Questions to Ask a Reference About a Prospective Date

These lists include some questions that are specific to Lubavitch women, you can tweak them for your own needs.

Design questions that touch on what is important to the single.

  • If you are working on behalf of a single, ask them what they would like you to find out. Form questions to that end. 

Opening the conversation.

  • Introduce yourself, using your name.  (You might text in advance.)
  • “Is now a good time to talk about X?” “When would be a good time to talk for about a few minutes about X?”  Respect their time, keep the conversation brief and on target; you do not have to ask every reference all these questions.
  • “I am looking into this shidduch for my son (or whomever).  Can I tell you a little about him, so we can make  this conversation as productive as possible?”  This is an opportunity for networking; even if this shidduch idea doesn’t pan out, they may have another idea.  Additionally, it makes them feel more comfortable sharing.  Lastly, they can help you determine if this shidduch idea is compatible.

The context in which the reference knows the person.

  • “How do you know her?”
  • If s/he last knew her more than 2-3 years ago, look for a more recent reference; people change during these years.
  • Only ask questions that are relevant to the context in which they know each other (ex: do not ask a boss about social life or family).

General tips.

  • Ask for examples, not hypothetical scenarios.  “Tell me about a time when ….”
  • Ask for further explanation. “When you say [independent], what does that look like? Please give me some other words so I can really get a sense of what you are describing.”
  • Ask your questions in ways that the answers will be helpful. Don’t ask leading questions that encourage a specific answer.
  • Ask proxy questions instead of direct ones: “When you were working together, how did he react when things don’t go his way?” rather than the more direct “How does he deal with frustration?”
  • Make it easier for them to answer uncomfortable questions. “I hope this won’t make you feel too uncomfortable, but I feel I must ask you whether there is any basis to what I heard that he is unmotivated?”

Values/ Hashkafa.

  • “Please describe her values and hashkafa.”  Depending on the man for whom you are doing research, you might ask specific questions. 
  • “What does she do on Shabbos?” “Level of kosher?”
  • Davening, learning, farbrengens, going to Ohel, mivtzoim.
  • Attitude to Yiddishkeit and Chasidus.


  • “When it comes to middos, which 3 middos highlight who she is?  Some might be: generosity, integrity, kindness, respect, always growing, responsible, reliable, dependable.”  Ask for stories.
  • Ask questions specifically related to the traits he really would like in a spouse. Similarly, ask questions about the characteristics that he really doesn’t want.


  • “Tell me a little about the family.”
  • Shalom  Bayis, reasonable expectations from the children, involvement in the community, trauma that might have impacted her.
  • “What was their family life like when she was growing up?”  Ask for examples.
  • “What is their Shabbos table like?”  This can give you some indication of religiosity and community-mindedness.
  • “Are they a close family?”  “Do they do things together?  What type of things?”
  • “Do they get along with other mechutanim?”
  • Be realistic about your own family.

How does she present herself (dress and behave in public)?

  • “Tell me about how she holds herself. What does she look like?”
  • “What is her style? Classy, chilled, funky, artsy, what would you say is her style?”
  • “Please describe her level of tznius.”  Be sure you are clear on what is described to you.

Goals/ Visions for life.

  • “What are her plans for life?”  “Does she see herself on shlichus?  Working? Pursuing a career?”
  • “What is she doing toward that?”
  • (“Where does she hope to live?”)


  • “Does she have any medical (physical or mental) conditions?”  “How does she maintain it?”  “If relevant, can we speak to her doctor?”
  • Do not dismiss a viable shidduch because she has a medical condition. Learn more about it first. 

What makes her ‘her’?

  • “What drives her?” Ask for examples.
  • “What are 3 words to describe her?” Ask for examples.
  • “What does she like to when/if she had free time?”

Human weaknesses.

  • “I have heard that she is [trait]. Why might someone say that? What does it look/ feel like?” Ask for examples.
  • “Everyone is human. What might be something that her husband would have to ‘live with’?”  “What does it look/ feel like?” Ask for examples.

As appropriate.

These questions should only be asked to someone who knows her well.

  • “What qualities do you know she is looking for in a husband?”
  • “What are absolute deal breakers for her?”
  • “In  your opinion, do you think she [would respect his excitement for learning in his free time]?”  You can ask about something that is important to him.
  • Similarly, “Is there anything that is important to her that she would really want her husband to accept or respect?”
  • “Who is she similar to?  Who in the community does she remind you of?”

Other words you might use throughout the conversation.

  • “Should I be reading between the lines here?”
  • “What do you mean by that?”
  • “Tell me more.”
  • “What does that look/feel like?”  “How does that play out?”

When summing up.

  • If you would like to speak with others: “Who else might know her?”
  • “So what I heard is that X,Y,Z. Did I get that right?”
  • “Is there anything else I should be asking about?”
  • “Thank you for your time.”

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