Monday, May 23, 2011

YU Don’t Connect #3 – Remind Me, How Does This Telephone Thing Work?

Welcome back to our ongoing feature of how to improve your YUConnects and Saw You at Sinai dating experience, which I have titled:

Y U Don't Connect - OR - How Not To Be Seen At Sinai.

Please be sure to check out the first and second posts.

Today’s post covers two aspects of an issue that plagues both shadchanim and daters: Lack of courtesy in establishing/maintaining contact by phone.

Part 1:

On occasion, ASoG and I have been fortunate enough to achieve a mutual match, wherein both the guy and girl have checked out the other party’s profile and decided to accept the suggestion. Once the second person clicks the accept button, YUConnects/Saw You at Sinai sends out an automated email containing both numbers, along with the message that the guy should make contact within a short period of time.

It seems simply right? Wrong.

ASoG and I simply don’t understand why guys tend to drag their heels like crazy when it comes to making that first call. Granted, a first phone call is nerve-wracking, but it really shouldn’t be more than a “Hello, how are you? When are you available to go out? I have a few ideas of what we could do, please let me know what you’d prefer.” Scheduling the first phone call can be practically annoying as well, because it is rather silly to call the girl up and ask, “Hello, when will you be free to talk about our first date?” Or the cringe-worthy opener, “Hello, this is so-and-so, is now a good time?"

A much less complicated approach, which I used when I was dating, is to just text the girl and say “Hi, it’s Ploni Almoni from YUConnects. Could you please let me know when/what time would be good to call you to discuss the first date?”

For some reason however, this doesn’t get done so readily. We get calls or emails from girls asking what’s going on, it’s been several days to a week since the phone numbers were sent out and they haven’t heard a peep from Mr. Phone-a-phobe. In our effort to be as helpful as possible, we contact the guy and ask him what the deal is. Every single time we’ve received some lame excuse that in no way vindicates his lack of courtesy in leaving the girl hanging.

By the time we’ve basically yelled at the guy (not quite, though we are quite firm in giving him a bit of mussar), the girl has begun to lose interest because the guy is clearly not quite the mentsch-type if he can’t think about the girl’s feelings while he goes about his business ignoring her. While most times the guy will call right after we hang up, apologize profusely, and things go forward from there, there have been instances where he continued to dilly-dally and the girl got a better offer and dropped him, much to his (self inflicted) disappointment.

Lesson #1 – Guys should ALWAYS call/text the girl ASAP after a mutual match is approved. It really doesn’t take much effort to send a text inquiring her availability for a phone call. Without this first step, no one’s going to connect to anybody since they’ve forced an awkward non-starter.

Point 2:

As soon as we find out that we have a soon-to-be dating couple, we make sure to reach out to each party and let them know we’re there to help in any way we can, including being their go-between for the first few dates, or fielding any questions and responding to issues that may arise as dating goes on.

Many times, no one even responds to this friendly email, so the couple goes out some random number of times and ends the shidduch without telling us anything. We end up emailing them to find out what the deal was, or we try contacting them while they are dating to check up on them and still get no response.

This sort of situation has also led to some awkward and hastily concluded matches because one of the two parties suddenly gets antsy after the first, second, or third date, wants to end the shidduch, but can’t bring him/herself to do so.

Now, I firmly believe this is why the shadchanim are there and why they should be involved in the first few dates. Once a relationship has been established, at say 4-5 dates, then the couple should be comfortable enough to discuss things amongst themselves (following the State of the Union Address), and using an intermediary to decide if there is a next date (or not) is entirely unnecessary. The problem is that people think that this method is archaic, too “frum,” stupid, or whatever, and overestimate their abilities to give a face-to-face or over-the-phone direct rejection.

In this case, the culprits are almost equally divided between male and female. A concerned dater emails/calls to update us on how things are going, and he/she usually say something along the lines of, “I had a great date (or two) with X, there was good conversation, the attraction’s there, and I’m excited for our next date. But, he/she hasn’t been responding to my calls/texts and I’ve already left several voicemails that were unanswered.”

The attention required here from our end is usually more direct, so we (usually me) call the MIA dater and politely ask how things are going. The usual response is that things have been pretty good, but he/she has decided that the other person really isn’t for him/her. We’ll often have a bit of a chat about what bothers them and if their decision is definite, which it almost always is, and then I question why they haven’t been in contact with the other person. Then I hear him/her waffling on the other side of the line, only to come up with some lame excuse that they were sick, had phone trouble, out of town, or busy with work/school.

Were they honestly so busy that they couldn’t send a text or make a brief call to update the other person? And if they honestly didn’t want to continue, why let the other person sit there for days (or weeks) thinking that things were going well, only to decide to drop the bomb on them later? Of course, that job is one that we usually have to do because they’ve suddenly lost their nerve.

I’m a big advocate for using the shadchanim/connectors as go betweens for the first few dates. ASoG and I can’t force anyone to work with us as intermediaries, which is why we offer but don’t demand to be involved. However, if you as a dater decide you don’t need us, be consistent in your bevahior and courteous enough to let the other person know if you have decided to end the relationship. DO NOT drop off the face of the Earth because you’ve suddenly become a super hero by the name of Captain Awkward and need to spend your time avoiding your date. It isn’t right, it isn’t nice, and it certainly won’t help you develop any people skills as you become a more experienced dater.

Lesson #2: Once a shidduch has begun, guys AND girls should never leave the other person in the dark without contact for any extended period of time. Send that text, make that call, or better yet, use your shadchanim from the start like you’re supposed to.

Communication is key. If you can’t learn to effectively communicate now, then you’re in for some real trouble after the chuppah. If all the singles out there would simply learn to be a little more respectful and courteous of their fellow daters, the shidduch world would be a better place.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. Hope all the guys take note. DON'T BE LOSERS; CALL ON TIME. :)


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