreds and hundreds of singles, a shadchan can make a priority of maybe eight or ten girls maximum. These high-priority singles may be the shadchan’s relatives, a best friend’s child, and, yes, those horrible, rotten, money-hungry shadchanim may also have a few very wealthy families who have promised, or from whom they are hoping to receive, generous shadchanus that can help them pay their tuition bills and buy some clothes for their children. By and large, it is a very small handful of people whom they can focus on so personally.
The third and most common shidduchim redt are to singles who are fresh in the shadchan’s mind. Shadchanim are constantly meeting people. When they meet a new single, they think about it for a few days afterwards. They do not readily have suggestions for every single they meet, but those for whom they do are the ones who are redt. But after a few days, it is simply impossible for a shadchan to keep track of all the people they have met. They don’t have time to sit down and go through their database and think about suggestions for each single, one by one. It is a safe assumption that if a single has met a shadchan and hasn’t heard from them in a few weeks—certainly in a few months—the chances of the shadchan waking up one day and suggesting an idea for them is practically zero. Either the shadchan has tried and gotten nowhere, or they had no ideas readily available.
However, if a shadchan is reminded of them at various intervals, then the shadchan will, at that time, try to think of any boy they’ve recently met who might be a good idea for that girl. And if the shadchan has an idea, they will surely redt it. As such, when meeting a shadchan, it is crucial to ask what their preferred method of follow-up is—phone call, text, email—and at what frequency. Then stick to it. Don’t expect the shadchan to return your call or text, realize that the purpose of doing so is simply to remind them of your previous meeting, and of you.
But which of the singles that a shadchan meets are they likely to have ideas for right away? What can you do to be just such a person?
Shadchanim, regardless of their motivation, are in the business of setting up dates. What that means is that both the boy’s side and girl’s side say yes to a specific suggestion. While meeting a young woman, or receiving her résumé, a shadchan makes a quick judgment: will it be easy or not to get a yes for her? The reality is that there are some young women who will get yeses from 80 percent of boys, and there are young women who the shadchan thinks they will get yeses from 20 percent of boys or fewer. The “easy ones” will be worked on; more challenging cases are set aside.
We might prefer that shadchanim not work this way, but they typically invest ten-plus hours a day and want to set up dates. The last thing a shadchan wants to do is spend hours and hours trying to get a shidduch off the ground and only get a no from one side. They don’t want to spend all this time and have only refusals to show for it. There certainly are strategies that young women and their families can use to make it easier for the shadchan to get a yes for them, which will be discussed in the next article, iy”H.
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