Solely In Black and White: A Friend of a Friend…?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Friend of a Friend…?


Living in close proximity to a member of the other gender can be quite interesting at times. Well, I guess a comment like that can fill a few posts… Hey, a statement like that can fill a few blogs! Regardless, there is one specific topic that recently peaked my interest; how single girls relate to their married friends. 

While I personally can’t describe this dynamic first hand, I can merely comment on what I see and hear. Anyway, the one point I wanted to underline is the fact that my wife’s single friends all keep repeating the same request “ask your husband if he knows of a guy for me…” Granted, that is a valid request and I would love to help each and every one of my wife’s friends and in finding their soul mate. I just don’t know all that many guys. For one, we ascertained that my wife has a lot more single friends than I do. Shidduch crisis aside; that makes my job a lot harder. What, you think I’m made out of shidduch ideas…? Aside from that, of the shidduchim we have collectively redt, none of them have even gone out. 

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why some girls do this and I don’t blame them. However, there is a right way to do something and a wrong way to do something. Obnoxiously hounding your married friend in the presence of their husband is probably not going convince them of your stellar and sparkling middos. Furthermore, I see no problem in helping girls who I actually do have ideas for. The problem I have is with girls who are not understanding about how much effort it takes to redt a shidduch. Also, I find issue with girls whom almost demand that we redt them something, or those girls who are unappreciative of our efforts in trying to redt them something after they asked to be redt something in the first place, that just gets to me. 

Am I wrong? Maybe I’m just a guy and clueless about this, but typically guys don’t ask their married friends to set them up. Maybe it’s an unmentioned part of the bro code, send along a shidduch to friend, but don’t openly ask for it, I dunno;… buts what’s up with these girls?


  1. I don't want to come across as contrary, but as the female who lives with the above blogger, I'd like to politely disagree (they ARE after all my friends...) :-P

    SIBAW is only dismayed on my behalf because of a few incidences, i redt a shidduch, (working hard to get the girl a "yes" four days before our wedding) and she very rudely turned the guy down. She didn't even thank me for trying for her...and that left a bad taste in my mouth.
    Only a few girls I'm not so close with have contacted me and asked me to redt them shidduchim outright. My close friends know I keep them in mind. OF the 50 single girls at my wedding (close friends and less close acquaintances included, only 4 contacted me)
    So, "hounded" might not be an appropriate description of what has happened as of late. Although in comparison to the 0 guys who have contacted SIBAW for girls' names, I guess that 4 girls asking to be kept in mind might seem like a lot.
    Although it may seem rude to the male mind (who is unaccustomed to just how hard shidduchim is for a girl) I still think that these girls are somewhat justified for the following reasons:
    1) It is so hard! Many girls are looking for options! I myself called up married friends hinting about setting me up! It's unfair to compare them to guys...guys always have options....sometimes girls don't have a date...and shidduchim can make a girl desperate.
    2)Girls just want to remind their friends they're still single...i know of a single girl who joined facebook just so that her cute witty updates would appear on her married friends' walls and remind people she hadn't been in touch with that she was still single. If you're on people's minds then you're the first person they think of when they meet a nice guy
    3)I do believe that we young marrieds are in the best position to redt shidduchim. Both the young husband and the young wife have single friends, they both still remember the frustration, sting and loneliness of single life, and c'mon, who would you listen to first, Mrs. BigTimeNewYork/Lakewood shadchante, or your buddy from yeshiva? Guys implicitly trust each other more than a woman with a pile of names whom they've never despite some rudeness on the part of some singles- i think we should redt shidduchim......
    LOL so ya, I understand SIBAW's annoyance...but i still feel for the girls.....

  2. I can only talk for myself and say that I have yet to hound a married friend looking for a husband but many times when friends get married that tell you that she is going to find you someone now that she has more access to guys..his friends..his yeshiva.. and unsolicited i have had more than one married friend/friend's husband have suggested people. So its not that it comes from no where..

  3. I recently heard that the reason newly married folks try to set their friends up is that misery loves company. ;-)

  4. I have never asked a married friend to set me up, though I might have mentioned it jokingly. However I actually was just recently discussing this with a friend of mine who frequently asks married friends to ask their husbands. I understand that girls have more friends than guys, but she was saying that all of her married friends claim that their husbands have either no friends, or very few friends or very few single friends, that that the few single friends are somehow all not shayach for this reason or that. If it was just one married friend who said this, I would understand. But how could it be that this be true for all the husbands of married friends? I don't get it- are all guys really that antisocial?

  5. When i was single i had a similar predicament- i sometimes hinted to friends that i was still single and availabe, and they would voluntarily say "oh! i wish i could set you up, but...none of my husband's friends are for you...." it frustrated me to no end. I think that the guys are not necessarily anti-social but it all depends on timing. Sadly, the people most likely to set up their friends are 19 year olds who marry 22 year olds. (that's my theory) since the 22 year old guy still has lots of friends and maybe one or two will be a good match for his wife's buddies. Most guys marry one of the first 10 girls they if your friends dilly dally till the end of Shana Rishona...or they marry guys a little older- it IS quite unlikely that the hubbie will have a friend for you to date..BUT there is one very important distinction between FRIEND and RGYK a RGYK is a random guy you know. A RGYK CAN be redt. Sure, all hubbie's FRIENDS might be married- but when guys sit down and think of all the Random Guys They can be a gold mine.

  6. Hey TAW - think of it like this. Over the next several months you will get to know your husbands friends and he will get to know yours. To the extent that either of you feel a friend is appropriate for someone you or he will bring it up. As for a RGYK - my wife is still learning about some of them for the first time after 6 years. But a RGYK is not someone who when you ask your husband so "know anyone for X" that he will think of because it is not a friend but some random guy/acquaintances.

  7. Anonymous- I understand what you're saying, and I may never get to know all of SIBAW's acquaintances well. I don't expect to. That's another misconception about redting shidduchim. Who said you have to know both parties well? Granted, it is important to avoid "skirt and pants" shidduchim where people are matched up for one ridiculous reason like "you're both short" or "you both like eggplant". However, somewhere between knowing someone well and setting someone up because they where pants, is a middle ground. I know of matches where only one party was known by the shadchan.The person who set myself and SIBAW up didn't know either of us particularly well. SIBAW might know a few details about a RGYK like "he's short, sefardi and learning long term" I may have a friend who is short, and wants a sefardi guy who'll learn long term- I'd have to ask the RGYK what personality he wants etc....and suggest my friend... you suggest that if they aren't my husband's good friends, I wont think of them...but if most of his friends are married and very few fit the description of what my friend is looking for, why not branch out to guys he doesn't know as well? do you need to know someone well to redt them a shidduch?

  8. Amen Brother.

    Anonymous has a good point.

    One of ASoG's friends has been hounding us since Sheva Brachos, and at one point I even told her off (respectfully - though she didn't take it that way) that we needed a break because her constant phone calls was causing some very unwanted tension in our relationship. Though she has backed off a bit and found numerous avenues of dating on her own such as going to singles Shabbatonim (who would have thought!?), another friend has begun calling obsessively about a particular guy who is simply socially unavailable due to grad school obligations.

    Worse is having your mother-in-law ask you to find guys for your sister-in-law. It's mega-awkward because it seems like I'm trying to "sell" her off to guys I know, and I can tell they all also feel mega-awkward talking about it...

  9. Also, TAW - I disagree with the bit about how most guys marry one of the first 10 girls they go out with. That is very social-circle specific statement, and may very well apply to the type of hashkafic people you are more familiar with. I have very rarely seen that in the YU-related circles that I travel in, and many of my yeshivish friends did not, or have not accomplished that feat either.

  10. @Shades of Grey:
    The ten girls average probably came about by something I said in a conversation. The figure was conjured based on conversations I have had and some unscientific data gathering, however, I still think it holds true. The reason I believe it to be valid is because if you look at the entire shidduch scene and encompass all the people who marry their first girl or one of their first girls, the comprehensive mean should be about ten. Granted, like all statistics there are variations for error, and not everyone will fall near the mean, or even within one sigma of deviation for that matter, but you can't use specific instances to judge an average as a test of accuracy. Then again I could be wrong. That being said, in your “circles” what do you believe is average?

  11. I was the previous Anon - sorry for not using a unique handle.
    TAW - I'll explain it like this. When it comes to friends, most guys do not worry about their friends getting married. They assume that since their friend has so many choices, it is just a matter of finding/picking the right one. We are not concerned if out friend at 25 is not married because we know that he is "high demand" (assuming he is normal). We also know that he gets many suggestions each week, so we are not in any hurry to put any pressure on our relationship unless we feel very strongly about a particular girl. Hence, guys loath to "annoy" our friends with yet another girl to add to their lists. As for a random guy - we just don't like calling people we know and probably annoying them (for the aforementioned reason) for a girl we don't know who just might have something similar. (Caveat for a husband who is very into redting shidduchim of course.)
    Girls on the other hand have it much tougher. If a girl is 25 and single, it is a nebach to many people. Her choices are slimmer and they and their married friends are starting to get real worried, will she ever get married or if so what sort of normal guy is there for me at such a late stage? So girls feel the pressure to push in any way possible.

    For the statistical record my wife was #10.

  12. I don't know what's up with those girls, I would never ask a friend that, that's so...desperate. But like your wife said, it's hard to blame them...unless they truly are annoying.

    p.s. Sounds like you got a good one, based on "meeting" her in this comment thread :-)

  13. I would put the number slightly higher, between 10 and 20, ASoG, for the record was #13. Sometimes the numbers can be skewed, such as multiple experiences that I am aware of where people go out for longer periods of time, say several months realizing that it isn't going to work - this is definitely more of a modern orthodox condition. That automatically pushes the number of people dated down. Other people, who usually go on 1-2 dates before ending the relationship are going to have far more. That is the trend I've begun to notice more recently (even in the YU world): a lot of quickie shidduchim that go nowhere. For those people, the one relationship that holds becomes the person they marry. One guy I know went out with dozens of girls and the only girl that got a second date became his wife! However, he's from Lakewood, and not YU.


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