Examining the Jewish San Diego Single this Valentine’s Dayby Rabbi Jacob Rupp January 30, 2017
I recently had the pleasure of attending an event with a plethora of Jewish singles. I was surprised to learn that so many of them were not single by choice. Instead, they felt the San Diego dating scene was extremely prohibitive. In a room full of nearly 100 Jewish singles, most of whom were put together, financially stable, Jewishly involved, and looking to date, people were complaining there are not enough options in this fine city!
Because I am a relationships coach, I wanted to do research. What are the problems? An unscientific poll boiled them down to three: 1.) The other gender had too high or unrealistic expectations. 2.) They (the other gender) didn’t want to commit. 3.) San Diego is too small of a social circle, therefore everyone knows everyone already.
The real culprit, though, is the urge to lump everyone together. Making generalizations allows us to escape rather than cope, do the work, and overcome problems.
At that Jewish singles event, it was almost comical how the same people who felt that the other gender was so selective and judgemental felt that they were totally open-minded and willing to compromise. So how did they, everyone, get to that point?
In our very user friendly, customer centric world, meaningful and committed relationships are especially vulnerable. Deep, meaningful connections require us to step outside of ourselves, away from the personas we carefully curate, and into the unedited truth of who we really are. Judaism teaches that the relationships we have should be intentional; we should figure out what we want and go out and get it. Most people today have a passive approach; see what happens, who comes along, and how things go before making any kind of commitments.
Getting clarity in terms of who we want to be with means prioritizing and being selective even at the outset. Don’t date people you wouldn’t want to marry. Don’t start relationships or close friendships with potential partners that you wouldn’t be ok with blossoming into something more. Figure out what you want, and once you know somewhat what you are looking for, you have to go after it like a saleperson pursuing a deal. As Steven Covey so brilliantly said in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” begin with the end in mind.
For all of my insanity, the first time I had a real conversation with my future wife, I told my college roommate, “I found the woman I’m going to marry.” It did take four years, but I had the vision from day one.
To try a new way of going about the single life (if your goal is to stop being single), apply a sales process to your social life. 1.) Know your product 2.) Know your customer 3.) Get your product in front of the right customer and see if they want to buy.
The first step, know your product, means know yourself. This is the most challenging part of the process because self knowledge is difficult. Build up your strong points (perhaps you are a natural people person — work on getting better at that, learning how to listen better, etc). Put effort into your weaker points (learn how to dance, lose weight, do work you enjoy, etc).
Next, you have to find qualified prospects. Like in sales, figure out where your buyers are and go there. The bar in Ensenada, or the office xmas party, while certainly places where people meet, aren’t the ideal places to find your future husband or wife.
Pursue your potential clients. Create opportunities for them to really see who you are (not how hot you are, or how nice your car is, but who you really are). And then let them say yes or no.
The central shift in thinking is to make the process purposeful. Rarely do we achieve things of value without effort. Tinder and company has completely warped our worldview; people do not parade in front of us waiting for a head nod and there’s no customer service department. When we make rash generalizations, we stop working and start blaming. Rather, we have to do the work, and make the continual effort until success is achieved.
The good news is that once we get into the mindset of being intentional, the relationships we do have are infinitely better because we recognize that we are the agents of change, the responsible party for our own happiness, who have the power to change outcomes.