July 16, 2024
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July 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Dear Shoshy,

I have been getting set up recently by a family friend who knows me well but probably does not understand the social dynamics of people my age in the way that I do. I am so grateful to her for thinking of me and always keeping me in mind, but I have yet to say yes to any of her suggestions. Whenever she gives me references for the boys she suggests I hesitate to call them because I know that they will just give me the answer that they think I want to hear. I generally find it wise to seek outside references who know the two of us rather than calling someone who only knows the other side and only has their best interest at heart. Lately, I have been asking a few of my friends’ fiancés or the boys they are going out with through my friends. The only problem is that even though the boys being suggested are nice, frum boys, there seems to always be some factor or reason that my friends tell me not to accept the suggestion. It is hard to turn down people who seem perfectly fine on paper, not only because I do not know when I am going to get the next suggestion, but also because I am not sure that it is not a wise idea. As much as I do believe that my friends’ significant others know me well enough to know when something is simply not a good idea, I’m not sure if they just have standards that are too high. I have yet to be set up by one of my friends’ significant others so it makes me hesitate before saying no to these suggestions. On the other hand, having been on a fair share of dates, I do not want to waste my time or emotions on something that does not make sense. Going forward, I am unsure how seriously to take this advice and which matches to accept.

Thank you for your help,

Reference or Referee?

Dear Reference or Referee,

It sounds like a difficult situation and I wish you were getting more positive feedback from these references! Regardless, it is definitely nice of this family friend to set you up, and always flattering to know that someone is thinking of you. I think the most important part of deciding what to do in this situation is being able to have more than one outside reference, if that is possible, and filtering the feedback they give you. If someone tells you only good things about a boy that make him sound like what you are looking for but they still think that somehow he is not what you are looking for, I would say yes. I’m sure you have realized by now that very often, people sound as though they are perfect for you on paper but then in reality you just don’t click. The opposite is also true. Sometimes people don’t sound like they would make a great match but then, to everyone’s surprise, the couple hits it off. However, if your reference is telling you information about this person that makes it sound like it’s not shayach, do not simply say yes because you want to be dating. This is unwise for both of you and will put you through an unnecessary amount of emotional stress. Imagine that there is something about him that you know you truly are not looking for and then you end up saying yes and wasting weeks or even months of having both of you believe that this has potential. It is also important to take note of where the reference is coming from. Is this a best friend, an acquaintance or just someone who knows the potential shidduch by reputation? Surprisingly, sometimes best friends make the worst references because they know their friends too well to be able to imagine them with someone. Lastly, if your friends’ significant others are helpful in telling you to turn down dates, tell them they have a responsibility to be helpful in suggesting them as well. After all, they might not be together were it not for some kind person who thought of their match. Good luck!

Im yirtzeh Hashem by you,

Shoshy Goldstein

Shoshy Goldstein (a pseudonym) is in the “dating parsha,” but she has great intrinsic instincts that her friends and family members have sought out when they have questions about dating etiquette. Ask Shoshy your own questions by emailing [email protected]. Disclaimer: This column is not intended to replace professional advice.

 

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