Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (with occasional additional posts, too).

This is column is just one guy's opinion, and while he does his best to keep what he thinks, says and writes in-line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Bro Jo is not a spokesman or authority for the LDS Church. (And Sister Jo thinks you should know that he's sometimes wrong, and often way too opinionated for his own good.)

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Working Around Your Challenges

Dear BroJo,

I have the commom problem hyperhidrosis, that is, the extreme sweatiness of the hands. This is especially bad in summer, but can be bad at any time. I'm almost 16, and I already have a date set up to go dancing. I'm worried about this, and about dating in the future. It's hard not to feel unattractive when you're almost perpetually sweaty in almost any social situation. I'm basically out of ideas. What can I do?

Feeling unattractive



Dear Feeling,

Bummer.

There are some things you can do. Have you spoken to your doctor?

(For those that want to learn a little more, about hyperhidrosis click HERE.)

You need to realize that everyone has something that makes them feel self conscious or unattractive (I have something similar to what you have, but with my feet. My feet can sweat on a cold day even if I'm not wearing shoes! It's a constant battle to keep them from smelling bad.)

In addition to treatment, there are ways you can "date around" your condition. Instead of holding hands, take the guy by the arm. When dancing rest your hands on his shoulders.

And be upfront with you date.

"Hey, I'm just warning you now, I've got really sweaty hands." And perhaps add something endearing and funny like "but I promise I'll smell extra pretty to make up for it".

And then do. (Check out the Facebook Fan Page Note HERE that talks about smells guys like.)

Let me know how it goes!

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do I Do?

Dear Bro Jo,

What a great column for us teenagers and I’m sure parents as well. I have found so much solace in your advice to others who seem to be in the same situation as myself.

I’m not writing because I necessarily see this as a problem, I’m writing for advice. I’m an 18 year old girl, member of the church. I’ve dated many boys, some LDS, some not, and I most definitely see the difference. I want to date members so they can be prepared to take me to the temple if our relationship progresses to that.

I met a boy online through a Mormon networking site. It was completely safe, in the manner which my family and I handled the meeting up. (My sister also met her husband online.) We’ve known each other for a year, but recently started talking about marriage about a month or so ago. I have confided in Heavenly Father the feelings of my heart. I received an answer that these feelings are true and right. This boy has done the same and received the same answer. I have not, however, gotten an answer concerning our questions of marriage or a serious relationship, for that matter. Perhaps it’s too early to be wondering about these things?

I have a year of high school left. Here’s the big kicker that gets everyone. He is 22. Almost exactly 4 years older than me. He also lives 2000 miles away in another state.

We talk about marriage constantly and feel it is the right path for our relationship. He has let me know that I can date other guys, since I’m still young, and he does not want to take my teenage years away from me. I want to be with only him, though.

My parents and I have talked it over and they feel that when the time comes to graduate high school, I will know the right thing to do. I know this, as well, and so does the boy.

He is a new convert to the church. He will be a member for one year in December. I played a role in his conversion of answering questions for him and confirming my beliefs. He cannot go on a mission because of family issues. I always dreamed of marrying a returned missionary, a member his whole life, with a strong LDS family. It’s strange not having what I dreamed of, yet

I feel this is right.

What are some steps I need to take to make positive this is the right path for my life? Am I so in love that I can’t help but think of these things or is it really the right thing for me? He wants to propose as soon as he can, he just doesn’t want to scare my parents off.

-Love Struck


Dear Struck,

I think you're doing all of the things I'd recommend, but I also think your inability to see the problems here are clear indication that a) there are, and b) you're not ready to be engaged.

1) Keep dating other guys. Go to Homecoming. Go to prom. Go to Church Dances. Don't act like you're engaged or married. You're still at "Casual Group Dating" age, so be that.

2) No unsupervised visits. I know it may sound ridiculous, to suggest that the two of you should be chaperoned, but you should. If you are on the path towards marriage then Satan will work very hard to keep you from being Temple Worthy. Add to that the temptations that come from being so far apart for so long . . . well . . . I think you understand what I'm saying.

3) Keep talking to him about the Church, specifically standing up for his beliefs. A 22-year old man should be able to make his own decisions about whether or not to go on a mission. Honor your parents, but put God first. Realize that if they're the reason he won't go on a mission (which, to be honest, I don't think is the whole story) then how is he ever going to tell them that he's getting married in the Temple and they can't go unless they become Temple Recommend holding members?

4) Whether it worked out for your Sister or not, remember that the internet is a shield; we don't really get to know people via technology. We get to know them in person. So take it slow. I don't think you should accept a proposal until you've graduated. In fact, generally speaking, I think couples in your situation (age, schooling, Church experience) need to do some traditional dating before discussing marriage. After you graduate the two of you should live much closer (he's 22, let him move near your parents home), go on three months of regular dating before a proposal is proffered or accepted. Proximity can reveal many things.

Keep me posted,

- Bro Jo

Monday, July 26, 2010

How to Steer a Creeper Away

Dear Bro Jo,

I wanted some advice on this situation I'm in. I hope you can help! Here goes!

I work at a bakery next door to a Mexican restaurant. A lot of times my coworkers and I will quickly go next door and order some Mexican food to-go, and then eat it back at our work. Recently, one of the guys who works next door has showed some interest in me. But I definitely do NOT feel the same way. I'm about to turn 20 and he's 35!! We haven't really talked much, but he doesn't know English very well, so it's hard to talk at all to him.

He wrote me a note telling me that he likes me, and wants to take me out to coffee sometime; he wrote his cell number down too. I haven't been over to the restaurant for a couple days since this has happened. I think it's really weird that he's so much older than me, and I don't think he's a member of the church (especially if he's asking me out to coffee).
I don't want to go out with him, but I don't know how to tell him this. Or if I should tell him. He didn't really ask me out, he just expressed the desire to do so, expecting me to call him.

Point-blank: What do I do??!!


--Creeped-Out Almost Non-Teen



Dear Creeped-Out,

So . . . what is it?

That he's 35?

That he's from a different country?

That he likes you?!?

Look, you don't have to say anything yet. Simply not going to the restaurant may help.

Or it may just delay the inevitable (him asking you on a date).

When he does (and I'm honestly not sure if he will - he seems determined but the note seems a touch more cowardly than romantic . . .) that's when you need to say something.

And what you say should go like this: "Thank you, but no."

And that's it.

Don't embellish. Don't apologize. Don't try to make him feel better. Just say no.

Now he'll probably push for a reason.

We guys are dumb that way.

We think that if you tell us why we can fix the problem.

So when he pushes, do both of you a favor, and tell him "you seem to be a nice guy, and I'm flattered, but I just don't feel that way about you".  Don't give him something to fix.

And don't suggest that the two of you should "just be friends" - as a guy he knows that's impossible.

Don't make an excuse like "I can't because I've got something else to do" - because we guys just here that as "but after I've washed my hair every day for the next four years I may change my mind about you so please keep hitting on me".

Bro Jo's Five Be's of turning someone down:

Be honest. Be simple. Be clear. Be direct. Be kind.

And you can't run away from every creepy guy that may like you.  I'm not saying to date them, Heavens No!

No girl should date a guy that honestly freaks her out.

It's just that you should be allowed to eat at any decent place you want to.

Plus, let's face it, there's just too many creepy guys to hide from them all.

- Bro Jo

Friday, July 23, 2010

Keep Smilin'!

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm a 14 year old girl and I am having some boy trouble. There's this guy I had a crush on, (he is LDS too) and I would see him smile at me and I would smile at him. We never talked before, but my brother knew him. He would always stare at me and smile.

Then, I never really saw him for a while.

Then all of the sudden I saw him and started liking him all over again. And then, it went back to the whole 'staring and smiling' thing again. Suddenly, I find out he just broke up with a girlfriend he had and he's ONLY 14! I also found out that this boy has already had a couple of girlfriends. It really hurts me that a LDS guy like him wouldn't following a prophet's teachings.

For me, I'm really strict on my standards, people always make fun of me for being modest and not dating yet. He's a really nice guy, my brother told me. Lately, I have been trying to get over this guy but I can't seem to. Should I give up on this guy? If so, how do I get over him? Am I too young to be worrying about guys now? Thanks for your help, Bro Jo :)

-LDS girl


Dear LDSG,

This is going to sound harsh, but seriously! You're only 14! You've never dated this guy . . . he's not your boyfriend . . . there's nothing to "get over" or give up on.

You're not too young to like guys, that's OK.

But yeah, you are too young to be either burning bridges or worrying. The guy had a girlfriend. It's not like he was a lying, thieving, porn addict . . . I wouldn't refuse to ever dance with him at another Church Dance simply because he openly liked a girl that liked him back.

It's OK for you to like him. It's OK for you to think he's cute. It's OK to be at the same get-togethers and smile at him.

It's NOT a good idea to be his new girlfriend, so stay away from that.

Keep to your standards - you're doing the right thing!

When you're both 16, if he's not a bad guy, and he asks you to go on a Casual Group Date or two, by all means go.

Maybe your brother can be part of the group.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cheese Wants to Talk

Hey Bro Jo!!

I consider you a wise man, that's why I'm asking for your help in this situation, and I know you know a lot concerning this matter.

Well to make it short, there is this guy at my school. He is in a couple of my classes, I never talk to him even though we've been 3 years in the same school, when we have the same classes I never talk to him, maybe because he is always with the guys, at my school guys and girl sit in opposite sides from each other( not because we are forced to but it's like some sort of magnetic rejection when it comes choosing seats), he is always hanging out with all the boys in my grade but I've never seen him out of the comfort zone of his friends, because boys and girl sit in opposite sides.

I never had the chance to talk to him, and that’s why I’m afraid that if I do talk to him, it would be plain awkward and he( and his friend) will assume that I like him and that I have a big crush on him, which maybe I do a little but I just don’t want any kind of rumors to be spread, besides I'm also afraid to scare him off, not because I’m mean or ugly, but it’s just because they spent so much time with guys that if a girl comes up to them it’s like they are gonna die, one day I made a presentation, and give out candy when I went to give candy to him he look away from me and didn’t say thank you for the candy, he was like the only one that did that, my friends say that maybe he is too shy to even look at me, and is true, I try to make eye contact with him and he always looks at me but then look away quickly. that’s why I don’t know how to act in this situation, usually the boys I talk to are really outgoing or very humorous, also I don’t know if I would have an opportunity to talk to him.

You will wonder why do you like him then??

Well from all the non-member guys I know he is the nicest and smart, and cute XD. I don’t want to date him( well I actually wish I could) but I just want to talk to him, I just want to know him a bit, before the school year ends, I don’t want to talk to him the next year and discover he is one of the nicest person I've ever met and regret I didn't talk to him before, and I want to talk to him because I don't want to look back in the future and hit my head against the wall for not having the guts to talk to him. Do you see my point??

I usually don't get attracted to non-members; it’s rarely, so I think this guy is something.

Well hope this makes sense.

Cheese


Hello, Cheesey!

(I suspect there's more than one of you . . .)

So you like this boy and you want to talk to him, but the opportunity just isn't presenting itself. You'd go up to him, but he's always with his guy friends, and that's intimidating. Plus you're afraid that if you're TOO forward the other kids in your school might say things about you that aren't very nice.

That's quite the dilemma.

You could always look for those openings when he's by himself so you can go up and say hello, but they could be non-existent, so let's look at your other options.

One is to put your Wing Girls to work. (I still haven't settled on what to call the gal version of "wing man".) You need a group of girls to go up with you to the group of guys and all start talking to each other, with your girls knowing in advance that you're trying to talk to this boy. They provide the distraction for his pals while you get to chat with him.

Another option is to try and get him to come to you. That can be scary, or fun, depending on your skill level, shyness, and point of view. Some of these flirting techniques may be best saved for when you're a bit older, but you can smile, blink, toss your hair when he looks at you, and (one of my favorites) the nose crinkle (you do have to be careful that it comes across as a smile and not a "you smell bad" look).

You can even motion for him to come sit by you, but I have a suspicion that all this stuff maybe a couple years down the road.

So you'll need to be patient.

Start with smiling. Look but don't stare. If he catches you looking, look away quickly, then glance back. When you see each other say "hello". The key is to help him feel comfortable with you so that when he's ready to talk he'll know you're not so intimidating.

Have fun!

- Bro Jo

Monday, July 19, 2010

Friends, Boyfriends, and Self Worth

Dear Brother Jo,

First of all I would like to say THANK YOU (times 10) for helping me, although not directly, it really does help :) Secondly, I need help with two things. One is dating and the other is friendship.

Okay so I'm starting with the dating. There is this guy in my ward (My friends call him He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named because of my Harry Potter obsession and the fact a lot of people in my ward go to my school) he just turned 17. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is really very sweet and funny...when we're together! Our ward, however awesome, is not a firm believer in "combined Youth activities" we have about....6 (including Youth Conference and when we all get together to plan/pack for Youth Conference).

But when I do talk to him, like on Facebook, he just makes me smile. And yes I know this is incredibly cheesy but he makes my day when I talk to him. And our personalities really match, I guess. I'm spazzy and like to be with friends and laugh and all that fun stuff whereas he's a teeny bit more...chill than I am. Even when we have those rare Youth Activities and we're in his best friends' moms' SUV and I'm in the middle row and he's in the back we're always talking. But then, when we're hiking or something, and I could be right there next to him, I'm with a girl in my ward who is really clingy and a bit heavier. Everyone else just books it and I am walking with her. I love her to death but I wish she just didn't have to stop every five steps (yes I counted).

But how could I get him to notice me? I've liked him for like a year and I can't figure out WHAT would help.

Okay, on with the friendship thing.

So I have this best friend and we're like sisters...well were. Then she got a boyfriend. Her boyfriend used to be nice and everything but he's changed her. She dyed her hair black (she used to have gorgeous red hair that everyone was jealous of), she spends every moment of her time with him, and he controls every aspect of everything she does. Once for our 9th grade Formal (Its the Prom of our junior high) we got our hair done together. Her hair took 3 - count 'em THREE - hours to do and her make up took about 45 minutes. We looked fantastic. But then she walks into the restaurant where I was with other friends she walked in and her hair was NATURAL and she had almost no make up on.

My guy-friend and I were livid. Also, a scary thing is at lunch yesterday, her boyfriend and her were sitting next to me and she had two cookies and a can of soda along with her lunch and when she took a bite of her cookie he pinched the fat at her waist and then she stopped eating. I'm worried about my friend. But I know if I have an intervention then she will hate me. I'm just worried that if it goes any farther my friend will be in serious trouble like having a baby or something. But whenever I say anything bad about him, my friend hits me. In fact, she really isn't my best friend at all anymore.

She puts me down and is one of the main reasons I have no self confidence. I am somewhat pretty. My friend is too but always has guys hanging on her. I've had a grand total of 2 guys who liked me. Also she calls me ugly and fat and stupid. I mean I'm not the smallest girl out there but I've lost SERIOUS weight over the last few months. I used to be a very large size jean and now I can fit into a much smaller size quite comfortably. But I think if I stop being friends with this girl then if anything like that ever happens then I'll be to blame because I could somehow stop it.

Any advice?

-Super Glue



Dear Glue,

First of all, you're welcome! I hope the archive is easy to use and you can find columns that are both interesting and valuable. (I've also just added a Google Search to the column - that should help you lookup and find specific things you're curious about.)  If you haven't yet, go through our Facebook Fan Page as well. We have open Discussion Pages where you can trade opinions with me and many of our 10K readers from around the world on the hottest topics. You can get there by clicking HERE. It's free!

Now, as I read your letter I noticed a few more things to comment on than two . . . hope you don't mind.

As you might imagine I'm a big proponent of Combined Activities. I don't know that I've every listed my recommendations, so here they are (feel free to share with your leaders and class/quorum presidencies.

Bro Jo's YM/YW Combined Activity Recommendations

Stake / Multi-Stake Dances - 4-12 times per year. At least once a quarter (I like Semi-formal Christmas-time, Valentines Day, Start of Summer, Start of School, and Halloween/Barn Dances). Some Stakes have had a lot of success with Dances every month, more power to them, I say. but I think there should be the occasional semi-formal and theme dance.

Multi-Stake Youth Conferences - one per year. Should be mid-late summer in my opinion. Two days, preferably Friday and Saturday. Rotate which Stake is in charge. And there should be a dance on one of the evenings, so I typically say 14 and up.

Etiquette Dinner - once a year. The Teacher's Quorum Duty to God Book (which is about to be replaced / updated / combined) has hosting an Etiquette Dinner as fulfilling a requirement (bet many of you didn't know that). It should have a theme, be semi-formal, a multi-course meal, and include ALL of the YM/YW (12 and up). Start with a lesson on proper etiquette taught by a knowledgeable and well-liked adult (the older the better), and have each YM escort a girl (taking him by the arm) to the room where the dinner will be served. The food can follow a theme (BBQ, Oriental, 5-Course, anything!) and you can ask every auxiliary in your Ward or Branch to help out. Invite another Ward or some friends especially if your numbers are lopsided or few.

Combined Mutual. All of the kids in your ward should get together at least once a month on Mutual night, IMHO. Additionally I think the Priests and Laurels should combine on another of the nights.

S-Days. In our Stake (and many others, I know) get's together with another Stake in the spring for scripture mastery games, a dance, and a fireside / testimony meeting. I know that as a Seminary Teacher I'm a bit biased here, but I think these are great!

We've got to learn how to socialize with the opposite sex if we're ever going to get married in the Temple. Dances and Combined Activities go a long way towards making that happen.

As for Tom Riddle . . . I think it's great that you have a little crush going, but you've GOT to obsess less. At the very least you're going to scare him away. Trust me, the dude notices you. All of the talking backs that up. If what you mean by "notices you" is that you want him to be more than an occasional Casual Group Date and Flirt Friend, then you should forget that right now. Neither of you is in a place in your lives where you should have a relationship. He sounds like a nice guy, but you're beginning to want to blow off other people (like your non-hiker friend) simply to get more face time with him. That's not good.

It's turning you into the former-BFF that you're struggling with. Can you see that?

You have to ask yourself how good of a friend are you?

You're right, if you tell her your honest opinion she'll likely cast you off for him. It's a shame that she's wrapped so much of her personal self worth around his affection, attention and opinion . . . but you're not going to make her feel better about herself by telling her what an idiot she is for what she's doing.

Unless she asks.

But even if she does, offer your opinion in a careful and loving way. Express concern at the same time you're telling her how wonderful she is and that "he seems like a nice guy, but I miss the old you".

What you shouldn't wait to tell her is how the name calling makes you feel. Pray for the Spirit to help you know the right moment and what to say. You have to stand up for yourself; it's a matter of your own self worth.

The drastic changes in her appearance, the way she allows her Boyfriend to manipulate her, and the things she says to you are all coming from the same place. Be understanding, but don't sit there and take the abuse.

- Bro Jo

Friday, July 16, 2010

How to Not Be a Victim - Lesson 1

Hello, again!

Thank you for your previous advice. I come to you now, with a different dilemma.

Background info about me. I'm newly 18, a member my whole life, strong LDS family, etc. I dress modestly, carry myself well, take care of my skin and hair and such. I think I'm attractive... at least... I know I'm not ugly.

I usually drive my car with my windows down because my air conditioning doesn't work so well. When I stop at lights, if an older man is in his car, usually looks about 35 +, he will wink, wave, holler, or whistle at me. It's quite uncomfortable and I have come home shaky and on the verge of tears. I've stopped riding with my windows down but this behavior of these men continues in stores or whenever I go out... even men in my neighborhood. Maybe it's because I live in Vegas?

I don't know why it upsets me so badly. I try to ignore it. I just don't know what to do. Please give me any advice you can. Thank you in advance!!

-Scared


Dear Scared,

I believe theses guys exist, but I've never actually known anyone that thinks he can effective woo a woman with catcalls and horn blowing. To me a guy couldn't be less attractive and more of a dork if he wore an "I'm a loser" sign around his neck.

While there may be lots of girls out there that would love to have the attention you're getting, even if for just one day, I can understand where it could get demeaning and obnoxious. And you shouldn't have to feel like you're a prisoner in your own car. To that end I offer up:

Bro Jo's LIST of HOW a GIRL CAN BE LESS ATTRACTIVE in a CAR

1) Get a big, fake diamond looking ring and hang it out the window at them. Perhaps adding to that a phrase like "keep dreaming, Grandpa, you could never afford me!". (Although it IS possible that in Nevada a line like that could get you arrested . . .)

2) Put a "pregnant woman on board" sign in your window (pregnancy is beautiful, but creepy guys will get scared off)

3) Use a clever comeback line, like:

- "thank you, my girlfriend feels the same way"

- "hey, can you hold still? My boyfriend is a Marine and he loves to beat up guys that hit on me. I want to send him your picture"

- "hey, pal, that may have worked for you in the 50's, but girls don't like that anymore"

- "hi! Give me your phone number, my dad's a cop and he'd love to talk to anyone harassing his 16 year old daughter"

- "can you pull up a bit? I need to write your license plate number down for the police"

- (my favorite) "wow, if you could see what I can see right now you'd know exactly why you'll never get a girl like me"

4) Get a big mean dog to ride along with you

5) Turn up the car stereo, preferably playing a Girl Empowerment song or a Female Talk Radio star

6) Honk your horn and don't let it go until they go away

7) Use the moment as a proseliting opportunity "Hi, would you like to learn more about Jesus? Here's a Book of Mormon"


The point is, stop being Scared. Take control. Stand up for yourself.

Don't invite danger, but don't allow yourself to be a victim either.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Staying Focused

Dear Bro Jo,

I live in an area that does not have a lot of Mormon girls. In fact, there is only one laurel in our ward. And in my stake, there are a lot of laurels that don't have very high standards or that have out-of-church boyfriends who would not let me go on a date with them. Really, there are only 2 or 3 girls that my parents have approved of me going on dates with.

Dating outside the church is out of the question because that grand majority of dating age young women in my area do not have high standards. I really do enjoy dating and when I go on dates with those that have high standards, I really enjoy myself.

Here's my question. Is it ok to go on a date with the same girl every other week or every three weeks, as long as you date other girls? And in my situation, would it be ok to date the same girl twice in a row?

Love to Date


Dear Dater,

How old are you?

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

I'm 17. About to turn 18 in a month.

- Dater


Dear Dater,

So, pre-mission, right?

Done with High School?

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

Yes, pre-mission. Graduating from high school this Saturday and going to BYU in September.

- Dater


Dear Dater,

Sounds like you're in a similar position to my boys. We amended the original "Dating Rules" (Read them HERE) to allow them to go out with the same girl two months in a row if needed, which fixed some problems with getting a good girl as a date to a special dance or school thing.

And I think you're being to harsh and too general about whether or not there are good non-member girls in your area. Most people are pretty decent, and I'm sure you could have found more than a couple that were worth taking on Casual Group Dates.

I suspect there's a little more to your story, mostly because it sounds like you're trying to justify dating the same LDS girl over and over, but the bottom line is you understanding the purpose of keeping dating Casual at your stage in life.

It's the only way the letter makes sense. You're headed to BYU in just three months; once there you'll have thousands of wonderful and worthy LDS girls to choose from . . . so why ask about dating the same girl a couple times in a row when you only have two months left at home?

The answer is: you're looking for justification for dating the same girl a few times in a row this summer.

That's fine, but you'd better be careful.

Don't head into a mission with a girlfriend or any type of similar commitment; supposed, real, or otherwise.

And don't use some girl for the summer, Captain NiCMO.

If you want to date this summer, or at school between here and your mission, by all means do! You should.

But spread it around. Don't do anything that will be interpreted as a commitment.

And don't be surprised if your "between year" at the Y is a bit lonely because, let's face it, as long as you're focused on the mission like you should be, every smart girl will recognize that you're probably a waste of her time.

Stay strong and keep the faith.

Oh, and have fun!

- Bro Jo

PS:  You know, when I re-read this letter it occurred to me that you weren't going on "Casual Group Dates"; if you were then you could have widened your dating circle without the fear of non-standard keeping girls.  CGD has value my friend!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Coworkers

Hey Bro Jo!

I've written you once before, and you told me exactly what I already knew but I suppose I just needed to hear it from someone else. Anyhoo, today or tonight rather, I write you concerning your guy, girl can't "just be friends" rule (if 'rule' really describes it). I do understand and I think I agree with your philosophy. Is it always the guys that have feelings? Or are girls allowed to as well? Haha, I mean I'm sure girls do, I know from experience actually, but are you saying it is mostly the guys. Having brothers, I would imagine that if there were no feelings on the guys end he would just get bored with the relationship and move on... am I correct in this?

I had a friend (or person I knew...not really sure what to call him now) He and I never spent time together outside of work but we had a lot of talks while at work. He was 5 years older than I and it made him uncomfortable to be seen hanging out with someone that young, so we never did anything. I'm wondering if I was just his safety net... I hope not, but I'm a thinkin' so. At work he and I talked constantly, and I mean constantly. Pretty much every time I went out on the floor, he came with just to talk, and if he didn't we resumed our conversation when I came back in. I feel like he took confidence in me and I in him. We could talk to each other, he told me things that not many others knew and visa versa. He really valued my opinion too... there was a time I walked in on a conversation he was having with a co-worker and promptly left when I didn't want to contribute. He came and got me, tell me he wanted to know what I thought.

I asked him one day if he found me attractive (please don't ask me why I asked him that, I was younger then.. that is my excuse). It completely caught him off guard; he made up some random chore for the other person in the room to do so we could be alone. He proceeded to tell me why I was attractive and then asked why I wanted to know.

Not sure what my answer was...

There was also another time when he and another co-worker were discussing a certain hair color on girls. I happen to have the color of hair they were discussing, and was sitting right there as they discussed this. They said something along the lines of, "they are either hot or not... end of story" I was just like "Uh dude, I'm sitting right here!"

They ignored that, so I said "So where do I fit in?" He just said, "we've already discussed what I think about your appearance." haha! I laughed so hard, you're probably not... I guess you had to be there.

So I guess my question is, how do you know if they have feelings other than friendship? I know they spend time with you, but what if it seems like there is something there... but you're not sure? Like in my case, there were no feelings on my side... but what about his? Was I just his safety? Or Just someone to talk to?

Thanks!

~Wonder Woman:)


Dear Wonder,

This is the core of the Guy-Girl Friends thing, and it’s why most girls don’t get it.

Girls can be “friends” with a guy for decades with no ulterior motives, no spark of attraction, and never think anything about it.

Not guys.

Chatting at work or Church can be one thing; spending “friendship” time together is another. A guy can shoot the breeze at work simply to be nice or pass the time, but he’s not going to “hang out” at a girl’s apartment making cookies and listening to her stories if he’s not attracted to her on some level.

Even if he’s flirting, which your Work Buddy was doing (although perhaps not well), unless there’s an extracurricular time investment it may be meaningless.

Now in your particular situation I believe you presented quite a dilemma for this man. He clearly found you, as my boys say, “not painful to look at”, but felt the age difference made anything more than a work relationship inappropriate. And I think he was right. He should be commended for his discipline and integrity.

It’s not that you were his safety net. It’s that the inappropriateness scared him.

Smart man.

You were “Coworkers”; that’s the appropriate label. Flirty Coworkers, sure; Coworkers who both wondered “what if”, undoubtedly, but nothing more.

And, in answer to your question, Yes, girls can have the same trouble keeping an association on a “friendship only” level; it’s just that with Men (notice I haven’t said “boys”) it’s ALWAYS an issue.

I have many associations with females. Work, school, Church, etc, but I don’t “hang out” with any of them. We chat in public places, but I don’t invite them to lunch. I care for them as a Brother in Christ, but Sister Jo is the only girl I date.

- Bro Jo

Friday, July 9, 2010

Should She Take Him Back?

Dear Bro Jo,

I am 16 years old, and I'm in a situation that is REALLY hard to explain. I started dating this boy when I was 15 (I still hate myself for not waiting until I was 16) and we really clicked. We got really attached, and then he went off to college, broke up with me, broke my heart, and then got another girlfriend. He broke up with his last girlfriend recently, is back from college, and now he wants to date me again. I still love him (if what I'm feeling is love) but I don't want to break my heart again. Should I risk my heart again or should I wait to date him again until I graduate from high school?

~Confused Girl



Dear CG,

Well it's not hard to understand!

My guess (and it admittedly may not be more than that) is that what you're feeling is "security" (or perhaps "validation" . . . even "justification") more than it is "love".

He broke up with you. You were understandably very sad. On some level you're just hoping that if you take him back everything will be Dancing Trees and Singing Flowers again.

And then, after he's gotten what he wants from you he'll probably dump you again for the next something-better to come along.

How do I know?

Simple. Do the math.

You're in HIGH SCHOOL and he's in COLLEGE.

He's back for the summer . . . doesn't want to be lonely . . . and, let's face it, it's much easier to get the old girlfriend back than to find the new one. (Which is NOT to imply that you're "easy" - that's not what I mean - and I certainly hope you're not! - but it doesn't sound like you're requiring him to make much of an effort.)

Stick to Casual Group Dates with boys your own age. No more boyfriends until you're out of High School, and even then I'd think twice before dating Mr. "Hurt You Before" again.

Give yourself some credit.

Lots of fish in the sea.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hope to Action

Dear Bro Jo,

So about three weeks ago we had LDS prom. While I was there I ended up sitting by this guy for awhile and we talked for about 30 minutes or so and at the end of the conversation he asked for my number, which I gave to him. So since then we have talked on the phone about 4 or 5 times.

Its really easy talking to him too, and I think he is a really nice person. I have already made up my mind that I do not want a boyfriend in high school, but I definitely want to date as many different people as I can.

There aren't a whole lot of people in our stake old enough to date (he actually isn't even in our stake. Our boundaries got changed not long ago, but they got invited to prom by one of thne YM leaders) so when I meet someone who is old enough I am pretty excited about that. And it seems like the ones that are old enough generally don't ask or are just content with having a girlfriend and not actually dating. But I think this guy is aiming more for dating and not for getting a girlfriend.

I wasn't sure if this guy would really even be able to take me on a date since he lives about an hour and a half away, but he drove about two hours last weekend to go to a church dance and visit a friend so I don't think it would be a huge problem. I think he might eventually ask me, but I am kind of aiming for sooner rather than later!

So what should I do?

--Hoping for a date


Dear Hoping -

Ask him.

"So, do I live so far away that you'll never ask me for a date, or have you realized I'm worth the drive?"

Let me know what he says.

- Bro Jo

Monday, July 5, 2010

When "Love" is Destructive

Dear Bro Jo,

First of all, thank you for reading this email and taking your time to respond.

Here's the situation: I am the Teacher's Quorum president, and it is my duty to ensure the active participation and welfare of all the teachers. I have a member in my quorum who we shall call bob.

Bob seems fairly active and happy, but his facebook status shows completely different things. He keeps putting his status as one of 2 things:

1) I'm so depressed to be kept away from her and I hate these restrictions I have, its my life

2) My parents are so stupid, they shouldn't decide my life for me.

The main reason for these sudden changes are that he has found himself a girlfriend. Its pretty obvious she is the problem because thats all he talks about (only on facebook though), and his girlfriends page, in the info section, says I have a wonderful boyfriend named Bob. I really want to help Bob through the times and just to get over it atleast until hes 16, but love is SO hard to argue with! Any suggestions about how to help him keep in the church? I'm very afraid that if I don't play my cards right, I may lose a valuable member of my quorum.

Thanks if you can help at all,

the TQP


Dear TQP -

Your best move is to be a sincere and not-too-judgmental friend. If he asks your opinion, then you can tell him how you feel in a kind way.

(Take a look at what Doctrine and Covenants Section 121 says about reproving with sharpness in a loving way.)

That said, if at any time you feel that his feelings transcend typical teen angst then you need to get someone else involved. As the Quorum President you should be having regular meetings with your Young Men's Leadership and should have a monthly meeting with your Bishop's Youth Council. Share your concerns with them.

They will be able to provide the specific training and council you need; not just for Bob, but they'll be able to help you deal with him as his Quorum Leader.

Don't argue - remember that no one can be contended into conversion - listen and be there to remind him of the Savior's Love when the time comes.

- Bro Jo


PS - Pray - pray - pray; don't forget that you've been blessed with the keys for those within your stewardship; ask the Lord to tell you what to do, and patiently listen for his will.

Friday, July 2, 2010

She Likes Him and He Likes . . .

Dear Bro Jo,

The guy that I like is so amazing.  Now I don't know if he likes me, but I like to tell myself he does.
He has a lot of friends that are girls. He's just that way; most of his friends are girls. But I feel like he treats me differently. We flirt all the time. At least what I call flirting. We are just really good friends and we both have so much in common.

Now there are a few things that we do not agree on and I try to convince myself that those differences would make it hard to have a good relationship, when and if that time ever comes. No matter how much I tell myself this, I can't stop thinking about him. I don't know what it is. I just get this unexplainable feeling and I feel so right about him everytime I see or think about him. He is a really great guy, and I'm not just saying that. I kind of don't know what to think.

I want to think that this is just a crush, and that it's a phase or whatever. It's weird for me to like someone for a long time.  I tend to like someone for a month and then I move on. But I've liked this guy almost all year.

Is this just a crush?

I don’t know what to do or think! I like him so much, but I'm worried that I'm just getting my hopes up for a little high school crush.

-(no name)


Dear No-name,

I'm so glad the guy you like isn't "relatively mediocre" or "kind of a loser" . . .

And, yeah. It’s a crush.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

You like him and he . . . likes everybody.

There’s not much TO do. None of you girls are “Just Friends”, at least not in his mind, and now is not the right time for you to be pursuing a Relationship.

You may want to check out a few of my columns on “Men and Women Can’t Be Friends” (see the Facebook Discussion HERE), or perhaps more accurately “Guys Can’t Stay ‘Just Close Friends’ with Girls”.

And you may also want to take a peek at the Facebook Notes “Bro Jo’s LEVELS of a RELATIONSHIP” and “Bro Jo’s HOW a GIRL CAN GET a GUY to ASK HER on a DATE”.

Enjoy your crush!


- Bro Jo