"Ayzehu Chacham HaLomed Mikol Adam." Who is wise? He who learns from every person. That's what Pirkei Avos says. I think it follows from here that we should try to learn from every situation as well. Shidduch dating has its ups and downs, just like everything else in the world, but one thing we can do is reflect a little and come out with important life lessons. On that note, here are life lessons/skills/talents I've learned from shidduch dating. Please feel free to share your own!
1. How to make conversation with anyone. Meeting up with someone who you've never met before gives you great experience at talking to strangers. Though some people are born with this skill, and others of us acquired it in Seminary/Yeshiva while going to random people for shabbos, dating is a great chance to practice. Coming up with creative and insightful questions is a fun challenge. Now wherever you go and whoever you meet you’ll have the skills to talk for as long as necessary. Bored on long bus ride/plane ride and stuck sitting next to someone random? Have no fear. Dating will assist you to master the art of racking your brain for possible conversation starters and ways to keep the conversation flowing! Some claim it’s the guy’s responsibility to do this, but unless the girl wants to be sitting there with tons of awkward pauses, she better work on this skill too.
2. How to be subtle when hinting that you'd like to leave. It's just plain rude to say straight out "I would like to leave now," in any situation, not just a date, unless you are with close friends or family. Dating gives you the opportunity to work on mastering the art of glancing at your watch in a way that your date can clearly see that you are glancing at your watch, while at the same time you must be pretending to try to hide the fact that you're glancing so your date knows you were attempting to be tactful.
3. How to be flexible. This can be learned from many situations in life, but inevitably it seems something is bound to go wrong in your dating career, whether it's your date being stuck in traffic for an hour or whether the place you had intended to go happens to be closed when you arrive. For those of us who like to have every second planned in my head, and dating is just another opportunity to learn how do deal when things don't go quite as planned.
4. Who you are. Life is a constant path of self discovery, and meeting new people gives you the chance to learn what you like and what you don’t like, what interests you and what does not. Unless you date someone who agrees with you on every issue out there and has had exactly the same types of life experience as you, which is rarely the case, you’re bound to come out of the date thinking about something you never thought about before or realizing there are certain habits that drive you crazy that you never thought would be an issue. There are so many things that I didn’t know about myself until I started dating. Maybe there thought there were certain characteristics that you thought you would never be able to deal with in a spouse, and then when you meet someone in person with those characteristics you might discover that it’s not that bad.
Those are just a few. What life lessons have you learned from shidduch dating?