The Ultimate Shadchan Guide

by | Nov 13, 2022 | Dating Perspectives, Finding & Qualifying Dates, Research

What is A Shadchan and Why Bother

Here’s the simple definition: A Shadchan is a matchmaker that connects a couple so they can date for the purpose of marriage.

If you’re reading this, you probably know that already. What you really want to know is how you can leverage the benefits a shadchan can bring so that your shidduch process can be most efficient and hopefully, most enjoyable.

Read on – we’re going to give you everything you need to know so that you can master this critical piece of your dating. 

A Shadchan serves critical roles, before, during, and after you’re matched with a date. These benefits are cumulative, the more you use them properly the more you get out of the process.

Shadchan Benefits Before You Go Out on a Date

  • Access: At its most base level a Shadchan gives you access to many more dating options than you would have otherwise.

    It’s a simple equation.

    How many guys/girls does your family know about? Let’s make it simple and say it’s 100. Let’s also assume that each Shadchan knows another 100. By connecting with three Shadachanim you’ve multiplied your access by 3x. Not a bad deal.
  • Filtering: Without the support of a Shadchan, you’re going to be dating whoever comes your way. Although they might be a great fit, statistically they won’t be. That means you’ll be spending a lot of time dating people that never really had much of a chance of success.

    A Shadchan’s responsibility is to only pass along suggestions that are “prequalified”. By only matching you with people that share goals and values, come from an appropriate background, and will be a good personality fit, they dramatically increase the efficiency of your dating.

  • Focus: Without the support of a Shadchan, you’re going to be dating whoever comes your way. Although they might be a great fit, statistically they won’t be. That means you’ll be spending a lot of time dating people that never really had much of a chance of success.

Shadchan Benefits While Dating: Avoid The Awkward

  • Dodge Discomfort: Statistically it’s nearly impossible that both you and your date are going to be equally interested in each other.

    Let me make that even stronger.

    Shidduch dating is for keeps, so for every person you’re dating there are only two possible endgames. There’s “Yes!” – marriage, family, grandkids – the whole shpiel. Alternatively, it’s “No” we’re done. From here on in it’s only incidental contact.

    Most often, within the first few dates at least one side has decided it’s not a yes. Ergo, it’s the “No” – goodbye for good.

    That sort of rejection is complete. Unavoidable, but still a flat out goodbye for now, and for later.

    It’s hard to deliver that sort of rejection to another person, especially if they have feelings for you. It’s as hard or harder  to be on the receiving end of a rejection like that.

    Enter one of the biggest value-adds of the shadchan. It’s common for both sides to agree that for the first few dates they’re going to relay their level of interest on to the Shadchan rather than pass that on directly.

    Is that because you don’t have the maturity, confidence, or guts to talk directly? Of course not. There are brokers, facilitators, and mediators of all types in the personal and professional world. Think of a shadchan as just another resource. in that way.
  • Mediate Conversations or Misunderstandings: Dating for keeps is heavy stuff. You’re navigating a decision that will affect every day of the rest of your life. Oh yes, and the lives of your children and great grandchildren too.
  • Get Bailed from a Bad Situation: I hope you’re never in an absive or manipulative relationship, but these things happen.

    If you’re dating somebody who’s messing with your mind, you may either be unaware how bad you’re stuck or you may be all too aware and not clear on how to get out. People in these sorts of relationships can be very vulnerable, and having a ejection switch in the form of a shadchan can be quite helpful.

Shadchan Benefits If A Date Doesn’t Work Out

  • The Match 2.0: The best way for somebody to learn what does and doesn’t work for you in a relationship is to watch you live. A shadchan who has matched you before can find you better matches and also be more helpful to you along the way. Like good wine and iPhones, Shadchanim improve over time. 
  • Form good impressions. There’s nothing that keeps you on the rader like making it pleasant for the shachan the first time they worked with you! If you add to that with every successive experience, guess who they’ll be thinking of next time they meet a fantastic new single?!

When a Shadchan, When a Dating Coach


The Shadchan’s role is the match. The know and have access to both sides. 

The success metric for shadchanim is engagements. Suggestions and dates are all good, it’s a ring on the finger that puts a notch on the belt. 

As I’ve mentioned above, there’s a whole lot of value in that role. 

Without people who are passing you dates, and coaching/blocking for you all the way to the end zone your chances of scoring the engagement touchdown are way lower.

That said, you need to be realisitic about their position and incentives. For them to succeed, this shidduch has to succeed. 

Ideally it’s in your best interests, but you’re not necessarily their “client”. They may be working for your date’s parents. They may be working for the community. Many do this because they’re altruistic saints and then genuinely want to see people married.


Regardless, their goal is the engagement end zone.


Dating Coach

The Dating Coach’s role is your relationship success. They know you and work for you.

The success metric for a dating coach is that you’re moving closer to finding your match.

A dating coach is also there to help you with underlying issues that are holding you back. They can do the deep work, a shadchan isn’t necessarily familiar with all the details


Different Kinds of Shadchanim

The term Shadchan is loaded, and covers a whole heap of people many of whom would never identify as a Shadchan. It’s helpful to sort those meanings out, because some of the best Shadchanim are the sleepers who barely knew they were playing the part.

The descriptions below are of course generalizations, and they are broadly useful in helping you figure out where you can turn for shadchan help.


The Professional Shadchan

This is the one your aunt keeps kvetching that you need to meet. They have name recognition, resume stacks like HR managers for Google, and go to sleep with airpods in just in case they get a call back at 2 AM.


  • They know lots of people
  • They’re relatively easy to find
  • They’ve seen this movie a hundred times before, maybe a thousand, and have scored rings on dozens of matches. 


  • Much as they care, with so many active shidduchim you’ve got fractions of a percent of mindshare
  • They may have strong opinions about who/how/when you should date, and if it’s your opinion against theirs they will always (claim they) win on experience 
  • You have to conform to their location, schedule, and working style. They justifiably and of necessity get to make the rules of engagement.

Professional Shadchanim have earned their status. They are most often wonderful people who really care. Maybe not the best place for you to start, because the other shadchan types can have truly remarkable results as well.

The Local Shadchan

Every community that’s got more than a few minyanim will have “the Shadchan” in town. This is typically a person who is deeply connected to the local community and its singles and is a strong activist and advocate on their behalf.


  • They know everything about the local community, from where to go out on dates, where to get the best food, and where to catch an early/late minyan.
  • They have deep knowledge of their singles. Chances are at some point they were jogging buddies or chavrusas with a parent of the single, 
  • They have a reputation to keep. They want you to be bought into them and their community so that you come back and bring your friends. 


  • They have a vested interest in seeing this Shidduch work. They likely don’t know you as well as the other side, and likely care to see the other side married more than they care to work through the finer details of your dating issue.

The Non Shadchan

Your friends. Your family. Your former roommates. The person you meet on a Pesach retreat. They all want to see you married. They care about you and they know singles you don’t know. They make well meaning suggestions. They’re responsible for roughly 80% of successful shidduchim.


  • Your happiness is their one and only priority.
  • They want to understand your experience of the shidduch from the inside, they’ll give 

How Non Shadchanim Often Make The Best Shadchanim

83% of Shidduchim are suggested by non Shadchanim

How Much Information to Give Your Shadchan

You’re there! Doing the Shadchan meet thing. How do you get the most out of your time?

Start with a Solid Resume

Unless the Shadchan is your cousin or bestie, they’re going to forget stuff about you. By leading with a strong resume you make yourself memorable. 

Present Well Physically

First snapshot, make it great. You not only want to be remembered as an attractive person (a shadchan hears “mediocre looks are totally fine” as often as INSERT CLEVER), you also want to show that you care about this meeting. You respect the Shadchan, appreciate their time, and value the singles to whom they might introduce you.

It’s About You…and ALSO About We

Don’t be shy in talking about yourself. Add details that make you the unique three dimensional human being you are. This is not the time to be shy or curious. The Shadchan wants to know who you are – the quicker you can upload that information to them the better.

You ALSO to make sure to talk about the WE, the relationship you hope to build. What can you offer that’ll make a spouse feel valued and supported? What sorts of relationships have worked well? What models of relationships and/or homes do you admire. 

The key bullet points that describe you and the relationship to which you aspire should be idead to which you’ve dedicated significant time and already be in your resume. Use your resume as your guide so that you don’t miss anything and be sure to reinforce the “artifact” you’ll be leaving with the Shadchan when you dissapear beyond their door.

Avoid This When Meeting the Shadchan

  • Sheva Brachos Speeches: There will hopefully be a time very soon when people will go on and on about your actual and perceived praises. Let them do it. The right tone for self description is smiling, factual, and ???.
  • Oversharing: Shadchanim are usually great at getting people to talk, it’s a wonderful and useful skill of theirs. Don’t use it as an invitation to share deep struggles and fears.
  • Dumping: Few things are less attractive than bitterness, anger, and blame. No matter what you’ve been through in dating, this is NOT the forum to work through frustrations. Save the struggles for your friend, dating coach, therapist, or rabbi.

Dating “On The Shadchan”

It’s a common practice in many segments of our community for couples to initially date “on the Shadchan”. “Dating on the Shadchan” means that when your date is over you won’t communicate directly with your date as to whether you intend to take the relationship any further. This practice gets heat from some, I think unfairly. There are multiple benefits to dating on the Shadchan:

  • It saves people from dumping a date to their face. Rejection pinches, nobody wants to get it and nobody wants to give it. Agreement to “date on the Shadchan” gives everybody emotional padding in the event dumping will go down.
  • It prevents snap decisions. There are countless stories of happily married couples that initially did not want to continue dating for bad reasons, who were talking off the ledge by somebody who cares. Having a shadchan in the mix puts a shortstop on poorly considered rejection reasons. 
  • It adds space and time. Relationships are meant to skew our judgment. At some point we should get beyond reason in our connection with our life partner and the family we build with them. The One Above gives us the gift of intense responses in relationships so that we have deeply ecstatic moments of connection and intimacy. That same tendency can skew our judgement while in the throes of dating and it’s very helpful to have a moderating perspective when there’s a high chance of emotional volitility. 


To Pay or Not Pay The Shadchan

Understanding Shadchanomics:

Every good thing in life often comes with a cost. This holds true for the hard work and dedication shadchanim pour into the matchmaking process.

Time is Precious: Just like you value your time, so do shadchanim. Every hour they spend searching for your match is an investment. While there’s no universal rule saying you must pay, it’s essential to keep in mind the value of their service.

Consider this— would you hesitate to invest in your education or career? Similarly, costs related to meeting a shadchan or sending appreciation gifts can be viewed as an investment in your future happiness.

Mandatory Compensation:

Made it to engagement? Time to show some monetary gratitude.

Not Optional: It’s not just good form but also black on white halacha that you must compensate the shadchan post a successful engagement.

The Going Rate: Compensation isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Each community may have its own norms. A quick chat with a local rabbi should provide clarity on what’s expected.

Hating on The Shadchan

Don’t Shoot the Messenger!

Ever received an unexpected curveball from a shadchan? Before you react, take a deep breath. These well-meaning individuals are often just the bearers of some hard truths. So, before you get worked up, consider if there’s what to learn. Turn that feedback into your superpower – you’re getting clarity from the other side that will help you pivot and improve.

The Multitasking Matchmaker

Imagine juggling work, family, community, and then on top of that daily wrangling of dozens of singles. Whew! 

That’s the daily grind for many shadchanim. These selfless souls are often the only bridge between eager singles, curious parents, and couples-in-the-making. Their hat collection? Truly impressive.

Frustrating as it might be that they haven’t gotten back to you or haven’t followed up, let’s cut ‘em slack. 

Finding Your Shadchan Soulmate
Every shadchan is its own unique blend. Like a cup of coffee; some are robust, others mild, and occasionally, decaffeinated. Not every shadchan will be your cup. If it’s not brewing right, don’t hesitate to seek another blend.

Shadchan Abuse

Now, here’s where things get a bit serious: Shadchan Abuse. Yep, it’s a thing. In the rare and unfortunate event that a shadchan goes rogue – breaches your trust, pushes you into a corner, or puts undue pressure on you – here’s the game plan:

  • Reality Check: Discuss the experience with trusted confidants. Is it a genuine red flag, or are those nerves playing tricks on you?
  • Set Boundaries: If your instincts and confidants align, take action. Approach the situation with grace and assertiveness. It’s crucial to know when to step back.
  • Parting Ways: A gracious exit is always best. Appreciate their past efforts, but ensure you move forward in your journey.

Final Word

As we wade through the complex waters of lifelong partnership, remember that it’s similar to climbing any life’s other mountains. The onus lies with us. Think of a shadchan as a trusty compass — invaluable, but the journey’s effort? That’s all you. 

In the roller coaster that is dating, it’s essential to retain optimism and perspective. After all, every experience, good or bad, is a step closer to finding that special someone. 

Ready, set, shadchan:-)

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