by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute
Networking works! When you are looking for a house, a job, a solution, reach out to others and you will get interesting ideas and perspectives. And you can have others look out for solutions for you. Networking can especially work for shidduchim – that is if you network effectively.
First and most important, reach out to others. Let people know you are looking for a shidduch. Some people feel that they shouldn’t be selling their kids as if on a meat market. How they feel is up to them. Here’s another way to look at it: Healthy people above a certain age want to be in a relationship. Frum people want to be married. Everyone who knows you or your single loved one knows she is hoping for a happy marriage relationship. Yet, they can’t help because they don’t know enough. Help them to help you.
Who to network with. Start with people you know. Your family, your cousins, your neighbors, your friends. They all know people that you don’t know. Cousins from the other side, co-workers, friend’s friends. Then you might reach out to acquaintances. You can also ask your friends or cousins to introduce you to others.
When, Where? Really anywhere, anytime. Although some times are easier. You have to be in a relaxed mood. You’ll come across as more friendly and interesting person than a harried, desperate mother. Places and times when the people around you are also relaxed is best. Like at a wedding, around the pool in the country, at a Shabbos kiddush, or a small gathering.
Or at a manicure place. Mrs. B. and Mrs. L. were getting a manicure at the same salon. They knew each other somewhat and started a conversation about their children. Mrs. B. had a daughter. Mrs. H. had a son. They had similar values and outlook n life. Shiduch made.
What to say? Introduce yourself. Ask for permission to share about yourself or a loved one. “Hi, I’m Leah S., your brother’s neighbor. I’m looking for a shiduch for my sister. Do you have a few minutes for me to tell you a little about her?”
She might just reply that she doesn’t know anyone or she doesn’t have time. But more likely, she will listen and possibly even suggest a few people she knows.
Networking when you are calling a reference. When calling someone as a reference for your sister, you might also describe your sister. “Hello, this is Leah S. I’m calling you as a reference for Sara P. Can I describe my son to you, as I ask you a little about Sara?” There are a few benefits to this:
– You just networked with someone else. He might just know some other girl for your son.
– You can determine together if you should pursue this particular research. “My son needs a girl who can handle minor crisis on her own, like if she gets a flat tire, she can call AAA on her own without freaking out.” If the prospective shiduch is not like that, you can end all the research there.
Networking Events In the last few years, many variations of networking events have been started. The major advantage of these events is that you’ll meet people who you might not have met otherwise.