Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published several times a month.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

When Your Crush Tells You He's Gay

Dear Bro Jo

There were a couple (three) guys at my previous job that I could tell were competing for my attention. It was new to me and I didn't quite know how to handle it. The two who told me their feelings I was only honest with, I just had my eye on one.

"Josh" and I joked around and flirted every day. He's the happiest person I know, being around him just made me feel good. He's personable, he's a hard worker, he's dedicated and just a really comfortable person for me to be around. It got to the point where I looked forward to work just to see him. We often made plans but they always fell through for one reason or another, it bummed me out.

One time, he invited me to go to his favorite restaurant with him to meet up with one of his friends. It wasn't a date but it was fun! He picked me up, came in and introduced himself to my roommate and we made plans to go out, just us. That never happened. Nothing ever happened with Josh and it drove me insane.

Josh accepted another job and everyone in my office only ever teases me about him. Why we aren't dating, what happened, etc. One guy pulled me aside and told me that Josh told him how interested he was in me and encouraged me to be more forward with him. It was news to me since Josh never followed through with anything, I thought he was just being friendly. So I texted Josh to hang out three different times. Each time, he said he wanted to do something but always just left me hanging. I deleted every text he sent me and decided I was done, I'd given him enough chances.

Two days ago, he sent me a text and told me he wanted to hang out. It was fun. I met his friend, I went to his apartment, we played some games and talked for a while. I was really hoping to get a good feel of where John was with everything (especially since everyone constantly told me how much he liked me).

I spoke to him pretty (really) openly that night about myself, my past and where I was at. I told him I had feelings for him and that I'd always been interested in him. He didn't say much and stewed around for quit a while. He showed me his baby book, started opening up a bit before he told me he was bi sexual. I was floored.

It felt like something that I hear about happening to someone else but not to me. I didn't know what to say or think, I hardly knew what I was feeling. He was crying and told me he'd only come out to a select few. I know he was worried about what I thought of him.

I told him I respected him and he's still one of the greatest/happiest guys I know. In all honesty, all I could think about was running away from the conversation and forgetting everything he shared with me but I knew I couldn't. Josh continued to tell me details about how growing up, his dad was the high school principal and his bishop and he felt like he had to live a perfect Mormon life, especially when he graduated from BYU and got a job working for the Church.

He told me he had a mental break down and was in the psych ward of the hospital for about a week a year ago because he couldn't handle the pressure he felt. He told me he's into gay porn and more interested in guys then girls.

I felt embarrassed that I started the evening off having a massive crush on this guy. I know the stats, I know how many guys are into porn and I know how many (in my ward at least) struggle with same gender attraction, I just never thought I would be facing it like I was, wrapped up in a conversation with no idea how to direct.

All he wants is love and acceptance. Multiple times, he asked me what I thought he should do, to which, I have no answer. I don't know what to say to him. At first, I wasn't even sure I could handle being friends with him. But now, I know he needs me to be his friend. I just don't know how to be his friend!

Please help.

- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

You can be someone's friend without agreeing with everything they think and do.  Simply treat "Josh" as Christ would:  with kindness and caring.

For the record, "the stats" aren't as high as you may think.  Gay guys aren't "1 in 10" like certain media outlets claim (it may be true in their small slice of the world, perhaps) more like 1 in a thousand . . . if that.

Being effeminate, liking traditionally "girlie" things (like, what I guess, fashion and musical theater?) doesn't mean that a guy is homosexual.  Nor does simply confessing that another guy is "good looking".  (That could just mean that a guy is honest and comfortable with his own heterosexuality.)

Some people do struggle with same-gender attraction.  Some people embrace it.  And some people have learned it, even training themselves (or having been trained by others - "groomed", if you will) to respond to same-sex images and activities in a particular way.  (It happens Way More than certain segments of society want people to know.)

I have no way of knowing where your friend falls, but it does seem as though he is accepting, perhaps even declaring, that he wants to act out homo-sexually.

That's his right to do so.  (So long as he isn't hurting, or grooming, anyone else.)

He's not an animal.  He still has agency.  And that includes what he chooses to do with his body.  (One can be "same-gender attracted" and choose not to identify as a homosexual, partake of gay-porn, or partake in homosexual sex and sex acts.  Those are choices that people make.)

(Tangent note:  rape, including statutory rape, is not a sex act; it's a violation.  Having been raped by someone of the same gender does of itself mean that one is a homosexual.)

Gay or straight this guy clearly suffers from a pornography addiction, and it will mess-up his future relationships.

I think he needs help with that, and recommend the Church's Addiction Recovery Program.  If he truly wants your advice about what he should do I think you should recommend that he talk to his Bishop and get enrolled.  The choices he's making are clearly bringing him a lot of pain, and mending his relationship with his Savior can help him.

Same-gender attraction may be the burden he has to bear in this life; it may mean that to more closely follow Christ he'll need to choose a life of celibacy.  That certainly would be more healthy than the alternative he may be considering.

Lastly, my advice to you is that while you're right to maintain his friendship and show him love and support, you also need to realize for yourself that it would be wrong to allow him to be an anchor in your life.  Your association with Josh cannot impede your own spiritual progression, not because of his sexual preference, but because he seems to be dumping all of his problems at your door step. 

Being his friend, being a decent person, does not mean he's entitled to treat you as his 24-7 personal therapist.

Don't stop dating other guys, and don't expect Josh to magically be a different person one day.

That's not fair to either of you.

Let Josh be Josh, and you be you.

- Bro Jo

Friday, February 16, 2018

Is It Possible to Be Too Good Looking?

Hello Bro Jo!

I am a Sister from Canada and would like to ask you a question.

This has been bothering for a long time now- actually, it has always bothered since I was 15.. and I am now 19.

It seems like people just start not liking me because of my looks?

And to that I wanna give an emphasis on girls.. whenever I'm around them, anyone whose in my age bracket, I would always be stared at . . . or even glared at.. and sometimes be ignored and completely not honour my presence whenever I'm around. I'm not saying I'm hot or whatever, because I don't think so. I think I am just as normal as everybody is. But I keep myself well-presented, and loves to dress up, while still having the modest standards that the Church requires- and I am very serious about this. I've tried so many things, I'm always nice, I hangout and sit only with girls whenever there's an Institute Friday Devo sessions, and I still get the same response.

To this day it bothers me- and I am afraid of telling to someone. Because there's no one to tell it to. And I am very grateful to be able to talk to you, someone I know can understand.

There's this one time, it was my first time ever being in Institute, and there was a large crowd, many guys, and a good portion of girls too. When I walked in, for some reason I caught everybody's attention. I thought of this of as because I am the new girl, and so I guess everyone's just like curious or something. Then, when I sat down among the other girls that were there already, there's this one Asian (and I think he's gay, not that it bothers me, because I know Heavenly Father loves all of his children, and I have no reason not to love my fellow siblings), who suddenly just walked away right after staring at me for a long time. Like he didn't want me sitting with his friends there. Completely disappointed me- and I keep blaming myself for it.. and I still don't know why I blame myself for it. I was dressed modestly, jeans, a jacket and combat boots and that was it. No unnecessary clothing or whatever.

And again the exact same reaction is what I always get whenever I enter the room. I'm so confused and agitated.

I've asked many non-LDS friends about this, mostly girls, and they tell me that I just have this aura within me, that even just by walking, I get everyone's attention. And I don't understand.


They also said that I have this kind of face where its fierce, even said 'like model-type', and someone that can be dressed up literally like anything, and still look good.

Again, how?

I don't see it. Really I don't.

And so I think my looks has to do with how people around me react towards having me around?

Yes, I value my looks, and take care of it, but if not being liked, not having girl friends, being ignored all the times, then I'd rather not have it. I don't want it. People say that I probably have a lot of confidence in me, because of my looks. But it actually makes me the opposite way- it makes me so insecure, and even think of myself as someone whose unworthy to be loved because people just never try to like me?

I don't like being stared at, not even by guys. I don't want extra attention.... it literally makes me feel like I'm a walking temptation and I don't want it.. It feels like a curse. And I don't know what I'm doing wrong?

Please help me, I am so confused.. and I think dressing fashionably has to do with it too.

Could you please give a do's and don'ts of modest clothing?

In today's generation, are leggings okay?

I wear fitted leggings (not the thin ones where it could show some skin, but I wear a liner inside, then leggings to make it extra modest), then usually pair it with a nice blouse?

I wear minimal make up, and keep my hair literally just as it is everyday.

Please please help me, I feel like I am inadequate to be around any LDS single adults, because I am always afraid of how they're going to react to my 'looks' I guess. Again it's not looks for me, it's more like a curse.

Thank you,

- Looks

Dear L,

Perhaps if you stop focusing on how you look others will as well.  (Though I have to tell you that being attractive Is Not a curse, it's a blessing.  Yours may be less of a problem of appearance and more a problem of attitude, namely . . . a lack of humility.)

I think one should always do their best to look their best.  But once you step out the door you should be focused on other things.

There will always be people, inside the Church and out, who are petty and superficial and unkind.  Instead of worrying about that, focus on being of service to everyone.  Focusing on that will help you to feel better and open the hearts of others so that they can see that you're so much more than they may think.

And for the record, no.  No matter how thick or thin, wearing leggings (or whatever you want to call them) without at least a skirt over them Is Not modest.

Leggings go under something else.  Leggings are not an alternative to pants.

I heard of an athlete this week who, upon appearing without clothes in a magazine, proclaimed that women do not need to dress modestly to be respected.

That is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Hanging Out VS Dating

Dear Bro Jo,

I really enjoy your blog! You give some great advice, and I appreciate how you tell it like it is. I wish dating could be more like that...Instead, I always feel like it's a guessing game with lack of honest communication, and dancing around issues at hand.

First off, I'll give a little background about myself...

I am 20 and 7 months old (if we are being exact haha) and I was born and raised a member of the LDS church. I was born and raised in a densely populated area of AZ, where there is almost an LDS bubble for members of the Church.

People are always concerned with what other people think.

Most girls I have talked with in observing the YSA wards here agree it's like watching a bunch of people caught up in a beauty competition or straight from the set of The Bachelor. Yet, nothing changes because everyone feels like they have to keep up, right? The girls all feel like they have to be fake tanned, perfectly put together all the time, and unnaturally bleached blonde.

The thing is that this area I grew up in just consists of a lot of beautiful people. Sounds weird, I know. Everything is centered on the outside of how a person looks and how people view one another. Because of this, all the single adults let their looks go to their head and they feel like they need to be super picky on searching for this male/female model they've conjured up in their heads. Not to mention someone who additionally is a righteous, worthy, and faithful member of the church.

 As a result, guys don't ask girls out because they are always looking for something better. Also, girls turn down guys for the same reason, therefore discouraging the guys from dating even more so. It is a cycle I suppose. It feels kinda like being in high school surrounded by all those awfully exclusive social circles all over again....bleh.

In addition, dating is viewed in a totally skewed concept. It's like going on a date or asking someone out equates to committing to a relationship. And heaven forbid anyone would ask a girl on a second date! Oh the horror, stop the presses! It would be as if they've proposed :). It is read to mean more than simply "getting to know someone you think may be interesting". Mix in picky men with commitment issues and "Houston, we have a problem".

All this aside, I have been trying to break this way of life everyone is aware that we have going on here. I try not to be too judgmental, try being social in talking to people I normally wouldn't, being accepting of people, etc. It's the whole dating thing that is hard. I know that it is not wise for women to ask the men out on dates. They need to feel like they are fulfilling that manly obligation or whatever. :) so you are supposed to flirt and get them to try and ask you out.
Because I have been striving to be more social and not worry so much abt what people think of me, etc. I have done a little better in meeting more people and it's been great.

My love life is practically non-existent. I have never been in a relationship (let alone a second date) and never been kissed. Everyone always seems shocked and puzzled by this...which is even more annoying.

Most of my dating life has been set up..I feel like I have dating experience, but at the same time I don't. Idk if that makes sense.

I recently went on a blind date. My close friend (we'll call him Bill) kept going on for a whole year about his friend (we'll call him Rob) who was on his mission. Bill thought Rob and I would be great together and so forth. He told me a lot abt him and showed me pics and stuff. I knew it was silly to get all crazy abt it. I told him that if he wanted to set us up on a date then I would definitely go and give it a shot. 3 months after Rob got back from the mission, Bill got Rob to call and ask me out on a double date with Rob's cousin who would ask a date too. It was a lot of fun! I feel like it went well. Rob was a gentlemen, and I found myself really interested in him by the end. I thought we had great laughs, chemistry, and conversation flow. Also, him having the cutest smile ever didn't hurt either ;). I got home really hoping that he would ask me out again.

A week later I still hadn't heard from him.

Yes, I know it was only a week...but I was starting to wonder about him! I was with my girlfriend at her house on a Saturday evening, and she convinced me to text him and say hello. I did, and we had a great conversation.

We flirted and it was great!

I found out he had broke his leg playing racquetball. I asked if he wanted me to bring him anything from an ice cream shop nearby, and he responded really well to me and said he would've loved that, but he was at his cousin's house. Then, another night Bill threw a small group game night. He said he had invited Rob. I went and loved seeing him again and it was a really fun time. Days after that, Bill said that Rob had told him that we should get a group together to go see a movie we all wanted to see. An extra ticket came available in the group that I had going to see the movie, so Bill said I needed to invite Rob. I invited him and he seemed happy to come. We texted further about it and it was great.

We had fun at the movie, and one of the girls in the group had gotten in a car accident on the way there due to the heavy rain. Accidents were a topic of our conversation, and the rain didn't let up after the movie. After I got home, I texted him to ask if he made it home in one piece. He said he had fun and thanked me for inviting him. We had similar group activities over the course of the weeks after in which I invited him (he came) and once he texted me about a get together that he heard I was hosting.

He told me he wanted to come but then at the last minute we found out only a few girls were coming, so he playfully suggested that I should just make it a girls night and he was going to spend time with his family. He added that he would be at the next one for sure. I agreed with his suggestion and told him I would postpone it for the next evening. More people RSVP'd the next day and so I messaged him during the party the next evening to see if he was coming. He had an exam to study for and an essay so he apologized and he couldn't come. However, he texted me a couple days later to ask me how it went and apologized he couldn't be there. We talked more and it was great. Then thanksgiving came and he was out of town, but I just hung out with him again because a group was going to see a new movie. I invited him to go when he got back in town and it was a lot of fun.

All in all, I guess I am just trying to figure out why he hasn't asked me out on another date, and what he is thinking about me. I have made it clear by all my actions that I am interested in him, and I flirt with him. He seems to respond well and still want to do things with me. What is he thinking?! Is he even interested in me? So confused with this guessing game. I am starting to wonder if he just wants to be friends. I never wanted to get him comfortable with just knowing he could always hang out with me and not ask me out in order to see me again, but everyone kept telling me that it was good and that being friends first and hanging out was great. They say that if he keeps wanting to come to things when I invite him then it is a good sign. Altogether since the date we have hung out three times and texted. I know he is busy and works/in school. Idk though I think I will stop inviting him to things and step back to see if he will maybe ask me out. This is what I should do right? Guessing games are no fun in dating!

Thank you for your time and patience...I am so sorry that this is so darn long!!

- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

Why should he ask you out?

You've arranged things so he can date you without having to Plan, Pick Up or Pay; he doesn't have to make any effort to see you, call you or text you because you do all of that for him!

Despite all of your efforts, you've allowed your "friend" (who sounds like one of a million confused and lazy Mormon guys to me) to coax you into perpetuating the same culture you and I are trying desperately to fix.

All is not lost!

You need to set "Rob" straight, and I think you need to go through "Bill" to do it.  Tell Bill that you like Rob, and you'd love to go out on some dates with him, but you're done being the man in this situation.  Bill needs to tell his buddy that if he wants to see you, if he wants to actually Get To Know You (can't really do that in a group - why people don't get that I have NO IDEA) then he should ask you out.

And then cut him off.

Rob will either take the bait or not.  And if he doesn't, well then, he's too dumb to date you.  You deserve better than that.


Quick story.

One of the Jo Boys was recently in an Elders' Quorum Lesson where the president admonished the members of his Quorum.  "Brethren, the semester is about to end.  There are lots of great sisters in this ward that have never been asked out; let's get that done before they all leave for the holidays".  So my dutiful son, who has had an average of two dates a week since coming home from his mission, followed the direction of his priesthood leader and set up four dates for the upcoming weekend.

The problem?

On the Wednesday following the admonishment the EQP called my son and said "I still don't have a date for this weekend; I was thinking a bunch of us could get together and ask out a bunch of the girls".

My son's reply?

"That's not a date, bro.  That's a group activity, you know, what priests and Laurels do."

Any wonder that EQP is still single in his late 20's?

Dates, Serious Single Dates, are one on one.  Guys need to live it, and girls need to enforce it.

I think the idea I gave you for Rob will work.  Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.

Good luck!

- Bro Jo

PS:  Believe me - this is not exclusive to your area.  The issues you're having are Church-wide, world-wide.

- Bro Jo