The One Where I Rant About The Shidduch System
I can’t believe I’m doing this. I am not one of ‘those people.’ You know, one of those people that rants and raves all over the internet about a topic that bothers them. And yet, here I am, preparing to rant and rave about a part of my life that I hate talking about. Following several events in adventures of shidduchim this month, I’ve decided that I must say something before I explode. But, instead of going off about how much I dislike the system and giving all of you my opinion about how something must be done to change it, I’m going to tell you a few things I learned about myself and the kind of person I want to be based on the experiences I’ve had within the system.
1) Be courteous. If a name comes up that doesn’t interest you, be courteous and decline promptly, rather than drag the process on for weeks (or in some cases, months). For example, my name was suggested to a family that was clearly not interested. That’s fine. However, they decided to toy around with the idea for six months off and on (without doing research, I might add), before they declined for good. Maybe, maybe not, maybe, maybe not. Seriously? If you’re not interested, just say no thank you and move on. We’ve all said ‘no’ to a suggestion, it’s part of the process. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Don’t wait weeks and weeks to give someone an answer if you know from the onstart that it’s going to be a ‘no.’ At the same time, if it’s a ‘yes’ don’t drag it on because you’re trying not to come off as over eager or even desperate. If you’re interested, say something!
2) Respect other people’s time: Time is a terrible thing to waste, be it yours or that of others. There are so many people involved in a shidduch, and while it’s important to focus on your needs and the needs of the person you are dating, you cannot forget that there are other people that you need to take into consideration as well. If it’s a ‘no’ after a few dates, please, please don’t drag it on. There’s no reason to beat a dead horse people! Be up front (yet nice) with the shadchan if the person is not for you. Don’t waste their times with ‘ifs, ands or buts.’
3) Be kind: It feels weird to include ‘be kind’ in this list, but I’ve noticed that a lot of people forget this part. If you date someone and they don’t fit for you, don’t bad mouth them!! Don’t mock them or make jokes about them because for all you know, your best friend will end up marrying them. I’ve seen it a million times, and it ain’t pretty. Dating is a private, exclusive process. You don’t have to tell everyone you know regardless of whether it’s going well or not. Be kind to the person and respect who they are, even if you don’t agree with everything they do. Just because it’s not a right fit doesn’t give you a right to be cruel. What goes around comes around.
4) Trust your own judgement: Like I said, there are so many people involved in a shidduch. While you may choose to include the opinions of your parents, mashpia and friends in your decision, make sure the decision, at the end of it is yours. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, say something. The rest of the world may think that the person is wonderful, but that doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. Your opinion matters the most during this process. Don’t second guess yourself. Listen to your inner voice. It makes a huge difference.
5) Learn to laugh at the madness: I once had a guy turn me down because, and I quote: “He’s afraid of divorce, and so he would rather marry someone that his family already knows because that lessens the chances.” I laughed for about an hour afterwards. Shidduchim can be very frustrating and painful…but they can also be fun (or at least, that’s what I’ve been told). Like any circumstance in life, you can face it with frustration and throw your hands in the air after every awkward suggestion or bad date, or you can smile and laugh. I know the latter is difficult. I’m usually the girl who loudly declares that I hate shidduchim and the system after every bad date. I tend to stomp and mope for days afterwards, complaining about how there are no good guys out there. But, what I’ve learned is that it doesn’t make the process any less frustrating or painful, it just adds to it. So, I’m learning to laugh at the insanity. Such is life. You can throw a fit and cry at every bend in the road, or you can trust the process and learn to enjoy it.
You can look at shidduchim as a microcosm for life. Be courteous, respectful, kind, trust yourself and learn to laugh at the heartache. You can cry at every bend or you can smile and work through it. The choice is yours. So much for a ‘rant.’