I have always said that shadchanim should do all in their power to help and to assist singles. They shouldn’t insult or ignore… anyone. After all, they chose to be a shadchan. They chose to help singles. They may think they know what is best for the single, hence they give unsolicited advice - but they should not be a shadchan if they have the goal of furthering their own agenda. Below is a letter written by a young man who feels used by a shadchan. Instead of doing all she can to set up this fellow, she asked for a “favor” – and then never returned his calls after the outcome of the favor didn’t go according to the plan.
You always write that it’s tough enough to date, so why make things harder on ourselves. Well, something is being made hard for me and I need help. I’m not that old or young, and I have been on my fair share of dates. I have a shadchan whom I speak with occasionally and he helps me out, but I haven’t gone seeking out shadchanim. My friend told me that he keeps getting great dates from a particular shadchan and I should call her.
I called the shadchan, introduced myself to her, and told her I was referred by my friend. The shadchan knew who my friend was and she scheduled an appointment with me to meet her the next day. The meeting went well. She told me that she knew the type of girl I was looking for and knew plenty of girls who were looking for the type of guy I am. She threw out some names asking if I had dated any of the girls or had heard of them. I dated one, knew of a couple, but hadn’t heard of the rest. She said that she knew exactly who she would redt me to and would be in touch within a week.
A couple of days later the shadchan called and told me that two of the girls that she had mentioned to me during our meeting weren’t free to date now, but she asked if I wouldn’t mind dating someone whom she knows is along the lines of what I am looking for. Something in the shadchan’s voice sounded off. If she thought this girl was a match for me, then why didn’t she call her along with the other girls who were busy? Why was she asking me if she should call her? It didn’t add up. The shadchan explained that the only thing “wrong” with this girl is that she is shy and quiet. I told her that I wasn’t looking for that type of girl at all. She said that she understood, but since she had nothing for me now, I should just consider this girl who had everything I wanted without the “volume” I was after. I gave in.
Long story very short, the date was terrible. The girl hardly spoke and when she spoke it was barely over a whisper. I tried to break the awkwardness by saying that we are two strangers thrown together in a weird situation, but if we were stranded on a boat in the middle of nowhere, what would she want me to know about her. I thought it was a good conversation starter. It took forever for her to answer, and I kept asking her to speak louder. I tried to talk about her job, her family, hobbies. Nothing. After an hour and a half, I told her that I had to call it an early night and I would be driving her home. First thing the next day, the shadchan called and said the girl had a good time on the date and would love to see me again. What? I was surprised that she actually spoke to the shadchan. I told the shadchan I wasn’t interested. I wanted a girl with more personality that I don’t have to coax into speaking with me. I wanted her to redt me a different girl from her files. The shadchan said that I can’t just let a great girl like this go, and I would be a fool if I didn’t take her out one more time.
I am no pushover. I consider myself to be a nice guy, but I wasn’t going to go on a mercy date again. I did it once to please the shadchan and I didn’t like the girl. I told the shadchan that the girl wasn’t for me. The shadchan said that she really couldn’t believe that I made my mind up in less than two hours. (She knew details of the date. Why couldn’t the girl be as talkative to me?) The shadchan was putting pressure on me to take out the girl again. Finally, I told the shadchan that two people must want to date each other if things were going to work out, and I definitely didn’t want to date the girl again, and I can’t understand why she is not taking my opinion into account about the date. The shadchan said I was making a terrible mistake, and because she “knows” my type, she would give me a day to think it over. There was nothing to think over and I told her that. The shadchan wasn’t happy with me. She said she would call back the other girls that she had mentioned in our first meeting and get back to me. It has been almost two weeks and I haven’t heard from the shadchan. I texted her a few days ago, but she hasn’t responded. I feel like she used me to set up this other girl; and because I didn’t follow her suggestions to go out again, her revenge is that she won’t set me up or answer my texts. I don’t think this is fair. I spoke with my friend who referred her, and my friend said it was weird because she always calls or texts him back the same day or the very next day. I have a very bad taste in my mouth from this whole experience. Can it be that she is trying to punish me and is letting me think it over? No one has the right to do that to me or anyone else! I’m not allowed to say who I want to date? Only the girl can have an opinion and tell the shadchan what she wants — as if the shadchan is a genie and will grant the wish?
What do you think?
Yehuda, thank you for your email.
This sounds awful. I can only hope that the shadchan isn’t trying to “punish you,” making you see the error of your ways by not wanting to go out with the woman again. If the shadchan is doing that, it’s an abuse of power and that person should not be a shadchan. I had a similar experience when dating. I met with a shadchan who promised me my chasan on a silver platter. She called me the next week, asking me to do her a favor and date someone who was my type, but younger than I was. I didn’t care about age. The issue was that the fellow did care – and I was under strict instructions not to discuss age with him. The shadchan was worried that he would never use her as a shadchan again if he found out that he was misled by her. What?! She wanted me to start off dating someone who would dump me and her if he ever found out my true age – he was less than two years younger than me. I agreed to the date. It was a one-and-done-with date. I never heard from the shadchan again. I called and texted, but she never responded. She never tried to get me to go out with the fellow again, but maybe through conversation the fellow figured out I was a year and three months older than he was (gasp!!) and was angry at the shadchan and therefore she was angry at me.
In my opinion, and my opinion only, I never felt great when I had to go meet with a shadchan. It was me basically saying, “Help! I can’t find anyone who wants to date me. Do you know someone who may want to date me strictly on what you tell him your impression of our one-time meeting was?” I was never made to feel down when I met with a shadchan, but this is just what my internal dialogue was saying. So I give a lot of credit to any single who has met with a shadchan, because it is asking for help with one of the biggest decisions of your life. From what you have told me about your experiences with this shadchan, it certainly sounds like she is trying to punish you. But I really hope that isn’t the case. Maybe, she is away or has other responsibilities that aren’t allowing her to respond to you. But then again, let’s be real. It takes 30 seconds to text someone that she will call him back at a later date or to text, “still waiting for an answer from girls. I will call you when I know.”
I hate to say it, but maybe you should be a little devious if you do want to know what is going on and if you do want this shadchan to set you up again. This is something I have done myself in the past: I call the person whom I haven’t been able to get in touch with from an unknown number not associated with the number he or she has for me. I called someone from my home landline when he or she wasn’t responding to my cell-phone or work number. There are ways to block the number, but I don’t know if this person answers to unfamiliar numbers (I’m lucky that the person I was trying to contact did). You can call from a work number or even your friend’s phone because he said that the shadchan “always” responds to him.
Figure out what you want to do. Try to get in touch with this shadchan or move on. But if you get in touch with this shadchan again, I wouldn’t recommend speaking about this topic, of how you think she was trying to punish you. Yes, it’s irritating and not fair, but pick your battles. If you want her to redt you one of the terrific young women she has met with, just continue on as if nothing has happened: “Hi. I was just calling to see if you were able to contact any of the girls you had mentioned to me when we met.” That’s it. Don’t argue because then she will get defensive. Again, I hope she hasn’t been punishing you, but just in case she has, move on.
Hatzlachah to you all.