Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just Go Out and See

Good, interesting posts out there worth pondering, following up from this post:

The Apple is frustrated:
But you know what else is true in dating? People don’t want the really outgoing ones either. People don’t want intensity. They don’t want passion. They want “reasonably outgoing.” Not too shy, but not too loud either. Definitely not someone with opinions, who doesn’t have qualms about putting them out there. [...]

...I know that those are qualities that need to be worked on and can sometimes be unpleasant to others. But I just wish people would look past that and see that I’m like that because I care about things, because I’m passionate about the world, because I feel deeply about justice and honesty, instead of just seeing it as “insulting” and “relentless” and “high standards.”
Meanwhile, YD addresses another aspect of flipping out and how it touches on dating:
This has created a "list" phenomenon in the dating scene: How many times a day does she daven? How many hours a day does he learn? How does he or she dress? Does he watch movies? Does she watch TV?

Why has this happened? Well if your you have one major criteria, and that major criteria is easy to apply to every scenario, then all you need is a piece of paper and and a pen, and you can make many of your life decisions based on straight-forward factual information. [...]

There has also been a spill-over effect to non-religious factors: Is she loud? Is he friendly? Is she smart? Is he funny? What does he do? What does she do? Where did he go to school? Where is she in college?

Although these are all factors that can affect a relationship, they have little to do with what makes a relationship. What makes a person right for you is that they are right for you, and you'll never know unless you give them a chance. I think that very often, those who have the practice to investigate shidduchim and then say no because of certain factors, are making a huge mistake. They are looking for someone that peaks their interest or at least keeps them in their comfort zone, but they may be passing on a tremendous opportunity.

This is also why I hate having to describe a person for shidduch purposes. I know that the person I'm talking to is waiting for some fact or some description that's gonna make them say "Wow! I really want to date this person!" And if I can't provide that tidbit, the potential just becomes a name on a list for emergency purposes. Again, what makes a person good for you is that they are good for you, period. The only way to find out is to give someone a chance.

Once again, I cannot overemphasize that I strongly feel people would be much better off skipping all the questions and just going out on a date. I have yet to see anyone make the argument (and prove) that asking questions and rejecting people in advance has led to an overall better dating experience by somehow weeding out "bad" dates and leaving them with predominantly "good" ones. If anything, questions only lead people to reject people (who may or may not be good for them) and form either an overly high expectation of the date or given them a list of things to be wary of. Friends and shadchanim don't help this much, either (and I'm sure I'm just as guilty of this).

Just go out and see for yourself. What's so wrong with that?!


  1. "I cannot overemphasize that I strongly feel people would be much better off skipping all the questions and just going out on a date." Oh do I agree! So a few of those types of dates may not be "fun" or work out well--as opposed to all the pre-researched dates which work out wonderfully?

    One of my three favorite shidduchim to have made paired up an ivy league vunderkind--Phi Beta Kappa, valedictorian, published before her 21st birthday--who was also a very young almunah with a small daughter. Everyone was turning themselves upside down to find her the perfect match on paper, obsessing about who would fit to a tee her unique qualities, and I fixed her up with a plumber. Granted, he owned his own plumbing company at that point and was very skilled at what he did. And he was an avid chess player. And he loved kids. Didn't hurt that he also was helpful and skilled in the kitchen. And I told neither of them much of anything that I knew about the other. Basically I redt the shidduch on the basis of "you both really deserve a nice night out at a good restaurant rather than staying at home and brooding about why you aren't getting married." Nine years of marriage and three kids later there are still people who wonder if I did the right thing. Sheeesh!

  2. For that reason, I say - down with shidduch resumes!

  3. I think there is just too much over-thinking and over-analysis that goes on. I recently had an experience where the shadchan (someone I know fairly well) wanted a specific answer about something hashkafa related from me, but wasn't happy with the answer I gave her because my basic point was, if you think it could work and you're telling me that he is a nice guy with good middos, then give it a chance.

    Somehow people don't get that things don't have to match up perfectly, they just need to be in the same ballpark.

  4. S - EXACTLY.

    ProfK - Hehe. Well done. :)

    tnspr - What I find fascinating is something that didn't exist (to my knowledge) until a few years ago is so standard that someone can even say "down with them".

  5. I agree completely. People are generally pretty bad at imagining the person who would be good for them. Compatibility and chemistry are not discernible from resumes.

  6. Ezzie - now I find myself editing my friends' resumes....aaahhh!

    It also spread pretty quickly from being a "girls only" item to being de rigueur for guys and girls. Nuts. And it trickled down pretty quickly from the yeshivish world, too.

    Everything is just moving too fast!

  7. Well, see, yes and no. Certainly Jewish Atheist is right that people are not particularly good at imagining what they need. And I definitely agree that this is true when it comes to personality.

    But hashkafa-related questions are different. Perhaps we all go too far on those questions and try to figure everything out to a tee, but I have dated guys who were hashkafically wrong for me, and it was a huge waste of time. That is the only thing I want to know about a guy before I will say yes to a shidduch. But to ignore that is just asking for lots of dating frustrations—and there are enough of those anyway.

  8. For NY-based daters it's easy enough to say 'just go out and see', but for some of us, geographic factors means 'just going out' entails a significant investment of both time and money, something one might not be able to afford for every semi-suggestion. Short of being set up by someone who knows both sides really well, vetting based on 'paper', and research, is really the only option.

  9. R' Yaakov Kamenetsky once said that "85% of what you need to know about a match you can find out beforehand"

    that is to find out the direction that the partner is going in, RELEVANT family background, education, and such. the rest is left up to the two of them.

    lets call that chemistry.

    personally i believe the family background you should want to know about is what I call AAA
    and Adultery