Ever since I joined the B"Y like school system, I have heard that when in shidduchim people should not look for love, but rather, they should only concentrate on compatibility. In order to avoid being "blinded by love" the schools teach that a huge amount of referencing should go into the shidduch to determine whether or not it is even worth "wasting" time on. And only after all the spying is done, and ok'd by a source (usually parents), can the two persons go out. I found (through socialization, I am in no way part of this wacko shidduch system), that in order to be "ok'd" one must really really "play the game".
John Locke was an English philosopher, and he said that children are born "tabula rasa" or "blank slate". In the frum community, the kids are born in a "game state." And with a status already. If their parents are "modern" they are on the bottom, and need more room to grow. While, Locke meant, "blank slate" as in behavior or good/bad of the child, the frum community, tends to label the child in the "apple doesn't fall far from the tree" slate. As in, the behavior of the child, is already pre-determined by parents, schools, camps and bungalow colonies the parents will choose, as opposed to the natural curiosity that encourages children to ask questions, which encourage them to act in their own matter, based on the responses they are given to these questions.
The "game state" the children are in, has multiple parts. The first part ends with "marriage". In order to "win" or "complete" this part, one has to finish school (all grades up to 12th) with good merit (no suspensions). Then, the child needs to complete one year of study in Israel, or an institution somewhere else with an Israeli name (such as Ma'alot) so that one can conveniently forget to mention they were not actually studying in Israel. After the year of seminary is completed, that is when the game begins to enter bumpy waters. In order to get married, one must be referenced. Referencing determines if the girl/guy went to the "right" school, for the potential shidduch to go through. If what the parents determined as the "right" school, bungalow colony, camp, seminary/yeshiva, and shul with the "right" hashkafa does not "fit", then the shidduch is deemed not shayach and is thrown out the window (probably literally with all the pollution in frummy neighborhoods). Making sure everything is "right" is also part of the game, and unfortunately for many people, it's the parents that make these decisions for them. Some girls, in Prospect for example, may "frum up" in Israel, and come back deemed "wrong" for the type of guy they now decide they want. Or a girl from B"Y of Boro Park, may develop brain capacity, and realize that kollel isn't for her, and then be deemed "too frum" for the guys who are actually not yeshivish. The "game state" does not take into consideration that life, is after all, NOT a game, but rather tends to ignore that very interesting scenario. If a girl, for example, from B"Y decides she does not want what was deemed "right" for her by her school, which her parents chose, she then has to marry a guy with the same background (ie, went to all the "right" schools, and decided kollel was, infact, not right for him) as well. This method is very simple, because it all adds up to an easy matching game. This method also prevents frummies from really looking at life, as more than a mere "game." The occasional free-thinkers, that actually would marry BT's or those from different backgrounds, are those who tend to be seen as the "meshugas" in the system. They are unexplainable, or just "settlers" (people who were "desperate", and had to look "outside")
The ultimate end of the game, is death. The game is like this never ending cycle of children, shidduch, grandchildren, shidduch, great-grandchildren, etc. The game is almost pathetic to think about, but unfortunately, it is the the unspoken existence of the frum community. While, I do feel that marriage should be an important goal in life, I feel it is more than just a game of "match" in "compatibility" that parents put their children through, but rather, a "match" that should be taken seriously, and not just about school and seminary information. Life is more than just a game, and until frummies realize it, they'll be blaming their problems on "crises" that do not exist. Sorry, but your kid is probably NOT at risk because they were friends with their secular neighbor, but because they don't want to find themselves in a loveless "compatible" marraige, where the only thing they have to discuss is finding the "right" schools for their kids...