The Secret Lives of Shadchanim

I am sure you are all curious to hear about the glamorous lives of shadchanim. Well, let me share with you the typical day in a matchmaker’s life.
It begins at 7:30 A.M. with a steaming hot cup of coffee and a siddur. There are zero distractions, so she can daven the entire Shachris uninterrupted. When done, she sits down to a nutritious breakfast of whole wheat toast, eggs, and fruit.

At 9 A.M., her full-time cleaning lady shows up to tackle all the housework. Now she can begin work, make some calls, and reply to t¬ext messages regarding shidduchim. So many great match ideas are running through her brain that she is eager to start. She pulls out her box of files with the resumes neatly organized according to categories. She has it all saved in her Evernote as well, but she prefers old-fashioned paper. Luckily, everyone she calls answers on the first attempt, and they have very pleasant conversations. The singles or their parents agree to each suggestion immediately; no persuasion or encouragement is needed. The boys are each given their prospective date’s number so they can reach out directly, and the shadchan isn’t busy going back and forth setting up the dates.

By 12:30 P.M., she has redt many potentially successful shidduchim and is ready to take a break. She heats up some vegetable soup and sits down with the latest magazine. Half an hour later, she notices the stunning weather and decides to take a walk in the park. There she meets an old friend, and they schmooze for an hour. Afterward, she decides to go clothes shopping. Three bursting shopping bags later, she heads back home.

2 P.M., she takes out her siddur again. She davens mincha and says her daily Tehillim. She then tackles a few more phone calls and responds to more text messages. Feeling very motivated, she reaches out to some “pickier” singles, who normally say no to all ideas. Today, they are all very agreeable to her suggestions. A few parents reach out to tell her about their child who has reached marriageable age, and she has the time to speak with each caller at length. Completely immersed in her work, she loses track of time. When she glances at the clock, she realizes it is already 5 P.M., and it’s time to make dinner.

6:30 P.M., she serves a 3-course meal to her husband and children. All phones are turned off and put away, and everyone shares how their day was. When dinner is finished, she helps her kids with homework and prepares them for bed. By 7:45, the children are all asleep, and the house is quiet.

8 P.M., she turns her phone back on to see if she missed any calls or messages. What?!? One of her couples just got engaged!! They just went out seven times, and there were zero issues along the way. She barely even spoke to them. Her dream vacation can now become a reality because she knows these people will pay shadchanus immediately and give her a nice check, way above the going rate.
Now she is super pumped, so she reaches out to a few more singles for the next hour, coaching them on what to say and do (or not do) on dates. A few parents call with some basic questions, and B”H she has all the answers. She has redt many shidduchim today, spoken to countless people, and had many WhatsApp conversations, but thankfully she was able to respond to whoever reached out. Overall, this was a very productive day.

9 P.M., time to get ready for bed. She needs her beauty sleep so that she can do this all over again tomorrow. She reads a novel for a few minutes, and by 9:45, she is fast asleep.

This is what many of you envision the life of a shadchan may look like. Well, let me share with you the actual day of our overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated shadchanim.

It begins at 6 A.M. when her alarm clock rudely awakens her. Having slept for barely 5 hours, she forces herself out of bed, hoping to have a few quiet minutes before she wakes up the kids and prepares them for school. She manages to daven just the Brachos when she hears the baby crying. While tending to the baby and getting the rest of the kids off to school, she replies to the numerous text messages that were sent during the night. Breakfast consists of a few sips of lukewarm coffee and some congealed eggs that her kids left over. She has time to make a few phone calls on her way to work to the job that actually pays the bills. Most of the calls go straight to voice mail, so she leaves messages.

8:30 A.M. she is at her desk at work. She tries to focus on her job for the next few hours, but her phone is constantly pinging with urgent text messages regarding the shidduchim she has redt. There are also many calls from desperate parents who want to tell her about their children who are getting “older” and if she can help find their bashert. In between clients, she tries to reply to as many people as possible, but the texts and phone calls keep coming, and she can’t catch up.
12:00 P.M. time for her half-hour lunch break. She grabs a granola bar and eats it at her desk while fielding more calls from irate singles demanding to know how dare she try setting them up with that so-and-so or blaming her when a shidduch falls through. She also speaks to a few parents explaining why she strongly encourages them to say yes to a particular shidduch. That doesn’t go over very well.

12:30 P.M. her break is over and now she must focus on work. She silences her phone and tries not to look at it, even though her mind is racing with match suggestions, names of singles, ways she can help them, and what she can tell the parents who cry to her that their daughters haven’t dated in months.

3 P.M. she rushes to the supermarket to pick up a few groceries. A few people call her while she is shopping, but it’s too noisy to have a conversation, so she tells them to call back later. When she gets home, she does another load of laundry, quickly puts up supper, and then runs out to the bus stop to wait for her children. While she is busy with all of this, she is on the phone non-stop. Her daughter cries to her, “Mommy, you are always on the phone”.

4 P.M. to midnight, she becomes a matchmaker, scheduler, date planner, dating coach, therapist, marriage counselor, people chaser, and emergency hotline. Let me explain each role as it happens.
Matchmaker – She gets dozens of calls and messages weekly from singles and their parents. In her database, she has hundreds or more active files. When she thinks of an idea, she will usually suggest it first to the boy. He often looks at it and immediately responds, “not for me”. When asked for a reason, he says either “not my look” or “I’m just not feeling it”. If it’s the latter reason, she will try to encourage it gently. This, of course, takes time. More often than not, it remains a no. She can make dozens of suggestions before one guy says yes, and each time she redts an idea, it can be hours of back-and-forth conversations and text messages. When she finally gets a guy to say yes, she suggests it to the girl. Often, she also says no, or she says she is currently busy; let’s put the idea on hold. By the time she is available again, the boy is now busy. When you finally get both of them to agree to a date, you become the scheduler.
Scheduler – For some reason, the boy won’t reach out directly to the girl to set up the date, so the shadchan now has to be the middleman trying to find a day and time that works for both. So much of her time is wasted on this. Eventually, it is settled, but then she becomes the date planner.
Date planner – It became her job now to find the proper venue for each date. She does research and helps him find the perfect place. They go on the first date, and now her role changes to that of a dating coach.
Dating coach – The couple finally goes on the first date. At 11:30 at night, when she wants to start winding down her day, they each call her with a rundown of the date. He is unsure if he wants to continue because the girl is too quiet. She now must explain to him that it is only the first date and he should give her another chance. She feels there may be potential, but she has social anxiety and needs coaching on conversation skills.
Therapist – After a few dates, she realizes the girl doesn’t just have social anxiety but some underlying issues that prevent her from opening up. You try to play the part of therapist but quickly realize you are in way over your head and refer her to a licensed therapist.
Marriage Counselor – As the couple starts getting more serious, the shadchan needs to step in as marriage counselor because the parents can’t seem to agree on anything, and you are somehow caught in the middle. Now keep in mind that each of these interactions, phone calls, and text messages take time! This leads me to the next title…
People Chaser – Shadchanim have a bad reputation for being difficult to reach. In each group of people, there will be some bad apples, of course, but for the most part, shadchanim try their best! They are bombarded with calls and texts nonstop, which gets overwhelming, but they never quit! They keep trying. The part people are not talking about is how the singles and their parents themselves are difficult to reach. How often does a shadchan reach out with a suggestion or want to follow up on an idea, and there is radio silence?! How often does the shadchan call or text numerous times before they get a response?
Emergency Hotline – Shadchanim receive calls all hours of the day and night. Each call is “urgent” and needs immediate attention. Often people forget time zone differences and call way past the appropriate times.
Long past midnight and her eyes are literally closing on her. Hopefully, she will get a few hours of blissful sleep before her alarm clock rings.

All this work the shadchanim do with great pleasure and a genuine desire to help the klal. Hours upon hours are spent before a couple even gets to a first date. Only a small fraction of the suggestions made actually make it to engagement. People think shadchanim make a lot in “shadchanus gelt” and are in it for the money. Let me tell you a secret. Many couples don’t pay right away, and often, they pay only a small amount or just give a small gift. Shadchanim truly are the most selfless group of people, doing what they do for the sake of helping singles get married. They are human, though, and a show of appreciation or gratitude goes a long way. A thank you and a kind word mean so much. So, the next time you want to badmouth a shadchan or think negatively about them, remember all this!!

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