Sunday, January 31, 2010

Exploiting The "Shidduch Crisis"

ProfK has a 'spot on' piece up about about the newest ploy to cash in on the "Shidduch Crisis" and fuel the flames of panic that are being spread to our singles.

In my mind it qualifies as a must read.

She discusses the insanity of self described (quasi) "professional" Shidduch Coaches.
My favorite lines are these:

"...if you need someone else to tell you what to look for in a spouse then you are just plain not ready to get married. If you can't trust your own judgement about what qualities are right for you in a marriage, then you are just plain not ready to get married. If you need coaching by a "professional" (and reading the qualifications for the two people on the site, that "professional" designation is theirs, not mine) on what to talk about, about what to do, about how to act, about what to think when on a date, YOU ARE JUST PLAIN NOT READY TO GET MARRIED."

Well said, as always, ProfK.


anony said...

I haven't yet read her post but sorry, I don't agree at all. I don't think what you printed was well said. Ready to get married and knowing how to talk on a date are not related at all. A girl can be responsible, caring, able to share and give, think of others, run a household, and develop meaningful relationships- but as a BY girl told never to talk to boys, she may need some coaching. why is that bad?? however, I don't think just anyone can do that "coaching".
I am all for talking to people who can guide you through a relationship. How is that different than going to an expert for help in something you know you can do but have never tried?
Enough negativity about shidduchim

G6 said...

Anony -

First of all, I strongly suggest that before you disagree with somebody, you properly acquaint yourself with the issue at hand and read the entire post.

Secondly, although I understand your point about girls not being familiar with talking to boys (although most have had fathers, brothers and/or uncles), this "coaching" goes far beyond this. Telling them what to think, what to wear, what is "appropriate" to discuss (and feel) on date #3 but not #2 etc. is ludicrous.

We tell our singles that if they are not married by 21 they are old maids (NOT TRUE). We create panic and mass hysteria about a "crisis". Then we create jobs which feed on this unnecessary fear and separate them from their money.

If talking to boys is your only issue, then I suggest we go back to the "good old fashioned way" of letting our singles actually INTERACT once in a while under controlled and supervised circumstances, once they reach the appropriate age.

ProfK said...

Sorry G6 if I'm pre-empting a response but here goes anyway.

You say, "Ready to get married and knowing how to talk on a date are not related at all." Sorry but they are related. Since talking to a date is a necessary and integral part of the process of getting married, husbands requiring that you talk to them occasionally, if you can't talk to that date you aren't ready to date or to get married--you don't have the necessary skills yet.

Sure, there are activities where getting skilled, professional help PRIOR to attempting those activities is the only sensible thing to do. You don't go skydiving out of an airplane simply by desiring to do so, by believing this is something you know you can do. You get training first. In fact, no skydiving service provider is going to let you up in that airplane to dive solo unless you can prove that you have had the requisite training beforehand.

But talking on a date? You posted your response online so you have access to a computer. Let your fingers do some walking around the Internet and you'll find plenty of free information on how to behave on a date, how to talk to a date, how to relate to the opposite sex, a lot of it excellent information. You have married friends or family? Ask them!

Talking to a boy doesn't require a "professional" coach and an outlay of hundreds to thousands of dollars. Unlike an untutored solo flight of skydiving, which can cost you your life, what's the worse that can happen if you stumble a bit on a date? You have a bad date? That's part of the learning process--self-analyze what went wrong and take it from there.

ProfK said...

Ooops G6, we crossed responses. And oh do I agree that we need to go back to letting our kids interact occasionally so they get their social skills the old fashioned way.

efrex said...

Now, to be at least somewhat fair, the site that ProfK links to does not seem to be a "scam" as such: their "dating traps" and "dating principles" lists seem reasonable and appropriate, and I see no reason to assume that they are anything other than ehrlich people who wish to help others.

What is, however, becoming quite clear to me is that the "shidduch crisis" is a manifestation of a larger values crisis in our community. Independent thinking, common sense, and the desirability of individuality and diversity are all discarded in favor of a uniform groupthink and "one-size-fits-all" mentality. Don't you dare try to think for yourself or express your own personality: here's the official manual for what to do on a date and what to look for. Don't think for a moment that you have enough information to decide about your own capabilities: here's the official lifestyle guide that you must adhere to. Shidduch resumes and dating coaching are crucial; business resumes and job interview coaching, not so much. Tzniyut dictates that you not even THINK about wearing a red dress; however, listing your dress size on a shidduch resume is just fine.

anony: while I agree that dating skills do not necessarily directly correlate to marriage skills, intelligent social interaction should not require intensive coaching. If you're seriously thinking about setting up a household with another person, the two of you should not have difficulty talking about your hopes, fears, and dreams in your own manner.

FBB said...

I also have to disagree. There are many executive training courses, and courses for interviewing for jobs, and counselours who will help young adults choose a desired career. Sometimes the focus is off, and it's neccessarry to help a person realize which of their purported goals are unrealistic, and how to better navigate a situation they have never navigated before.

As far as the money aspect, I can think of quite a few people who today, if they thought that this sort of thing would have helped them, would have not cared about the price, and jumped at the opportunity. Some older singles end up going to professionals anyway, so it's not like it's money that may not be spent eventually.

People use life coaches, and efficiency experts to help them get their clutter in order. Not everyone is capable of dealing with things on her own.

If a couple is in the thick of dating and is serious, and still needs a mediator to understand what the other is saying? Then I'd say they aren't ready for marriage. But taking a proactive step to help maximize dating and waste a lot less time with ill- conceived ideas, and silly notions of what real life is, seems a mature step to me.

G6 said...

I think you are misunderstanding me.

I do agree that young people need proper advice and education pertaining to shidduchim PRIOR to entering "the Parsha". But I find that, as with other aspects of our children's education, in most instances (please don't bring up the few exceptions), the best place to get this educations is from the PARENTS.

Prior to the invention of this new "career", singles got married just fine with proper advice and guidance from their parents, rebbeim and friends. What is so wrong with this?

I'm sorry to say FBB, that your comment stating that older singles are just going to end up with professional coaching anyway, illustrates how far out of hand our current shidduch system has gotten.

If our young people weren't told so much what to say, what to think, what to WANT in a partner, and the dire consequences that will occur if the ridiculous rules are not followed to a "T", we wouldn't be in the situation that we are now.

FBB said...

I understand what you're saying, but too often the avenues of advice that are open to young people have a vested interest (as parents , rebbeim and friends, one would hope so), and also pre conceived ideas about this person. Sometimes, a person needs outside help to really focus them on what they want, and not want their parents, teachers and friends are telling them.

Because we are in a society where there is so much sameness, it is very hard for "good kids" to buck the trend, and feel confident that no they don't want x,y, or z, and based on their upbringing, or household it's not the easy, but the dating isn't working because they are trying to please others.

So I could see where this sort of coaching, for some can give them perspective and focus, and help sort through all the noise coming from themselves and their advisers.

Also, not all people are blessed with a good relationship with their parents, and do not value their parents' opinion, sometimes, validly. If a kid is different from his parents, and therefore wants different things (for example: A kid could grow up very yeshivish and want college, or grow up in a household were college is a given and not want it)then they may need someone else to help them.

I go back to the closet coach or life coach analogy. It's not needed for everyone, but for some it's a lifeline.

Whatever the system is that created the need for this, the need is now there. If we were to deny people this resource because the circumatances that got us to this point are negative, then we would be compounding the mistakes.

We would not say there should be no services for the abused, because abuse is so wrong and it shouldn't happen in the first place. Once it's happening it needs to b dealt with, and it is not, in my opinion, a reflection of someone's readiness to get married.

Deb said...

whether or not you feel that a single "needs" a coach, what on earth qualifies some random couple as life coaches more than some mentor that the single might choose- a trusted teacher, friend, aunt (should they not have that kind of relationship with a parent). How can these people have the nerve to call themselves "professional?" professional kochleffels, more like.

Jron said...

The mishagos has gotten so far that the Shadchan has to set the date instead of the date couple talking to each other. what is the fear? they'll talk out everything on the phone and have nothing to talk about on the date? if so, ain ladavar sof.

G6 said...


You and I will never find common ground if you see the people with "vested interest" in the single as the WRONG people to talk to. (Any single ready to get married who is independent enough to possibly break away from her families goals and ideals should also be able to convey and communicate said goals as a healthy precursor to working through disagreements in marriage)

People with "vested interests" should be trusted MORE than people with "financial interest".

FBB said...

perhaps my wording was bad, and perhaps we cannot find common ground. When parents and those with a subjective interest are involved it is sometimes hard to get to the root of an issue (unrealistic expectations, or differences in what one is looking for).

Like any coach position it is not for everyone, and I would hope that I would be able to counsel my own children and set them on a path that would, a least from a hishtadulous perspective (going out with the right people, communicating well)would allow them to navigate the process easily.

We delude ourselves if we believe that no one can benefit from outside help, and if these two put out a shingle, there must be a clientele looking for it.

The cynic in me thinks that so much of parenting today has been abdicated to schools and "professionals," some because they cannot handle it, and others as a way to throw around money.

So we're probably not that far apart, I just don't like the initial premise that utilizing these service is indicative of one's readiness for marriage.

BLD and company said...

"precursor to working through disagreements in marriage ?"

There are no disagreements in marriage, we follow Daas Torah!

cuzzin buzzin said...

BLD, anyone who says they have no disagreements in their marriage is lying. or married to a mute in a coma.