Getting the Shadchan’s Attention
By Moshe Pogrow, Director, NASI Project
(fourth in a series)
(To view Part I – Introduction, click here.)
(To view Part II- Meeting the shadchan, click here.)
(To view Part III- Getting the Shadchan’s Attention Part I, click here.)
Let’s get down to tachlis.
In the last article, we explained that when meeting a young woman or receiving her résumé, a shadchan evaluates whether or not it will be easy to get a yes for her. The “easy ones” they will work on; the more complicated cases they likely will not. The reality is that there are some young women who will get yeses from 80 percent of boys, and there are young women whom the shadchan thinks will get yeses from 20 percent of boys or fewer.
What can a single and her family do to maximize quality shadchan efforts on her behalf? The answer can be best expressed as follows:
- Help the shadchanim help you, by making it easier for shadchanim to get a boy and his family interested in considering the shidduch.
- Be someone whom the shadchanim want to help.
Help shadchanim help you.
Inform any shadchan you meet that any time they reach out to you with a shidduch suggestion, you will get back to them very quickly. Then follow up on this commitment. Once one side agrees to a first date, it should almost never take more than 48 hours for the other side to give an answer. This is helpful in shadchanim generating interest on the boy’s side when deciding which of a few different suggestions he is considering pursuing. In the event that a boy has given a yes, why run the risk of him losing his enthusiasm? A quick response keeps the boy interested—remember, at the same time that you are doing your checking, other people are probably running other ideas by him.
In addition, a timely response keeps the shadchan on your side. The longer you take to get back to them, the more likely it is that they will invest their time in someone who gets back to them faster.
Of course, there are situations you know from the outset that a quick response isn’t doable. If you effectively communicate that to the shadchan, everyone will understand. In general, however, in 24 to 48 hours, one should be able to make a few phone calls to ascertain if this shidduch should be pursued. It doesn’t mean you’re ready to get engaged or married—it simply means that the initial basic information was positive enough to determine that it is worth meeting. In the event that after two days, you are still unable to give a clear response, let the shadchan know. But insisting that the boy has had all the time in the world to give his yes, and therefore you will take a week to give your response, is a surefire way to encourage shadchanim to want to work with someone else in the future.
For out-of-town singles, make it a point to tell any shadchan you meet that you will travel for shidduchim, no questions asked. Even better—inform shadchanim that they can tell boys that you come in all the time, that travel is no big deal. This way, the boy won’t feel like you are traveling in special for a date, as many boys will be uncomfortable with that idea and look elsewhere. If you are going to be in town anyway, they might as well give it a try.
Hearing this, the shadchan can more easily encourage the boy’s side to give a yes—and the shadchan will be more inclined to work with you. Telling the shadchan that you have a job or are coming in a few weeks for a wedding or maybe over the summer will almost guarantee that boys and shadchanim will invest their efforts elsewhere.
Often, when a boy is interested in an out-of-town girl and both sides have given a yes, the boy will be willing to travel, if not for the first two dates then afterwards. But letting shadchanim know that you will travel as much as necessary, no questions asked, and not just for the first date or two, will make it exponentially easier for the shadchan to redt you shidduchim.
(I will be so bold as to suggest that when out-of-town communities host events for shadchanim to come in and meet the local singles, the price of meeting the shadchanim should be the guarantee that any single at the event will agree to travel as necessary.)
Be someone whom shadchanim want to help.
Be reachable. If the shadchan calls, pick up, or return the call promptly, irrespective of whether they do the same for you. Make it clear to the shadchan that shidduchim are an absolute priority. Don’t worry that you will seem desperate. That common sentiment, sadly, does much harm in shidduchim, giving the shadchan the impression that you are simply not that interested. It is very frustrating for a shadchan to try to reach someone for information, answers, or feedback, and not be able to get hold of them.
If a reputable shadchan comes to you with a yes, as long as it’s a half-decent idea, give it a shot. Consider it an investment. Even if it bombs, it was a few hours well spent—shadchanim are apt to set up people whom they have set up in the past. In addition, it is the cheapest way to “purchase” the shadchan‘s attention. If shadchanim get a yes, they tend to expect a yes from you, whether you like it or not. If you give a no, unless it is a completely atrocious idea, the shadchan will likely invest their time with people who take their suggestions more seriously. No hard feelings, but don’t expect the shadchan to keep on redting you shidduchim.
As such, if a single who has very few opportunities coming their way is suggested an idea that already comes with a yes, it is prudent to give it a chance. No one gets married after one date. No one’s judgment is clouded after just one date. If you took the time to meet a shadchan you trust (why else would you meet them?), it’s smart to do things that make it more likely for them to keep you on the radar. There is also the obvious: we’re all well aware of shidduchim that seemed like just a half-decent idea at the outset, but became beautiful marriages and families.
In addition, once a shadchan has set someone up, it is likely that they will continue to redt shidduchim, provided that the single and their family have interacted in a manner that encourages the shadchan to continue to work with them.
There is another item that would seem to be self-evident, but is apparently anything but. Recently, a community arranged for a fantastic meet-the-shadchan event. It was arranged and run beautifully, with both singles and shadchanim feeling very positive about what took place and hopeful that it would generate significant shadchan attention for those young women.
At the event, the shadchanim expressed their preference for emailed résumés, as opposed to the paper résumés the young women had brought along. Having a résumé in electronic form facilitates a shadchan’s ability to store the information in an organized manner. So the shadchanim at the event requested of each young woman that she please email her résumé.
The event took place on Sunday. By Thursday, shadchanim told the coordinators that more than half the young women had still not emailed their résumés.
It should be obvious that if one meets a shadchan who requests that a résumé be emailed, it should be sent within a few hours of meeting, or, if one doesn’t have email access at home, at the very latest the next morning.
Just as important is to ask for the shadchan to confirm receipt, in case the résumé was sent to the wrong address or went to spam. If no such confirmation is forthcoming, then send a brief text to verify. It is crucial to understand that when meeting a shadchan, the first two or three days, maximum, are the prime timeframe during which the shadchan is most likely to come up with ideas. The chances of them remembering you at a later date are close to zero. Not sending a résumé as soon as the shadchan requests one is a surefire way to move right off the shadchan’s radar. If you are out of sight during those first few days, you will be out of mind.
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