under Date Night
Jewish Geography can become an issue when you’re single and seemingly connected to nearly every other single Jew that you know in some way — either you hooked up with their friend, or your friend dated them seriously, or your cousin broke their friend’s heart — and suddenly you feel like there’s no one left to date! But really, very few single Jews are truly “off-limits,” and even then, someone can usually become fair game with a simple conversation.
Ex-spouses of your friends are off-limits… unless it’s been years and they’re now friendly and your friend, in fact, set you two up. If it’s an acquaintance’s ex-spouse then it’s perhaps a good idea to run the idea past your acquaintance before pursuing a relationship. For example: my fiance and I were set-up by a mutual friend who is also good friends with his ex-wife. Our shadchan asked the ex-wife’s permission before making the shidduch.
If one of your friends has never recovered from getting dumped by someone, then that person is probably off-limits. If one of your friends contracted an STD from someone, then that person is, well, need I say more? But if your friend simply casually dated the person, then a simple phone call asking for your friend’s blessing should suffice. And if there was no drama and yet your friend won’t give you permission, then perhaps you need to take a deeper look at both the prospect as well as the friendship.
I have a few friends who are on JDate but use it in an unorthodox way. When they see prospects that aren’t for them but would be perfect for their friend, they write the person and send them that friend’s screen name with the reason why they think they would make a great match. Sometimes the new prospects would have already received emails from JDate that they are a match, sometimes not, but it’s different when it comes from someone’s friend confirming JDate’s algorithm. So if you see someone on JDate who may not be for you but might be perfect for your friend, then make the match. And if your friend isn’t on JDate, then ask permission and then still make the match. Then you get credit for a shidduch (it takes 3 to get to heaven!) and so does JDate!
You can set people up on a blind date or you can invite them both to the same place at the same time and casually introduce them. I had a successful shidduch recently with telling 2 friends about each other and having them meet alone at a coffee house, but the next shidduch I have in mind is going to be done a different way. I don’t want them to feel the pressure or the awkwardness, so instead I’m having a get-together and inviting them as well as some of their respective friends. I want them to feel comfortable and at ease. They know about each other and are interested in meeting each other, so I just need to make it easy. Some people need to be put in a 1-on-1 situation for an assortment of reasons (either they’re too easily distracted, or they won’t put themselves out there, or they’ll depend on their friends too much, etc), but others need a buffer. So when you’re looking to do a set-up, or if someone says they have a shidduch for you, then determine what kind of introduction you want to make by taking into consideration the personalities of the two people involved in the set-up.
You meet a great guy or gal except he or she is not for you, but you do know someone perfect to pass it forward to. Even if that person happens to your sibling. My girlfriends Sara and Rachel are sisters and they’re both single. Sara meets guys left and right, and sometimes she wishes she could introduce them to her sister, but it’s kind of awkward. She’s rejecting a guy while at the same time offering to help them find love. And if the shidduch works, she would end up related to the guy! But the awkwardness shouldn’t stop you from introducing someone you dated to someone you’re friends with. What goes around comes around. Create love, and love will find you. Another girlfriend of mine works for the Jewish community and has access to each and every single guy in the city. But she keeps them all to herself even though she knows other women that would make better matches. She’s being selfish and meanwhile, she’s still single because she’s not right for these guys! She needs to put into the world what she wants from it and that means using her database to set up some friends, and maybe she’ll come across a guy who’s right for her.
You can lead a camel to water but you can’t make it drink. The same goes for men. I can deliver a Perfect 10 Jewish goddess to a man’s doorstep, but I can’t make him call her.
Such was the case with Lawrence. Lawrence is a great guy: besides being really nice and having good morals, he’s also a successful accountant who owns his own place, has a fantastic sense of humor and a nice head of hair. His only drawbacks are his height – a whopping 5’2 – and his age – 39. Neither make him a lost cause, but those stats have made it somewhat difficult for him on JDate. Luckily he’s open to being set-up… or so I thought.
I consulted my database of single friends and found one girl in particular whom I thought was beyond perfect. Marissa is tiny and petite, just barely 5 feet and probably 100 pounds soaking wet, in her early 30’s and besides having a thriving career as a therapist, she’s also a lot of fun. Her family is active in the community and has a reputation for being a group of super duper nice people. Feeling like I had hit this one on the nose, I started facilitating the match.
I told each of them about each other and they both sounded excited and receptive. I told Marissa that Lawrence would call her and she agreed to let me give him her number. So Lawrence has Marissa’s number… but didn’t use it. One, two, three weeks went by and nothing. I ran into Marissa and she asked what was up and I didn’t have an excuse. Lawrence said he was interested in her so why hadn’t he dialed her number? When I approached him about it, he said again that he would call her and again failed to with no excuse. At this point Marissa was done, she felt rejected and had written him off as a loser. I told Lawrence that, since he screwed up, if he was still interested then he needed to call her and keep calling her until she answered and agreed to go out with him.
What did he do with my advice? He texted her. I seriously could strangle him. Now I realize why he’s about to turn 40 and is as lonely as the last macaroon in the tin after Passover. Marissa was smart enough not to answer the text and I advised her to disregard it and to give him a second (third? fourth?) chance after he put forth some effort. Then I gave Lawrence specific instructions to call her and leave a message and then wait two days and call her again. We’ll see if that happens. I don’t know who is more frustrated – me or Marissa. I’ve now realized that the only person holding Lawrence back from being in a successful relationship is Lawrence himself. If he calls Marissa, I hope she will give him a chance after giving him crap for waiting so long. But I’m not ever setting Lawrence up with another girl just to hurt her feelings before he’s even met her.
I used to receive “matches” in my inbox but I canceled the feature because I have never, ever gotten a single response from any of the matches sent to me. I actually have stopped sending messages to men and instead just respond to messages sent to me. Why don’t men answer?
Dear Match Me Up,
The matches JDate sends are merely recommendations made by a computer based on certain commonalities. In theory, it could work to create a shidduch, but you need to put in the work yourself to find the men whom you think would be a good match. It sounds like you’ve done that and are still not having much luck and are getting frustrated. Take a deep breath. We’ve all gone through this, men and women alike!
As a woman myself, I also used to only respond to men’s emails because I was trying to think of it as getting picked up on in a bar. Every once in a while I would send an email to a guy who really caught my eye, just as I would make the first move on a guy in person (i.e. my now-husband) when I simply couldn’t help it. I don’t think this is a bad way to JDate but you still need to be active via signing on every day, unblocking your views, sending Flirts, widening your preferences and using the Click!® feature. And when a guy really catches your eye and you can’t stop wondering about him, then take the initiative and send him an email.
Finally, have a brutally honest friend review and edit some of your past emails (or even send them my way if you don’t mind me using them as examples). You may not realize how you’re coming across in an email and a simple tweak could mean a huge difference!