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Sivan 5760 – Lack of Support From Married Friends

15 Sivan 5760

Dear Chana,

I really enjoy your column on JemSem, it gives me great chizuk. I have a question I would like you to answer – I feel that at this stage in my life – a few years back from seminary, and very much in the midst of the dating process – that I need my friends more than ever before. I find dating very difficult, and the whole process very strenuous – to merely be set up with someone is a big process, mainly because there are so many more girls than boys, but for other reasons as well. I know that I am set up with more boys than are any of my single friends, which is a problem in and of itself because so few of them are appropriate, and each one is so difficult to set up. But I’m writing to you because I find that at this stage, a strong social backing is so important – and for some reason, all of my married friends have completely or nearly completely withdrawn from the lives of their single friends. (I’m writing this letter on behalf of a number of single friends.) I understand that they’re busy, but not even a phone call once a month, not indicating any interest in our lives and, most of all, being totally obvlivious to the hardships of shidduchim? B”H, they were able to find their zivugim. But what about the rest of us? They seem not to care, and even the ones who do just sit there and don’t even make efforts to set people up. How should we view this? Is there anything that can be done to make them aware of the trememdous chesed role they can play?

[Name & seminary withheld upon request]

 

It sounds like you are really going through a rough time. Let me give you a couple of thoughts that might help. Everyone needs a support system. However, you [or anyone for that matter] cannot MAKE people care about you… If they do – wonderful – if not, there isn’t much to do about it. So what you can do is to hook up with families who are caring and warm and can surround you with the concern that you need. Find homes to go to for Shabbos, and really make a connection with new people who can possibly become a new ‘network’ for you. There is also the idea that ‘Tzoros Rabbim Chatzie Nechama’ – otherwise known as ‘misery loves company.’ The other single girls that you are friends with can become a tremendous source of comfort for you. You all can really feel each others pain as your own, and it may help to turn to each other more often.

To re-quote a famous idea, “Attitude is Everything”. Every situation is like a diamond. If you turn the diamond around in the light, you see so many different colors in the many facets. How we choose to look at any given situation is totally within our control. It is up to us to see it in a good or bad light. A helpful hint regarding attitude — Lower your Expectations involving others and what they should do for you. If you have almost no expectations, then when someone does call you or think of you, well, wow!!!! That is a super nice thing! Can you see the effect of what that could mean to you? It can make a world of difference!

What you are describing amongst your married friends is really a natural progresssion for them. It is a normal tendency once someone gets married to be more involved with the married life, and others that are in the same boat. This doesn’t mean that they don’t care a great deal about you, but they are busy with a very different set of life circumstances than you are at this point, and they may not always show or verbalize their feelings.

Again, let’s look at this situation like a diamond and turn it around a bit. How often do you call them just to say hi? Don’t necessarily wait for them to call you, but even during a quick conversation a word of warmth and care can pass between you. Do you open yourself up and make yourself available to come over to your friend’s home when it is convenient for both of you? Can you make it your habit to initiate some of these things instead of waiting for them to? Is it really fair of you to take their lack of getting in touch as a sign that they don’t care about you? These are some things to think about.

I will also take this as an opportunity to say a word to our married readers. Let this young woman’s letter be a wake up call for you regarding the single friends that we all have. Be involved with them. Even if you can’t come up with anyone for them to go out with right now, during your conversations, make mention that you are keeping your eyes out for them. Find ways to let them know that they are on your mind, and you are so aware of their circumstances. A little word of comfort and thoughtfulness goes a really super big long way. You really have no idea how much this can mean to someone.

Finally, [back to the writer of the letter], be choosy who you go out with. It sounds like you have been out a lot with guys that are not shayach for you. Have someone married and somewhat older really check out the person who is being suggested. This can really cut down on the anguish that you go through with each date. Make sure it is really in the ballpark for you.

It is certainly a difficult time for you, but as Dovid Hamelech’s ring said, ‘Gam Ze Ya’avor’. Continue to learn from each experience that you have, and iy”H when you are married and settled, remember all of this well, and make sure to be there for your single friends and help them through!

Sincerely,
Chana