During summer months, many singles
take vacation. A part of the agenda is hope of finding their soul mate. During the spate
of trips or weekends, hopes can be dashed. To help improve prospects, I am writing a
multi-part series this summer so that singles, and people who care about them, can
fine-tune their aim and efforts, so that caterers can make a living AND NEWLYWEDS CAN MAKE
In a 10-week relationship workshop I did in a Manhattan shul about six years ago, a
complete session was spent on one woman who was personable EXCEPT WHEN IT CAME TO MEETING
MEN. She virtually froze with shyness and insecurity. After about three quarters of the
session, another woman blew up (caringly) and said loudly, "HOW CAN ANY MAN
APPRECIATE YOU WHEN YOU DON"T APPRECIATE YOU!?"
Often, very nice people who are very eligible do not know how to present themselves.
There are many factors (social/communication skills, going to wrong events, unrealistic
expectations, self-image, immaturity, selfishness, etc.).
If you lack self-confidence, write a list of your attributes - the one's a reasonable
potential spouse would value having. Don't get egotistical. Strive for a balance between
1. enough confidence to achieve justifiable esteem and 2. not too much to make you
arrogant. A good test is: do I see people with similar esteem (which is healthy) or do I
now see others as lower than me (not good!).
In a singles scenario, try to remain calm and unselfconscious, conveying psychological
availability should someone appropriate materialize. Some people appear
"stand-offish;" they "broadcast" inaccessibility and distance. A major
part of successful human relations (and therefore, of forming them!) is SINCERE
RESPONSIVENESS to another. If someone looks at you, smile. Find ways to make other people
"register" with you, matter, evoke life from you. Rabbi Akiva Aiger wrote that
people love others who make them feel loved. Just watch out for manipulative
advantage-takers. If there are unattractive things about yourself (e.g. physical or
psychiatric health conditions or defects) which must be revealed, ask a rov. It is
imperative to ask a shaaloh in each individual case because the laws about how and when to
reveal illness and defects about a shidduch are very complicated. The midrash says that
your true basherte will accept your defects.
Men: girls don't want to hear about sports or business. Women; men don't want to hear
about a dress. Ask the other person about him or herself. Don't talk about yourself...this
shows that you can't be concerned about another. Be considerate of each other and
interesting for the other. Stay sincere. Show interest in the other and what (s)he says.
Relationships are not sustainable without respect, sacrifice, trust and giving. Keep the
Do not date two people at a time. This violates: 1. wasting time and 2. money, 3.
deceit (false messages & hopes), 4. disrespect. Practical counseling experience shows
- IF YOU CAN'T RELATE TO ONLY ONE, YOU CAN'T RELATE TO ANYONE!
Women, don't ever just use a guy for a meal. Since he is expecting a date (and is only
being used) this is theft. Don't ever give a guy who you meet a wrong number. If you don't
feel that the guy is of interest, politely say to him that you just don't feel that the
two of you are for each other. That's entirely alright to do. If a guy is going to call
you, don't put him off. Set up a date in a reasonably close period of time. Guys, never
fail to call a girl - in a timely manner - when you tell her that you're going to call
her. Be very respectful and considerate of the other person's feelings and time. Be
punctual for all phone calls and dates. Don't waste a person's time if you do not have
interest in the person. Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, Rosh Yeshiva of Mir in Jerusalem in the
previous generation, said that not keeping another person waiting fulfills the mitzva to
love your fellow Jew as yourself.
If you disagree on a point, give the courtesy of respectfully explaining what you
think, with no emotion. If you sensibly discuss the situation or subject, you can show
that you respect the person. Show that you disagree with the point but ACCEPT THE PERSON.
By maintaining an ongoing demeanor of respect, pleasantness and peacefulness, you can
always discuss what the issue is, or what the truth or meaning of it is; without it
constituting an attack, value judgement, rejection or disparagement of the person you're
speaking with. And, accepting people is good "midos practice."