Asking singles their age

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  • #614610
    Poster
    Member

    Is it insulting to ask a single for their age?

    I recently wanted to redt a shidduch to my son’s teacher. I asked her some information about what she is looking for, then I aksed her for her age.

    She winced. I felt like I asked her something too personal.

    Was I wrong to ask.

    Singles, please advise.

    #1133435
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Never ask a woman her age, whether she’s married or single.

    #1133436
    Poster
    Member

    RebYidd23, why not?

    I am a woman and I have no problem whatsoever if someone asks me for my age.

    #1133437
    mythoughts
    Participant

    I disagree. If you are trying to help them with a shidduch, that’s the first question a potential suitor will ask. They need to get over it. Don’t ask any questions unless you will follow up. Then it would be prying into their personal life without any purpose.

    #1133438
    picturesq
    Member

    I once didn’t ask a girl her age and ended up redting her a shidduch with a guy almost ten years her junior. Ever since I make it a practice, as is necessary, to always ask girls their age. It’s even more important than asking the guys their age since it is generally okay to redt a guy who is notably older than the girl but it isn’t generally okay to redt a guy who is notably younger than the girl.

    #1133439
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    You don’t ask your kid’s teacher her age. Nothing to do with being single–you have a professional relationship with her, and it isn’t appropriate to be making it personal like that.

    #1133440
    Poster
    Member

    popa_bar_abba, I am so embarrassed! Is it inappropriate to read her a shidduch?

    #1133441
    Poster
    Member

    I really have an idea in mind. I asked her to e-mail her resume to me, but she didn’t as of yet. Did I cross my boundaries?

    I was not trying to pry I really have an idea in mind. This teacher made a very nice impression on me and I would love to help her with a shidduch.

    #1133442
    MRS PLONY
    Participant

    Maybe she winced because a mosquito suddenly bit her? Or maybe she’s uncomfortable that she’s not married yet and it seems like all of her same-age friends are, and she was afraid you’d judge her.

    I don’t think you did anything wrong.

    #1133443
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I do think it is inappropriate to redt a shidduch. I think if I had an idea I would tell one of her coworkers and ask if they wanted to redt it, or else tell a different person in the community, or else set up a shell corporation that I controlled and have it redt the shidduch.

    #1133444
    be good
    Participant

    Ok I seem to be the only female single here.

    Yes, it’s very uncomfortable to be asked by pretty random people, pretty personal information, such as your age. When in Shidduchim, you don’t have the option of telling someone to get lost, as you don’t want to be viewed as difficult or rude, so you generally find yourself in a position of being asked all sorts of questions with almost no gracious way out of having to answer.

    Some tips for those kind, well meaning people, looking to help a single find his/her bashert (thank you for trying to help!!):

    Make sure the setting is appropriate (if you’re not sure whether the person is comfortable discussing personal topics at that time/place, ask for their number and if it would be ok to call to discuss an idea you have). Obviously, if you do ask for their number, you MUST follow up!!! I hope I don’t need to explain this one!

    If/when you do feel that you must know certain things, preface it with, ‘I hope you don’t mind my asking’ OR ‘I understand if you don’t want to divulge this info, but do you mind my asking…’ OR ‘who can I speak to about …’.

    With regard to age: No, do not be so direct- instead, show some sensitivity and ask ‘within what age range do you usually date’ of both sides, that will give you the answer. (If the guy will for example only date girls younger than age X and you are unsure whether the girl is X+1, X or X-1, you can tell the girl that guy will only date girls who are X or younger and she can let you know if she feels that she is appropriate.) You do not really need to know the exact age, just within what range to look or consider candidates for this person. It’s really not your business. Leave singles their dignity and don’t invade their privacy by asking questions that you don’t really need to know the answer to.

    To some of you, not familiar with the level of pain and anxiety that (female?) singles function under on a constant basis, this might seem strange and over done, but trust me- most singles (esp the females) are self-conscious about their age). And as we are at the mercy of society to set us up, we are not in the position to tell people that their questions are intrusive and inappropriate. So please, have some sensitivity and at the very least preface your questions with, ‘I hope you don’t mind me asking…’.

    (FYI: Yes we do mind you asking, but we appreciate you acknowledging the intrusion, and thus preserving some of our dignity by your attempt to be sensitive).

    It’s always better to be oversensitive to the feelings of others, than to be insensitive and risk hurting people who are already hurting so much inside.

    I also agree with Poppa: If you have a professional relationship with the single, have someone else make the suggestion. As a single, there is nothing more awkward than having someone with whom you have a professional relationship with (ie. the mother of a student or client) set you up, or/and be the in between person etc only to have it not work out in some unpleasant way, and to then have to continue your professional relationship with them. Trust me. Been there done that. Really awkward.

    #1133445
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    In our mosdos, there is inevitably a crossing of the line between professional and personal. I think it has its upside and its downside. I don’t think redding a shidduch is an absolute no-no.

    #1133446
    be good
    Participant

    If you care about getting the single married and have a really good idea for him/her, ask someone else to suggest it- they can say that someone asked them to suggest it, and that he/she can call you for more info if they are comfortable doing so.

    #1133447
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Isn’t she also supposed to have a professional relationship with her coworkers?

    #1133448
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Who says she’s looking for a shidduch?

    #1133449
    oyyoyyoy
    Participant

    Thank you Be Good. This is all news to me.

    #1133450
    picturesq
    Member

    RY23: Who said your neighbor, friend, colleague, acquaintance or anyone else is looking for a shidduch?

    #1133451
    Poster
    Member

    be good, I totally hear all your points and feel so bad now.

    I always feel like when I try reading shidduchim somehow or another unless the couple gets engaged someone is hurt.

    It almost makes me not want to try!

    #1133452
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Ok I seem to be the only female single here.

    How old are you?

    Isn’t she also supposed to have a professional relationship with her coworkers?

    Yes, but it’s a different sort of professional relationship. You show your coworkers pictures of your grandkids, but you don’t show your students or their parents pictures of your grandkids.

    #1133453
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I always feel like when I try reading shidduchim somehow or another unless the couple gets engaged someone is hurt.

    It almost makes me not want to try!

    This is an excellent point.

    Ok I seem to be the only female single here.

    How old are you?

    lol

    Isn’t she also supposed to have a professional relationship with her coworkers?

    Yes, but it’s a different sort of professional relationship. You show your coworkers pictures of your grandkids, but you don’t show your students or their parents pictures of your grandkids.

    This is true, but in many situations (not all) there is still enough of a personal side to it to redt a shidduch, which, IMO is less “personal” (in a certain way) than showing pictures of einiklach.

    #1133454
    be good
    Participant

    Popa: My answer to ‘How old are you?’ is ‘I am looking to date a guy between the ages of X and Y’. If someone really wants to help, that is enough information for them.

    (unless i’m in a doctors office 😉 in that case I write it down on a piece of paper and give it to them, no need for the whole office to hear how old I am. Ditto for the pharmacy).

    Poster and oyyoyyoy: Please don’t stop suggesting shidduchim to single men and women- we need you to set us up- just try and be mindful of boundaries and our dignity. Most of us are mature professionals. Just like you wouldn’t start asking your doctor all sorts of personal questions, be mindful that you don’t make us uncomfortable, while trying to help us. Thank you for trying!

    #1133455
    picturesq
    Member

    Doing shidduchim is nearly impossible without asking all sorts of personal questions.

    #1133456
    golfer
    Participant

    Poster, you got some very good advice from be good. I paid close attention to her post too. But I can’t help feeling, as you do, that redting shidduchim, especially to older singles, often results in a lot of hurt feelings.

    When I think of an idea for a possible shidduch, I’m always torn between making the call, or being smart and banishing the thought before I go near the phone. It’s no use wishing singles (and their parents) were less sensitive; I can’t think of a more sensitive issue! Even with the best of intentions the possibility of bruising feelings is exponentially greater than the possibility of bringing two people together.

    I still think we all need to try and redt shidduchim, while holding our breaths and treading very, very carefully.

    One problem I always have is that the guy- who protocol demands is the first one I approach- will, naturally, request a resume. Since I’m not a professional, I don’t have resumes as a matter of course, and have to make a call to get one. Maybe I also have to clarify a few things, ask a few questions, to get the guy some additional info he asked for. Then it takes many weeks, often months, until I hear from him. (That’s if I’m lucky and I hear from him at all!) All that time the girl is wondering what happened, thinking maybe I was just being a yenta. After all I asked her all those nosy intrusive questions and there’s no guy in sight. I have no idea how to get around this. Any suggestions- greatly appreciated.

    I won’t even start with the dilemma I’m stuck with if the young man asks for a picture. I brought that up on another thread, hoping for an answer, but didn’t manage to get any clarity on the issue. The best I came up with was that since passing around pictures is so distasteful (-I strongly agree) I should drop the shidduch at that point.

    #1133457
    be good
    Participant

    Picturesq: I’m not saying NOT to ask any personal questions, I’m saying be mindful and sensitive, make sure you absolutely need the info you are asking for, and preface your questions as I outlined above so that you don’t overstep boundaries and let the single maintain their dignity.

    #1133458
    be good
    Participant

    Golfer: Thank you for trying to suggest shidduchim!

    When someone calls me asks me for a resume and some questions, suggests it to the guy and then they don’t hear anything from him- I appreciate it when the person calls me back and tells me that they forwarded the resume and the answers to the questions and that they haven’t heard back, but will let me know as soon as they do.

    It’s a nice thing to do so that the single knows where things are at. The person suggesting the shidduch can’t be responsible for the behavior of the guy, but they can be transparent, and communicate that they did indeed forward the info to the guy (and didn’t forget about it) so that the single isn’t left wondering.

    This also leaves the person making the suggestion looking good, instead of leaving the single wondering if the person making the suggestion was just fishing, was insincere, changed their mind, etc.

    #1133459
    oomis
    Participant

    Nothing wrong with trying to make a shidduch, BUT you should know approximately how old each involved party is. The teacher might have been sensitive about her age, but if she is older, she should expect it by now, and if much younger, she will have to deal with this maturely. If she is too sensitive to answer what is a very basic and legitimate question, she is not serious about wanting to find her bashert. Most guys want to know how old the girl is, and vice versa.

    #1133460
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    My answer to ‘How old are you?’ is ‘I am looking to date a guy between the ages of X and Y’. If someone really wants to help, that is enough information for them.

    (unless i’m in a doctors office 😉 in that case I write it down on a piece of paper and give it to them, no need for the whole office to hear how old I am. Ditto for the pharmacy).

    My answer at the doctor’s office is “I’m looking to live until 2xxx.” That’s enough information for them.

    #1133461
    be good
    Participant

    Oomis: Sorry but I strongly disagree with this statement “If she is too sensitive to answer what is a very basic and legitimate question, she is not serious about wanting to find her bashert.”

    She may have just had a birthday, and be VERY sensitive about it. She may have recently been broken up with by a guy because of her age, or had some other unpleasant experience related to her age.

    Trust me, she is likely VERY serious about finding her Bashert, but is just feeling sensitive about her age.

    Have some sensitivity, and be careful about how you go about obtaining this info (See my comments above). You can also ask other people who are close with her (other co-workers, friends etc, or ask for a resume).

    #1133462
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Lemme guess.

    You really asked her weight, and you’re just gauging our response on age before you admit that.

    #1133463
    Poster
    Member

    popa_bar_abba, weight is something u can’t hide!

    #1133464
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    weight is something u can’t hide!

    she wears vertical stripes

    #1133465
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Single malt Scotch usually has the age printed on the label, so you don’t need to ask.

    #1133466
    oomis
    Participant

    Be good, I am going to do something I don’t typically do – retract a statement. As I re-read what I wrote, I thought better of how I posted it. Let me rephrase, if she is bothered by being asked to answer a question that will no doubt come up when being redt shidduchim, she will have to find a way to deal with the issue in a comfortable way. The suggestion to say she is looking for a shidduch in such and such an age range, is a good one. I did not intent to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I am sorry.

    I married relatively late (I was nearly 26), sompared to my friends, and it was a sensitive thing, especially as my younger sister got married five years earlier, and my relationship with the fellow who I was sure was about to propose, broke up right after she got married. I understand from personal experience how some people feel about these questions.

    But – it is not a crime to be an older single person. It is not something of which to be ashamed. It IS sad, if one is lonely and watching his/her friends get married and nothing meaningful is happening. So when well-meaning people who WANT to set you up ask questions that make you uncomfortable, you have to find a way to answer the relevant ones, without making a big deal out of it, and forgive the others for the intrusive questions. I do not personally feel that AGE is an intrusive question, but if someone else does, then I agree that a sensitive way needs to be found to deal with the issue. I am sorry that my original answer might have caused additional agmas nefesh to anyone.

    #1133467
    YW Moderator-42
    Moderator

    DY, how much does your scotch weigh?

    #1133468
    lesschumras
    Participant

    I’ve never understood the issue regarding age and why it is such a big secret. It’s a fact of life and nothing to ashamed of. If you are looking to get married, your prospective spouse is going to have to be told eventually anyway.

    #1133469
    picturesq
    Member

    I agree with LC. What’s the big deal about giving one’s age? Is it embarrassing? The prospective spouse will have to know it.

    #1133470
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Suggesting a shidduch wasn’t her idea. Maybe she doesn’t want anyone to know.

    #1133471
    golfer
    Participant

    Be good,

    Thank you for all your well thought-out, well written posts.

    You can be sure I’ll keep you in mind.

    #1133472
    picturesq
    Member

    If she doesn’t want to get married I can perhaps hear that argument.

    #1133473
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    How do you know she wants to get married?

    #1133474
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    42, about an ounce.

    Then, another ounce…

    #1133475
    Poster
    Member

    Be Good, Let’s say (this has happened to me) I have in mind a certain boy for a girl. I ask her for her resume and some details. When I get her resume I see that its not the greatest idea after all.

    Now does she think I was intrusive for nothing? It wasnt for nothing, but I dont want to read shidduchim that I dont think are suitable.

    #1133476
    be good
    Participant

    Poster: First of all, thanks for trying to help!

    If that is what happened, you can call and tell her you looked into the idea and that it wasn’t shayech, but that you will continue to keep her in mind.

    You don’t need to tell her it’s because of something you saw on her resume- you can just keep it vague and let her think it’s because you looked into the guy, and didn’t think he was appropriate for her…

    #1133477
    be good
    Participant

    Oomis: Retraction noted. No offense taken, I realize that many people have no idea what the inner life of a single feels like- hence my attempt to enlighten you all here.

    While singles are generally not ashamed to be single, it is very difficult to function in our society, and be accorded the same acceptance and respect as our married counterparts. We are often looked at as children with no life experience, just because we happen to not yet have had the marriage experience.

    Unfortunately, most of us have had many other, often difficult and growth-inducing experiences and are often more mature than our married peers, partly because of our Nisayon. However, society continues to treat us like children, and it can often feel demeaning.

    This is in addition to the humiliation of well meaning shadchanim, offering us their unsolicited advice (read: criticism), being broken up with by guys, having well-meaning people poke into our lives in an effort to help, etc.

    So, when you think about all that coming our way (and I haven’t even mentioned family pressure etc) sometimes all we want is to get out and be allowed to function as a normal adult, without a big neon ‘SINGLE- FOR SALE’ sign above our heads. We are generally successful at that, but then we get stopped, mid- (whatever we are doing to try and stay sane) and are asked how old we are. And while we understand the necessity of these questions, this is what we are thinking: Thanks for reminding me that I’m single, I was trying just for a few hours, to not think about it and just feel like a regular person for a while. Shame. How old am I? O yes, I’m X years old. Only Y amount of years left on my biological baby clock- help!!! (yes, I’ve been in the parsha for X-20 years, is this EVER going to end??). etc etc.

    Just some thoughts that go through the head of a single.

    We always appreciate that the person asking is trying to help, and is generally well-meaning, however to those of you out there wondering about this- please see my tips above about how to be more sensitive (without making us feel nebach) and try to be as respectful and non-intrusive as you can, while still helping as much as you are able.

    We really do appreciate it- even if it doesn’t work out- your efforts may have given a single hope for a minute, day or week or two, and even if it didn’t lead him/her to the chuppa this time, it still has value in keeping the single feeling good and hopeful for a small amount of time. And hope is not to be underestimated. (obviously false hope, or silly suggestions are a waste of time and are annoying and hurtful) but a suggestion that comes in a sensitive way, that is followed up on promptly is always appreciated.

    Thank you all for your concern and willingness to help.

    #1133478
    be good
    Participant

    O, and one more thought (apologies for the long posts here):

    To all of you who said things like ‘whats the big deal with age?’ and ‘people ask me all the time, I don’t have a problem with it’

    This is the big deal with our age: That little number can often mean the difference between a date (read: hope, a chance that our situation might change) and sitting at home with no dates.

    Married people/people not in shidduchim don’t feel like their future depends on a number- single people do.

    So, yes it’s a very loaded question to us. We know that guys say no to certain ages, but will say yes to someone 6 months younger because their age is a lower number.

    The reason it is difficult to deal with, is that age- of all the factors taken into account when considering whether to marry someone, has the least meaning when it comes to a persons character and good spouse potential (unless you consider old age a good thing because it comes with life experience).

    We all know why a guy asks how old the girl is- he wants to know where her biological clock is up to- and we all understand that. But just remember that you are reminding us of this painful fact when you ask us that question. So be careful with it.

    Just some thoughts. Sorry if they are a bit raw- but this is just a tiny window into the inner life of some singles out there. (I can’t speak for all of them- but I know myself and my friends).

    #1133479
    picturesq
    Member

    To all of you who said things like ‘whats the big deal with age?’ and ‘people ask me all the time, I don’t have a problem with it’

    This is the big deal with our age: That little number can often mean the difference between a date (read: hope, a chance that our situation might change) and sitting at home with no dates.

    How do you get around it? Not giving the guy (the potential date) your age? What is he told when he asks how old the proposed girl is?

    The reason it is difficult to deal with, is that age- of all the factors taken into account when considering whether to marry someone, has the least meaning when it comes to a persons character and good spouse potential (unless you consider old age a good thing because it comes with life experience).

    Surely you agree age is a valid factor in considering a date. Does it not make a difference whether a potential date is 20 or 30?

    We all know why a guy asks how old the girl is- he wants to know where her biological clock is up to

    I don’t think that is the primary reason (unless, perhaps, if you are specifically referring to shidduchim for “older” girls). More importantly, people generally want a spouse close in age to themselves (with what constitutes being “close in age” differing in opinion between different people).

    #1133480
    oomis
    Participant

    Be good, may you and all our unattached children soon build your bayis ne’eman b’Yisroel.

    #1133482
    be good
    Participant

    Picturesq:

    ‘How do you get around it? Not giving the guy (the potential date) your age? What is he told when he asks how old the proposed girl is?’

    I get around the question by answering as I outlined above (Ie. ‘I date guys between the ages of X and Y’)

    I’m not saying age isn’t something that we use as a ballpark. I’m just saying that A) it’s a sensitive question, so tread carefully. And B) You (potential shadchan/peson trying to set someone up) don’t actually have to know our exact age. A range is enough – ie if the girl dates guys between 28 and 36, that gives you an idea of her age and gives you a ballpark in which to look.

    If the guy wants to know how old the girl is- you then do really need a specific number, you can then call the girl and say the guy is X years old, he wants to know how old you are- what would you like me to tell him?

    Oomis: Amein- thank you for the good wishes.

    #1133483
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    See popa’s comment above.

    Asking singles their age

    Also, what do you mean “what would you like me to tell him”? How about the truth?

    #1133484
    picturesq
    Member

    be good: If the guy specifically asks for the age of the girl being redt to him (something I would imagine most guys in the parsha do ask for), answering him that “she’s looking to date guys between X and Y years old” may not cut it.

    Besides, to take your point full circle, if the guy only tells the shadchan that he’s dating girls between ages 25 and 31 and the girl only tells the shadchan that she’s dating guys between ages 30 and 35, is the shadchan supposed to figure, well, there’s some overlap there so let me redt the shidduch without asking anyone for their ages?

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