Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Being a reference

If someone calls you to ask that you be a reference for them, on the one hand, know what you are taking on, but on the other hand do not say no just because it takes a bit of effort.

You might want to discuss with the person calling you what is your impression of their child (or themselves). Or you may ask them if there is something they wish you to say, or not say.

It also pays to learn the halachos of Lashon harah for this particular case: giving information for a shidduch. You may want to go to this blog (February archive - the toungue III) and look up the article about giving information. As mentioned in the above referenced blog if you are asked something you are not sure how to answer tell the person you have to call them back and call a Rov to find out what you should say.

If you accept the responsibility of being a reference, realize that it might take time out of your schedule to properly answer the questions posed. If it is not possible for you to be available when the person calls for references, take their number and tell them you will call back or ask them to call you at a more convenient time. Do not say that you are too busy and cannot help. That is not complementary to the person who gave out your name.

If your name was given without your knowledge and you really cannot take the time to be a reference for your friend, then call your friend and ask him/her to take you off the list.

In short it is a wonderful thing you are doing by giving of your time to help someone get married, but make sure you give only facts and you know exactly what one is allowed to say and what one should not say. Answer questions to the point and not general questions like : "What can you tell me about plony ben/bas ploni."