I just got out of a long-term relationship with a man who is not Jewish. Seeing as most of our problems were centered on our differences in religious ritual and practice, it’s important that the next boyfriend I choose is Jewish. My friends have begun setting me up with every Jewish guy they know. While I’m incredibly appreciative of their efforts, I feel like they aren’t really thinking about if their selections would make a good match with me. How do I get them to filter better before handing out my contact information? S.A., Petaluma
Alexis: The solution here is simple. Tell your friends about the kind of guy you’re looking for, and request a picture or run-down before they set you two up. That way you can more carefully vet your own dates without leaving it entirely up to your friends’ matchmaking skills. Try to avoid getting too specific about what you want, though — creating a list of definite requirements may leave out a special someone. The value of the setup is that you meet someone you may have never considered; it is sometimes these people who make the best match. The bottom line here is that no one can perfectly predict the pairing that will set off fireworks, so be grateful to your friends for their enthusiasm in helping you out.
Jessica: I think it is so thoughtful that your friends are trying. But it sounds like you should be the one filtering the men, not them. Decide you’re going to do a phone call with each date before you meet in person — talking on the phone can give you an indication of whether there is any connection. Of course, with that said, it is sometimes hard to get a true picture of who you are going to meet over the phone, so it is usually a good idea to meet for coffee or a glass of wine before completely ruling the guy out altogether. These first meetings are a bit uncomfortable for everyone, so I try to be nice no matter what the final decision is about a potential future date. Just try to enjoy every date for what it is, even if all you get out of it is a funny story!
Saul: It’s really nice your friends are actually taking an interest in your love life and setting you up with people they know. It would be helpful if you shared with them what qualities you’re looking for in a potential boyfriend. It may avoid some awkward moments for all of you. Good luck!
Sharon: The dating game is always tricky when you complicate it with setups from well-intentioned friends and relatives. There is really no way for anyone else to know who you will find interesting, fascinating or a total bore. I would be extremely appreciative that those who love you are trying to make connections for you with men they like and respect. It is also completely OK for you to pass on anyone you don’t want to meet. We all know there is no foolproof way to meet someone who sparks your interest. Hopefully your Jewish Prince Charming will be riding into town any day now.
Dr. Sharon Ufberg is a Napa-based radio host, journalist, consultant and integrative health practitioner. Her daughters live in San Francisco: Lawyer-turned-writer Alexis Sclamberg, 29 and married; and hair colorist Jessica Sclamberg, 27 and single. Saul Sclamberg, 25 and single, studies chiropractic in Los Angeles. Read more at http://r-2-cents.com.