Dear Esteemed Shadchan,
As an inexperienced shadchan, I was wondering what the correct procedure regarding the following is.
Once a shidduch becomes more serious (date five and beyond), what approach should be taken?
A. Should the call the shadchan as soon as possible to say where he is holding?
B. Should the boy call the shadchan after he’s thought everything through (which can often exceed 24 hours) and thus leave the other party unsure of where they are standing during that time?
Thank you in advance.
At every stage of an on-going Shidduch, constant communication and a good flow of feedback is of utmost importance. When a response after a date comes with a delay and hesitations are obvious, the Shidduch definitely loses momentum. The side that is waiting for the response will automatically build defenses in preparation for a negative answer. Even if the answer eventually comes back positive, the defenses might still be there and momentum is definitely lost.
Delayed answers cause a great deal of aggravation and damage to a Shidduch, even more than people seem to know. It is always optimum to avoid hesitations whenever possible, even if it means giving another date when there are doubts that still have to be clarified. If one side is doubtful but is still continuing with another date, the Shadchan should express to the other side, that even though the Shidduch is continuing, the boy/girl is not sure of its’ direction. There is no reason for anyone to be mislead into thinking that an engagement is imminent when that is totally not the case.
At best, if possible, answers should be traded shortly after a date is over and not wait till the morning. That way there is no time to build defenses and the momentum is seized. However, anyone who is more comfortable giving an answer by morning (no later than 11am) should be accommodated and it is not considered a delayed answer.
When a Shidduch is in process and for whatever reason there must be a delayed answer, there should be immediate communication through the Shadchan, expressing tactfully the reason why more time is needed. An approximate time frame about when an answer is expected should also be given. To wait for an answer indefinitely, not knowing what the issue is and when an answer will come, is extremely nerve wracking!
When the reverse occurs, that we find ourselves on the side that is waiting for an answer that is delayed, we must exercise patients and understanding and wait till clarity is obtained despite how difficult and trying this time can be. Great effort combined with cooperation should be exerted in either case by both sides to avoid all unnecessary aggravation in the Shidduch process, which isn’t an easy Parsha to begin with.
As much as we all have our own agendas when marrying off our children, it is always important for us to try to understand and put ourselves in the other side’s position. We should never do onto others what we would not want done to ourselves! As parents who want the best for our children, and want to do what is right within the Shidduch process, we are all actually on the same team!
A devoted Shadchan who is calm, sensitive, and listens closely, can help the fraying nerves by avoiding to apply even the slightest pressure, understanding everyone’s position, and tactfully conveying the situation to both sides clearly. A Shadchan should also make every attempt to accommodate each side with their reasonable wishes and whims concerning the Shidduch process. After all, it is a lifetime decision!
Signed, T. Rubinstein