When you’re going on a shidduch date, you want to come as prepared as possible – from having conversation starters and fillers, knowing how to be a good listener in shidduchim, and davening for a successful shidduch date.

What to Do Before Your First Shidduch Date

When it comes to shidduchim, it’s best to be prepared. There are lots of unwritten rules for both parties on the date, and you want to make sure you know what to expect.

Hopefully, you know some people who have been through the shidduch dating process before you. Ask them for advice and tips!  It helps to hear from someone who’s been there before. You’ll be more confident with someone else’s experience to guide you.

You can also ask shadchanim for shidduch dating tips, before they even redt a shidduch (suggest a name) to you. A good shadchan can be very helpful in helping you figure out the social niceties that are appropriate. Of course, not all Jewish dating is the same. Norms for Lakewood shidduchim are not the same as they are for baal teshuva dating, so asking your shadchan about specifics is a good idea.

Mastering the Basics of Jewish Dating

When you ask for advice and prepare for your dating experience, you’ll want to clarify what is expected in the following areas:

  • Where will the initial meeting place be?

In many shidduch dating circles, the boy is expected to pick up the girl at her home and meet her parents before actually taking the girl out. In other circles, both parties will show up at an arranged meeting point at the appointed time. Find out what your shidduch date will expect.

  • What is the expected shidduch date dress code?

Although the shidduch dating world will have many differences based on society, there are many shidduch dates that take place in formal settings. These dates will require a suit and hat for the boy and a dressy outfit plus makeup and a more spiffed-up hairstyle for the girl. 
Other dates, often referred to as “coffee dates,” don’t require formal dress at all. Discuss the shidduch date dress code with your shadchan in advance, or with the girl herself if you are calling her directly to ask her out.

  • How many dates should you expect to have in Jewish dating?

If all goes well, some circles expect engagement in a Jewish shidduch to come after 3-5 dates, while others expect double digit dates before engagement can take place. Knowing how to pace yourself is important, so it’s helpful to clarify expectations before beginning to date a prospective shidduch. 

  • Until when is the shadchan going to be involved?

Some couples go through a shadchan up to the engagement itself, while others begin to handle arranging dates themselves after just 2-3 dates. If dropping the shadchan is on your mind, find out when this is expected to happen in your shidduch dating circles.

  • Who picks the venue, and which venues are considered appropriate?

In many circles, the boy is expected to pick the venue, but both sides can always discuss preferences with the shadchan. Offering the girl several options of places to go can also be very appreciated. (Make sure you know how to get to each of these locations if you will be the one driving.)

  • What formalities do you need to know about?

There are often standard greeting lines that are expected, or the expectation of being treated to a drink. Find out what formality rules you’ll be expected to follow.

  • What activities will be done during the date?

Some dates might expect to eat together, whether eating in a restaurant or going on a picnic. Others won’t expect more than a drink. In some circles, walking dates are common, while others will play games. Find out what activities will be appreciated by your date.

After you do your due diligence in preparing for a shidduch date, don’t forget to daven! Asking Hashem for help is the most important preparation you can invest in before starting shidduchim, since He is truly the One Who will bring your shidduch to you at the right time. With Hashem’s help, this shidduch date will help you get closer to finding the right one. 

Presenting Your Best Self on a Shidduch Date

Going on a shidduch date is essentially your first impression to a person you may end up building your life with. Showing up as your best self sets the tone for the relationship that follows.

Here are a couple of ways to bring your best self to shidduch dating. 

Dress Your Best

Dressing up to go out helps both of you show up looking your best, which creates positive first impressions. Formal dress can make the date feel like a special occasion instead of just a humdrum meeting, contributing positive energy to the shidduch date. This can be accomplished by wearing a favorite outfit or tie as well, even if it isn’t a formal-attire type of date.

For those more casual dates, choosing carefully from your wardrobe also makes a difference. Putting thought into how you’re dressed shows that you’re taking the shidduch date seriously. So even if you’re coming from a very hectic day, change into an outfit specifically for the date. It does make a difference.

Little Courtesies and Niceties

When you’re on a shidduch date, you want to show sensitivity and caring to the other party, as care and concern are so essential to marriage. This might include:

  • Coming on time: Whether you are a boy picking up a girl or you are both arriving at a meeting place, be punctual. 
  • For boys: Opening the car doors and walking the girl to her door, or waiting until she gets inside after the date, are gestures that will be appreciated.
  • For girls: Saying thank you when your date opens your car door or pours you a drink shows appreciation. Don’t forget it, even if it seems insignificant.

Come Rested and Relaxed

Think of the difference in how you feel when you have a solid night of sleep behind you, and when you’re drooping from exhaustion and overwork. When you know you’re going on a date the next night, try to rest up the night before. Falling asleep on your date is definitely not part of the shidduch stories you want to have!

Also try to avoid coming straight to your date from a hectic day’s work. If you can give yourself a chance to unwind and relax before, you’ll offer much better company, and be in the best frame of mind for the experience.

Be True to Yourself In Shidduchim

Although you won’t share all your deepest sides on a first date, you should be genuine on every date. Being authentic is the only way you have a chance to really get to know each other.


Some singles feel like all the dressing up and being extra polite is artificial, and takes away from being their authentic self. If this person they are meeting will be their future spouse, they won’t be constantly dressed up and on their best behavior once they are married, so why should they pretend on their shidduch dates?


There should be a balance between the need to make a great impression and being yourself. But if dressing up too much makes you feel inhibited and unable to really be yourself, going more casual at some point in the process (as long as it’s prearranged with the other side) can relax the stiffness.


Even if you keep the setting and dress formal, you can still be your genuine self in the conversation. Try to get comfortable as much as possible, and even as you are on your best behavior, don’t be afraid to let your real self show. Let yourself be natural and humorous, entertaining, or serious, depending on your personality. Allow yourself to show your real emotions and share your thoughts about the topics under discussion. It’s the only way to form a real connection.

Practical Tips for Emotional Preparation

Being in shidduchim, and especially when meeting a new potential shidduch match, can bring out a lot of emotions for you. It’s normal to feel nervous before meeting new people, but you can help yourself feel confident by preparing before.

  • Before each date, give yourself a pep talk and remind yourself how amazing you are.
  • Discuss any specific worries that you have with your mentor or a trusted friend.
  • Write down your thoughts before and after each shidduch date so you can sort them through carefully.
  • Be hopeful that each date is a possible marriage partner, and come with that positive attitude to the date.

During the Shidduch Date: What to Do and What to Discuss

Aside from preparing yourself for the date, you also want to prepare for what actually will be done and said on the date.


Where Do You Want to Go?

Picking a venue has a big effect on what the actual shidduch date will be like. You want to choose a place to go that will have enough quiet and privacy for the two of you to talk. But it’s often helpful if there is also some “action” going on around you, which can help spark interesting conversations. Some venues that can provide conversation starters are museums, parks, or historically significant spots. 

For more ideas of places to go on a date in large Jewish communities, you can check out online resources like shidduchshuk.com, which has a helpful listing of dating venues in the NY/NJ area.

What Should I Talk About?

Many people entering shidduchim wonder what they will possibly talk about on a shidduch date. The good news is that you don’t have to do all the talking. Being a good listener is even more important. It shows you value your date’s opinions and are interested to hear what they have to say.


As dates progress, the conversations you have should change and get deeper. Your first few date conversations will focus on getting to know each other and seeing if you enjoy spending time together. But as you keep seeing each other, you will want to discuss your life goals and priorities. Once you are getting close to considering engagement, your conversations should center around the future life you hope to build.

Both for beginning dates and later ones, it’s helpful to have a mental list of topics to talk about. Here are some possible topics you might like to use as conversation starters.


  • Your jobs and careers, what drew you to your field and what drew your date to theirs.
  • Your other interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes. 
  • Interesting experiences you’ve had, such as places you’ve traveled or interesting people you’ve met.
  • How you spend your summers, vacations, and free time.
  • Books, people, or experiences that impacted your life and how.
  • Your friends and family, what your relationships are like with them. 
  • Future goals and dreams and what your top priorities are. (for later dates)

Often, the worry of “what will we talk about” doesn’t last long, as a compatible shidduch will often find that they simply can’t stop talking, there is so much to share and say. However, it isn’t a reason to worry that you aren’t compatible if it isn’t that way. It’s perfectly normal for it to take time to warm up, depending on your own and your date’s personality. If any of you are more introverted, don’t judge the date based on how easily conversation flows.

Shidduch Dating Perspectives to Keep in Mind

Coming prepared with the proper mindset is as important as every other preparation you’ll make for a successful shidduch date. It’s important to have the right shidduch dating perspectives in mind as you head out for a date.


Because dating is the process of building a relationship, it takes time to develop. Taking each date as it comes without having high expectations of the first few dates can help you stay focused. Stay in the present, concentrating on enjoying your date and being in the moment instead of constantly trying to foresee a future with this person.


At the same time, keep in mind your core values and see if your date’s perspectives and attitudes align with yours. You want to be aware enough to identify if the person you are meeting is for you or not, so pay attention to your gut feelings. Are you enjoying this person’s company and personality, and do you feel that your life goals are the same? If something rubs you the wrong way, check if it is truly a deal-breaker or not.

Ask for Help and Clarity in Shidduchim

All the practical preparation in the world, from dressing up or down to picking the perfect place, won’t be helpful without the one ingredient that’s sure to bring success: Siyatta Dishmaya (Heavenly assistance). It’s only with Hashem’s help that your shidduch date will work out in the way that will be most beneficial for you. Hashem knows what true success of this date looks like.


How can you get Hashem’s help to be led in the right direction? The simplest way is to ask for it. Daven to Hashem to get the most out of your date. You can say the tefillah for zivug or daven in your own words, asking for whatever is on your mind.


Emunah that Hashem is in charge comes even before davening, and it can help you feel calm that the outcome of the shidduch date is completely up to Hashem. Keeping this in mind puts the perspective of shidduch meaning and ideas in the right place.


You can also give tzedakah as a zechus that your date go well and that your tefillos be niskabel (accepted). Donating to the tzedakah of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness means tapping into a segulah for shidduch success that has been proven effective for thousands of years. It’s easy to donate to the people who need it most through RMBH Charities, and it will serve as a merit for you as well. 


All your practical, emotional, and spiritual preparations are valuable, as shidduch dating is actually part of the mitzvah of getting married. So as you put effort into davening for a successful shidduch date, or doing a segulah for marriage, keep this perspective in mind. It can lend added significance to your shidduch preparations and with Hashem’s help, each shidduch date will bring you one step closer to finding the right one.  

Read More about Shidduchim: