I like to publish articles where I see a theme trending. As we all know, trends fade and then come back into style again. I see this theme pop up especially during the summer, or at least the past five summers.
Theme: how singles should make dating their one and only priority. And it’s easy to understand why the topic trends in the summer. The summer is when most people take their vacations from work. Some think that if you’re single, you should be focus-driven to get married, and that should be your one and only priority. So, what happens when you scheduled a vacation months or weeks in advance, and right before you begin packing, a shadchan calls redting a shidduch? When the single says that it all sounds great, but it has to be put on hold for a week or two, the shadchan gets all “tiffy taffy” about it and may even say, “Well I guess you don’t really want to get married, if you can’t adjust your plans.” It’s true, I’ve had it said to me. Instead, the shadchan should understand that we all work hard and deserve some time off; and it’s wrong, even borderline inappropriate, to ask me or anyone to reschedule a trip that has been planned and reservations made, to go out with the person, which may lead straight to Nowheresville. A good shadchan shouldn’t ask someone to inconvenience him/herself and should understand completely.
What is the definition of the word priority? According to my friend Google, a priority is something that requires being dealt with or done first: to be more important (than something else). An example can be that it is a priority to make a mortgage payment than to use that money for concert tickets.
We all lead busy lives. We’re juggling work/school, social responsibilities, family responsibilities, etc. At times, we feel like we are running around like chickens without heads. But just because we feel like we’re being pulled in many different directions doesn’t mean that we don’t make time for what’s important. It may be hard to carve out the time, but if it’s important, it’ll get done.
I usually take time off from work every summer to travel, but with COVID mucking things up, it’s been difficult to do that for the last couple of years. Since things have seemingly gotten better and restrictions have been lifted, my friend and I planned a trip to Croatia. We were able to coordinate our schedule to go the week after Shabbos Nachamu. Reservations made. Ten days of relaxation, fun, and exploring.
Days before the trip, a shadchan called with a “great guy, wonderful family, etc.” The whole nine yards. I told her it sounded fine, but I was leaving on a trip in a few days, it will have to wait until I came back. She basically admonished me for putting off a shidduch on hold for a trip. She actually said that COVID restrictions can come back, so my trip may get canceled anyway. And I looooved it when she said, “I’m doing the best I can for someone your age. It’s in your best interest to put off the trip a week or two.”
Someone my age? I’m 29, not 92. And it isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers to reschedule a trip, especially when your friend has planned her vacation at the same time. I told her that I wasn’t going to change my trip for a “potential” shidduch; and if it is bashert, it could wait a couple of weeks. The shadchan hung up in a huff, telling me that I need to rethink my priorities. She said I can vacation anytime, but when someone good is being redt, I should jump at the chance.
I’m so annoyed. She tried to use my age and guilt as weapons to make me change plans, expensive plans. As you’ve always said, a good shadchan would never make someone do things like that. I don’t think I’ll be dealing with her anymore. I didn’t like her tactics. She had no consideration for me, or my friend. It was only what she wanted.
Thanks for the email, Yocheved.
I remember the days of having made plans either with friends or family and then a shadchan calls and it’s “drop everything. You must go out with this guy now. Don’t even look into him. Say yes now!” I kid you not.
There are reasons to reschedule a trip: An immediate family member or best friend is sick, gets into an accident, etc. This doesn’t qualify as one of those events. To ask you to put your vacation on hold proves to me that they don’t have your best interests at heart. Like you said, if it’s bashert, it can wait a couple of weeks; and if he can’t wait, then it was never meant to be. This shadchan also proves that she has no consideration for others in regard for what she says or how she gets a single to date someone she is redting them.
A decade ago, I was in the waiting room of Johns Hopkins Medical Center’s Medical Intensive Care Unit. I willingly canceled my Florida vacation so that I could sit at my family member’s bedside. I willingly used more PTO days from work to stay where I was. My family was in the middle of a crisis, and I knew where my place was. In fact, it was hard for anyone to drag me out of the hospital even when my “shift” was over. One day, my phone rang. I had been getting so many calls and texts from old friends, relatives, rabbanim, and anyone else who wanted to offer t’filos, so I didn’t think twice about answering my phone when an unfamiliar number popped up. To make a long story very short – the shadchan, whom I had never heard of, and who called me by the wrong first name, told me that she had a “boy” that I had to go out with. He saw my resume; calls were made, and he agreed to go out. I explained that I was not going to be dating anyone in the immediate future and was concentrating on helping my family member. This “shadchan,” who again, I had never met and didn’t know my first name, told me that my sick relative wouldn’t want me to miss an opportunity to date my bashert, and I shouldn’t use illness as an excuse. Let’s just say the entire waiting room and hallway of the MICU at Johns Hopkins heard me tell this woman exactly what I thought of her, and her thought of what my relative would or wouldn’t want me to do. I used many adjectives describing what I thought of her and told her not to call me again.
Yocheved, in no way am I comparing our two situations. But the reasoning of our “shadchanim” (take away their shadchan membership card) was the same: A single should focus on getting married. They should miss out on vacations, birthdays, weddings, sickness, if they feel they have the right match for you. I am not referring to the shadchanim who use their seichel. There are plenty of those, and unfortunately plenty of the ones we have dealt with.
Nothing is wrong with having a life. Nothing is wrong with having a few priorities at the top of your list. You can balance “get married” and “live life and not wait by the phone.”
I guess all singles are expected to drop everything in order to date. But being able to keep your word and attend previous commitments and not cancel on friends and others at the last minute is part of being an adult and having responsibilities. I always said that I knew when I was an adult when I had to give up on some fun activities and keep work/family commitments. I guess some shadchanim expect us to give in to their role of a five-year-old having a tantrum: “I said go out with him/her now! Now!! Go out now!! I’m gonna make you sorry if you don’t. Go out!!” People, calm down! It may not happen on your timetable, but it will happen.
Could it be that the shadchanim who are doing this as a fulltime job and depend on shadchanus for parnasah try to rush the process along? Are they telling the singles that they “need to get their priorities in order” because they are the ones counting on the money? Who knows? Everyone must understand that there is much more to life and more important things than dating. Yes, singles dearly want to get married, but that doesn’t mean they need to take a sabbatical from working or socializing with friends until they stand under the chupah. Humans are amazingly wonderful creatures! We can multitask. Yes, sometimes people need a prod to get themselves moving, but they don’t need to be chastised by others telling them that their priorities are mixed up and they “aren’t serious about dating.” Those types of phrases can really affect a single. They may think that something is wrong with them or maybe they should devote more time to dating by attending more events, meeting with more shadchanim, davening harder, etc. The truth is, they will meet their bashert only when the time is bashert!