Questions for Researching Shidduch Prospects
Questions to Ask References
In the “Researching a Prospective Shidduch” page, we gave tips on how to speak to the references. On this page, we list typical questions that parents ask shidduch references.
There are different standards on how thoroughly to check out a shidduch before the dating begins. In some circles, the burden of determining the suitability of a shidduch is expected to rest on the parents; the parties meet in order to see if their “chemistry matches.” In other circles, the parties are expected to use their dates to determine the appropriateness of a match. Therefore, not all parents will be interested in using all these questions.
Questions Relevant to Both Boys & Girls
When asking references to describe the boy/girl, it is revealing to listen to the words they use: what is the first thing that comes to mind? These questions are probably best posed to the prospect’s peers: friends, chavrusas, or roommates.
How do people perceive him/her?
What does s/he do in spare time (for boys in learning: bein hazmanin, bein hasedarim)?
What are his/her real values? Give examples.
What is his/her biggest mailah (strongest point)? Best middos?
Is s/he the type of boy(girl) that will do anything for a friend? Ask for examples
Scale of 1-10 is s/he warm/giving?
Scale of 1-10, reserved or outgoing? Serious or funny?
What type of friends does s/he have? Are they into fashion? Sophisticated? Is s/he also like that?
Attitude towards money?
What are his/her practices about: watching movies? Videos? Using the internet? Smart phone?
Does he/she care how he/she keeps his/her room? Messy or neat?
Does s/he clean up after him/herself? Does s/he help at home?
How does s/he interact with parents? Are they respectful or adversarial?
Learning More About the Prospect
The questions listed above deal mostly with important issues of character, hashkafa, and personality. Many of these are "make or break" issues. More such questions are listed below, in the sections below: Questions Regarding Boys and Questions Regarding Girls.
It is also useful, however, to know something about the boy/girl's tastes and interests. Aside from fleshing out one's picture of the prospect, this kind of information may be helpful on dates. It may be easier to draw out a shy date by bringing up a hobby, for example. Friends listed on the resume may be helpful with this information. The shadchan, too, may be willing to ask a few questions directly to the prospect, such as what kind of music, literature, hobbies, or outings s/he enjoys?
It is wise to see these as neutral areas rather than ruling out a shidduch based on the answers supplied, since many couples with divergent tastes have made successful marriages.
Questions Regarding Boys
What does he do in his spare time?
Did he or does he smoke? Drink? Drive aggressively?
How does he deal with frustration?
Does he lose his temper?
Is he cynical? Note: Cynicism may be the superficial pose of a “cool” young bochur or the symptom of a deeper issue.
Baal middos? Mensch? Kind, Helpful? Considerate of others? What makes you say that?
Is he honest? Have you ever heard him say something not true?
Is he responsible?
How does he socially and emotionally interact with friends & rebbeim?
Sociable/ gregarious or constantly immersed in his seforim?
In regard to roommates: is he considerate, quiet, personal hygiene?
Is he a doer? Is he always busy taking care of things? Or does he focus more on his own learning?
Does he have a Rav/Rebbe whom he respects? To whom he asks his questions?
Is he on time to davening most of the time? (Nobody is perfect.)
How long is he planning to learn?
How seriously does he take his learning?
Is he in the beis medrash on time? Or more relaxed about attendance?
Is he is employed? Studying for a degree? Where? What are his career plans?
If he is not in Bais Medrash fulltime, does he have a learning schedule?
Questions Regarding Girls
“How does she dress?” “Describe what she wears?” rather than “Does she dress with tzniyus?”
Is she flexible/go with the flow?
How much time does she spend with makeup/clothes, etc?
Is she punctual?
Describe relationships with family members (siblings).
Is she helpful in the kitchen, around the house?
What does she do with her spare time?
What could you tell me about her davening?
Why type of chessed is she involved in?
Is she looking for a short or long term learner? A guy with a plan? Or, someone currently employed?
What are her plans regarding working?
Would she give her family priority over her career?
If the girl is known as a successful Morah, this is already a significant character endorsement, since the students reject teachers who have major faults.
Asking for clothing size gives a message about the priorities of the boy, perhaps better avoided.
About the Parents/Home
Ask shul members or neighbors how they perceive the parents: easy going or difficult? controlling? happy?
Do they seem to get along well with people?
Is there shalom bayis?
How is the household run, is it hefker or are parents involved in children’s lives?
Are they generous? With their time for children and giving what their children need, or are they too generous, giving more than they need?
Are parents overly involved their adult childrens’ lives? What makes you say that?
Are the living standards very high or low? Ask for concrete examples, since this area is very subjective. Parents need to consider if their child would be able to handle this kind of living standard.
Is the father machshiv Torah?
How does the mother dress?
Are there genetic health issues?