Thursday, November 24, 2011

You don't marry a shidduch resume

 The study is more concerned with online dating, but really that model is largely responsible for the shidduch resume expectation in the frum community. According to new research of psychologists Paul W. Eastwick, Eli J. Finkel and Alice H. Eagly, there is a disconnect between what people say they like on paper and what they go for in real life.  I could have told them this.
People have ideas about the abstract qualities they're looking for in a romantic partner," said Eastwick, assistant professor of psychology at Texas A&M University and lead author of the study. "But once you actually meet somebody face to face, those ideal preferences for traits tend to be quite flexible."


Finkel, associate professor of psychology at Northwestern University and co-author of the study explains:
"People are not simply the average of their traits."  Consequently, the checklist approach of desirable traits " doesn't make sense" in the "search for partners."
As Eagly says, you cannot isolate particular parts: "Thinking about this or that feature of a person apart from taking the whole person into account doesn't predict actual attraction." 
Indeed, a person cannot be reduced to a resume. And those who use them primarily as screening devices should remember this observation from Eastwick:
It has happened more than once that people have said, 'If you had tried to set me up with this guy, I would never have gone out with him, but I'm so glad I did!'"


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2 comments:

Aviva B said...

So is the issue here with using a shidduch resume (or any other type of trait evaluation method, such as reference calling) - or the issue is with people not being self-aware and honest enough to change what they're looking for when they actually go out with someone who has the "requested traits" and it doesn't work?

Ariella said...

It's an interesting question, Aviva. Sometimes young BY graduates truly believe that what they want is say, the best bachur in Lakewood, but, in reality, they respond better to someone who has a greater range of interest than learning. But it is also possible that the shidduch won't go because the Lakewood bachur screens the girl out based on something on her shidduch resume.
What I really don't like is that it is used -- like real job resumes -- primarily as a screening device. People look to find that the flaws and red flags and, on that basis, refuse an interview.

But another thing is that you can have the perfect candidate on paper who proves not at all perfect in real life. That is because a person is more than the sum of his/her parts. You can dig up all the details of the individual and family background and still not be assured that this relationship will work out.

For those who rely on shidduch resumes, I would have them look at the final quote of my post and give people a chance even if they don't meet everything on the checklist. The thing is to narrow down to essentials, like is the person trustworthy, and be willing to give up the status parts like the "right" schools and camps, height, size, possibly age, etc.