Whether you live in a small town or a big city, you can almost always use “Jewish Geography” to help vet a new prospect you meet on JDate. For the most part, everyone knows everyone in the Jewish community, and whether it’s by one or six degrees, you will often be able to get a thumbs up or thumbs down on someone before you even meet. However, discovering someone in common can be a blessing and a curse.

Social Media Strikes Back

When I met Brian on JDate, I was so impressed with his email to me, his “About Me” paragraphs and, of course, his pictures. Before agreeing to our first date, I looked him up on Facebook and saw a number of mutual friends. None of them were super-close friends of mine, but I reached out anyway to make sure I wasn’t going on a date with a total player. That’s when Danielle told me that he was a “Grade-A Jerk.” Her reason why? She and Brian had briefly dated, then he broke up with her and quickly began dating a different mutual friend. Apparently, he was making his way through the single Jewish girl Rolodex in our city. I took her at her word and never got back in touch with him to confirm our plans and felt a sense of satisfaction knowing that I was getting back at him for hurting Danielle.

Six months later, I ran into a cute guy at a Jewish singles event. We started talking and really hit it off. Where had this guy been? He was great! Eventually, something clicked and he told me that he remembered me from JDate. Huh? He didn’t look even vaguely familiar to me, but after he reminded me of our email exchange, I realized this was the same Brian! He asked why I never replied to his date query, and I told him that it turns out that we had lots of friends in common — including ones he dated — and it didn’t feel right. He understood and we kept flirting and made plans for a first date, but I began to doubt myself.

Danielle got burned by Brian, but that happens in dating. It sucks, but isn’t that what we are all doing? Aren’t we all out there looking for the right person and dating around until that person comes along at the right time? Why had I judged him and allowed someone else’s experience to affect my dating life?  Could Brian and I have been six months into a relationship by this point had I not ever asked Danielle her opinion?

Circle Of Trust

Jack Byrnes may have been onto something when he coined the Circle of Trust idea in the movie “Meet the Parents.” I should have given Brian a chance before seeking the opinion of someone so far removed from my life. I was wrong, and I apologized to Brian. Danielle was upset about how she and Brian ended, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t have been right for me. It’s not always smart to hear a mutual friend’s opinion (especially someone who is more of an acquaintance) if you haven’t yet formed an opinion yourself. Go on a first date or even a number of dates before reaching out to your tribe to get their feedback.

In my previous column, “What To Do When Your Loved Ones Don’t Like Your New Lover,” I discussed accepting other’s influence when you are caught up in the throes of lust, but there is a difference when listening to those who may not have your best interests at heart. You know which people: jilted ex-lovers, friends of jilted ex-lovers and those who simply don’t want others to be happy since they are not. If your sibling or best friend is telling you to run as fast as you can in other direction after revealing your new prospect’s identity, that’s one thing. But the point here is to consider the source. Everyone is going to have a dating history, so use Jewish Geography to do background checks, but use it to your advantage and not as a hindrance. 

You may also be interested in Relationship Reality Check: How To See Through The Haze Of New Love

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