1. The situation: You’re on a second date with a smart, funny guy. But his last 20 out of 21 sentences have been wisecracks or clever comments. By the entrée, you know this isn’t a match. You’re looking for someone slower, more relaxed, somebody who can be quiet with you. Spending time with him has not been awful. If it had been, you wouldn’t be in this situation, because it would have been obvious to both of you on the first date that you two should not see each other again. But as it is, you ate another dinner, you laughed, you found out you both fear live lobsters and love chocolate-dipped cones. It’s all perfectly endurable. But when he leans in to ask for a third date, how do you make it clear that this isn’t possible–without being rude?

The response: “Tonight was wonderful. But I don’t feel like we’re a shidduch.”

Certain, very well-meaning pals will urge you to explain what you like about this guy and what you don’t. But men, like many of us, don’t need a dissection of their best and worst qualities –most especially at such a moment of open vulnerability. Certain other very well-meaning pals will urge you to identify some flaw in yourself–as if you need to find something wrong with you in order to justify a lack of desire or commitment.

But bringing up shidduch–the Hebrew word for engagement or “match”–focuses your argument on your common connection. What you’re saying is: You two aren’t suited to each other. Rather than he’s not suited to you or you’re not suited to him. Those of the Jewish persuasion (fluent in Hebrew) will understand this sentence in a flash. Those of us not of the religion (me!) may require some explanation. Regardless, mentioning the unfeasibility of this particular “match” may just cause you to consider what you are looking for from long-term love–on your next dates, with other people.

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