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.)

Nothing here is meant to take the place of talking with parents, leaders, or Church authorities. Please, if you need serious help, talk to a trusted adult, leader, and / or professional counselor.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Good Guy's Dilemma

Dear Bro Jo,

Hey there! Here's my story:

Me and this girl have been good friends for a while now (both 17), and have been hanging out and whatnot. We talked about the possibility of dating one another, and have laid out boundaries. We’re on the same page as far as what's acceptable and what's crossing the line. we both understand that our priorities won't change (me with my mission, her with going to the temple). It sounded like everything was all good, but I thought I'd best talk to my parents about it before anything is made official. I talked with them, told them about what me and this girl have talked about with boundaries, priorities, standards etc. We've all come to a decision that hand holding and light, occasional kissing is acceptable. No making out, no looking for opportunities to be alone, and if anything goes south for a second we call it off.

But I was just wondering what your take on this whole thing was?

- Name Withheld



Dear Reader,

You say "dating", but clearly you mean "being boyfriend and girlfriend". That's a mistake.

First of all, you've WAY over analyzed this thing. Seventeen . . . pre-mission . . . that's Casual Group Dating, actually going out in groups to places and doing things - that's DATING, what you're talking about sounds like a -pre-arranged teen relationship, and that's not a good idea for teens with mission and temple goals.

I'm on board with your thoughts about hand holding and kissing and not being too alone, but who says you have to be in some kind of committed relationship to do that? Those rules and boundaries should exist whether or not you go out with her or anyone else.

It's good that you've talked, and good that you've sought the advice and counsel of your parents, but in general I think you need to intellectualize less, focus more on having fun in groups than being in a relationship with this one girl.

Relationship, no. Dating lots of different girls, yes!

You may think you've got it all figured out, but trust me pal, teen relationships, no matter how well they've been pre-thought out and planned, bring with them way more drama then you want in your life.

- Bro Jo



Dear Bro Jo,

Yeah I get your point. And you say your on board with the hand holding and the kissing and that it doesn't have to be a committed relationship for something like that (maybe I misinterpreted that part). but what I find sort of uncomfortable about that is that if I do those things not being in a committed relationship, I get the reputation of being a player, and someone who's only looking to score you know? and maybe I'm just looking at this the wrong way, but..yeah. haha

- Name Withheld



Dear Reader,

No, I totally understand; it's kind of a double standard. Good Guys are treated like "players" when the most physical thing they've done is peck-kiss two different girls good night, whereas girls will give things away that they ought not to guys who got all that and more from the last girlfriend simply to keep the guy they're dating (even though he never actually takes her on dates).

It's weird. It's twisted.

I know.

Despite everything girls say they want, despite all of their claims about wanting guys to be good, it's the good guys that are often the loneliest.

If the girls you Casually Group Date in High School won't let you kiss them good night unless you commit to the boyfriend thing, then you have to respect that and accept that you may not get smooched until you come back from the mission.

The irony is that if you were a bad guy you could lie to these girls, say you're the boyfriend so they'd kiss you, and then when you're tired of her move on to the next girl . . .

But you're not a bad guy; you're one of the good ones.

All I can tell you is that it's not always easy, but it's worth it.

- Bro Jo


Bro Jo,

Holy moly man. You're a genius. I think you've literally got this dating thing down to a science! haha. Thanks for the info brother.

- Name Withheld


Dear Reader,

Back at ya.

- Bro Jo

Monday, November 29, 2010

When is it right to go talk to your Bishop?

Dear Bro Jo,

I just came across your blog today. Let me just say THANK YOU for your dedication to helping us young members of the church. It seems to be an answer to a lot of prayers. Mine included. Let me explain my situation to you, and explain a bit of background.

I have been a member of the church for my entire life. When I was 11 years old my parents divorced, it was a messy divorce. My family stopped going to church after that. I struggled a lot. I went to church a few times in the years following, went to a few stake activities, but I never really became fully active. There was a lot of struggle for me going, most of which stemmed from my family falling apart and falling away from the Gospel. At times, I would be the only one who'd go. Sometimes it would be so hard for me to do it on my own that I wold just give up and not go. I regret that.

Over those years for the most part I stayed away from committing any "serious sins" because I was not sure if I wanted my life to be in the Gospel or not. I struggled with that decision for many years. During that time I spent my time with people who were not good influences on my life at all. But I thought I was strong enough to resist temptation (Side note to anyone reading this who thinks they are, take it from me. You are who your friends are. Even if you don't realize it at the time, and even if you think you're as strong as a rock, your friends really influence how you act.) I will admit, I had tried alcohol on a few separate occasions. Not trying to justify it, but it was never more than a few sips, and I have NEVER been "drunk." I was just trying to figure out what I wanted my life to be like.

Then about a year and a half ago I was going through the hardest time of my life. There were so many things in my life just falling apart all around me. Even though I didn't regularly attend church, I still had so much trust in the Lord and at this time my faith was being tested so much. I was failing. Then a very close friend of mine, who happened to be one of my best friends twin sister, passed away. This completely broke me. I just couldn't possibly imagine how Heavenly Father could let this happen... I couldn't imagine how he could take some away who was so young and was one of the happiest, and most caring people you'd ever meet. That just drove me away farther. At the time there was this boy who I was best friends with (by the way, I read your posts about guys and girls being friends. Completely. Agree.) and one night he invited me over to his house. There were a few other friends there also.

Pretty much everyone there except for me were drunk (although I'll admit, I did have a few sips...) and the next thing I knew he was kissing me. And then there was some "inappropriate touching" that briefly happened. We both realized what was happening and immediately stopped, both horrified at what we just allowed to happen.

During that entire time I had been questioning everything I believed in. It was hard for me, being only 15 and inactive for four years, to keep my faith strong during everything that was happening in my life. Since then I've started going back to church. I'm very active. I go to seminary, all the stake activities, and I'm president of the Laurel's in my ward, praying often, personal scripture study often, and basically just trusting in the Lord for everything. Another important thing I've done since then is I've cut all negative influences out of my life. All the friends (including the boy), despite how difficult it was, I no longer associate with.

The only close friends I have anymore who are not members all have positive influences on my life. My faith and testimony has strengthened so much since then. I've decided that I want to live the rest of my life in the church. I have NO desire to do anything that would compromise my beliefs, that's not really a struggle or what I need help on. I also want to attend BYU-I after I graduate next year. Since then I've also been to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.

When I got my interview I didn't really think anything when asked by my bishop if there were any serious sins in my past that I didn't confess to priesthood. I just simply told him no. I thought that since it was something that had happened over a year ago, and since I wasn't active in the church at the time I didn't need to rehash it. I thought nothing of it. But now, I'm not so sure. I've prayed many times very hard to Heavenly Father for forgiveness, I've fasted over it, and I have started to feel more at peace with it. But I guess my real question is, should I let it be at that? Should I go to talk to my bishop?

Is this something that requires talking to him, or has my personal repentance been enough?


Sincerely,

A confused sister.



Dear Sister,

Well . . . you're welcome. And thank you for sharing your testimony and words of caution.

The general rule about when to talk to your Bishop is: if you're worried, or if you've done something that puts your temple worthiness in jeopardy, make the appointment.

If you talk to the Bishop and discover you didn't need to, what a relief! If you talk to him and do discover that his help to repent (and that may include something formal or structured, and it might not) is needed, then you've taken the first steps in that process. Either way, at least you'll know.

Now, do I personally think the stuff you've told me about is stuff that you don't need to share with your Bishop?

Not necessarily. You were young. You did some dumb stuff. But you're on the right track now, and that's awesome!

(As a side note: whether or not you were active or inactive is irrelevant.)

And yet . . . I think you should talk to the Bishop.

For whatever reason it seems like you're being prompted by the Spirit to do so. That and I think you might always feel concerned until you do.

So go ahead. Make the appointment and visit with him right away. Visit tomorrow if you can. I think it will be worth the peace of mind.

Ultimately repentance is between the individual and the Lord, but a Bishop, as an ordained judge in Israel (the Gospel Israel, not the country) has tools to help us through the repentance process. And sometimes that process includes confession.

Keep building your testimony through personal scripture study, personal prayer and service.

And feel free to write me any time.

Thanks again, and God bless,

- Bro Jo

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Patriarchal Power

Hi Bro Jo!

I was the Optimistic girl, the one all my friends looked to for a smile when they needed it. Then I was born down with this massive trial that seemed like it just kept growing and nothing worked to make me happy. Then just yesterday I decided to try a new tactic on life. I took out my Patriarchal Blessing and wrote down ALL of the positive attributes that Heaven sees in me. I was really awe struck to see just how much Heaven believes in me because very few people believe in me. Then later that night as I was still pondering on it and listening to a song that has been helping me feel happy again, My Sister made a comment to me that helped finish it. She said that she could totally see what I guy would see in me because I am pretty. Now I am looking at life in a whole new way and I'm beginning to enjoy the happiness that was mentioned in my Patriarchal Blessing. :)

Nevertheless, there is still one thing that is semi bothering me and I was wondering if I could get some advice on it. A year and a half ago one of my Sunday school teachers left on his mission. I almost immediately had a distinct impression from the Holy Ghost to write him. I wrote him a Letter thanking him for being a great Sunday school teacher and encouraged him to continue to serve the Lord. I tried my best to write an uplifting and inspiring letter as I have every time since. Some people say that once a week is too much but he seems to like the mail and encourages me not only to continue but he encourages and inspires me in every aspect of life. He makes me feel special and like Someone does believe in me. He especially makes me smile. I guess the problem would be that another girl in my ward likes him too and between her and her Mom they are trying to set me (17 year old) up with RM's. Which, I feel just adds to our complications in being friends as I have felt like she has been jealous of me from the get-go.

I guess as minor as this may seem It has been the main point of my sorrow lately. How can I get others to know that even if I think often about marriage in the Temple, that writing this missionary was inspired from God and all I'm looking for is a Best Friend that in no way is perfect but is trying to be like Jesus? Its the thing most often on my heart.

I normally leave my Testimony at the end of my letters. This is what I have learned from my Trials this past year:

I know That God Lives and Loves me! I know he died for me to bless and help me. He walks by me and blesses me with his love. He hears and answers my Prayers and will not leave me comfortless. This life is the Test and If we can endure it well, Not perfect but the best we can, we can all return to live with him because it is in his love for us and in his stripes we are healed and we are perfected through his loving grace. He is my Best Friend in Heaven who will never go forgotten in my eyes.
I often think about meeting Him and the Prophet. Someday I will meet them but until then I continue to Persevere. I LOVE LIFE!! :D

And just one more thing: Some people think Its crazy that my one dream is to see the prophet face to face and be able to talk to him. I know that when I find that Best Friend that things won't be perfect and they won't all be easy to bear but they will be easier, because I will have someone to talk to and I will never have to live wondering how much I am really loved. I also feel really subdued and humble when I get told that I may be the Prophets wife someday because it has always been my dream. I know that in the loving arms of someone as gentle and kind as the prophet that anyone can feel safe and that’s another thing I have wanted all my life. I have written a few poems on these spiritual matters actually. I enjoy writing poems based on spiritual matters especially on 'Faith' :)

Can I get some ideas on how to enjoy life? I would really love another person's P.O.V on things.

Thank You!

~ K ~


Dear K,

I think the best way to enjoy life is to A) be grateful for all that Heavenly Father has given us (like opportunity, life, health, and faith), and B) be of service to others. Gratitude helps us to be humble; it helps us to feel loved and to see God in all things. Service helps us to feel better about ourselves, to recognize that everyone has trials, and to realize that our own trials are temporary.

Keep reading your patriarchal blessing; it will give renewed insight every time you ponder it prayerfully.

As for your letter writing, you clearly have a crush on this guy. I know it, you know it, everyone who reads this column knows it . . .

That's okay, as long as you still go out with other guys that ask (the non-scary ones at least). In general I think once a week is too much given your relationship with him. I'd say once a month is more the right pace. Don't cut him off, but slow it down a little. Maybe instead of writing him the same day you get a letter from him wait a couple days. 100 letters from one girl while a guy is gone is too many.

Thanks for sharing your testimony.

I hope he's smart enough to ask you out (if you're still single) when he comes home.

- Bro Jo

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Patriarchal Blessing

Bro Jo,

I'm 16, almost 17, years old and something I've been wondering about lately is if I'm ready for my patriarchal blessing or now. I realize it's a big responsibility to take on. I just haven't been sure if I'm ready for it yet. So I wanted to ask you what your opinion on when members should receive their blessing and if you could tell me more about the process of the interview for the blessing and etc.

Thank you,

- Name Withheld



Dear Reader,

A patriarchal blessing IS a personal thing, but I disagree that it's a Big Responsibility or something that should be delayed until one has a high Gospel Literacy Rate. Only you will know if you're "ready", but let me share with you some points:

- your patriarchal blessing won't necessarily be more insightful or spiritual just because you're older
- the blessing will mean different things to you, you'll feel, learn, and interpret things differently as you read it over the years
- there is no set age when one should get one

Sister Jo and I have encouraged our children to receive their blessing as they're about to enter high school, typically at 14 or 15. We feel that high school is a tumultuous time and that a blessing from the patriarch can be a much needed guide post when navigating those years.

But that's us.

The process is this: when you feel it's time, set an appointment with your Bishop to receive a Patriarchal Blessing Recommend. It's similar to a youth Temple Recommend and so is the interview. I'm not certain that one has to be pure or particularly worthy, but I think having your life in the right place will help both you and the patriarch. Once you have the recommend you call the patriarch (or his wife, who may very likely be the person that sets his appointments). Make an appointment. The patriarch in our stake likes parents to be present at the blessings; if that's the case in your stake, make sure your parents are able to go; it's a pretty wonderful time, spiritually speaking.

Your patriarchal blessing will be special, and I think that specialty is maintained if you keep it private and personal. I've shared mine with Sister Jo and the Jo kids when they were blessing age. That's it.

Other than that, the "standard answers" apply: pray, ponder, and go with the Spirit. You can never go wrong with those!

- Bro Jo

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Six L's of How to Get Kissed

Dear Bro Jo,

I need some help.

Obviously.

And some clarification.

So here is the story: Over the summer I worked at a lake resort in the mountains and made a lot of new friends. I became great friends with this one guy and found myself falling for him towards the end of the summer. His last two weeks of work before he went off to school we spent many one on one nights together: watching a movie, sitting at the hot springs (which we ended up being there for 4 hours because we found it so fun and easy to talk to one another), watching a meteor shower at 2am, and backpacking. Before he left for school (3 hours away from mine) he told me he wanted to visit me on some weekends. I thought he liked me and I was really hoping that we could be more than just great friends or that he would at least kiss me. Because here’s the thing, I am 19….and never been kissed or had a boyfriend. Is that ancient? Or is it just me?

Over this past weekend I was in Utah I hung out with him for the first time since he left for school. We only got to hang out for a few hours so we talked for a bit then when up to his room to watch a movie. And then I went home. And that was that. I was disappointed and now I am starting to question whether this guy ever liked me or if he still does then am I allowed to make the first move? It’s a little frustrating because I genuinely like him but I don’t know if I want to/or am allowed to tell him how I feel. I am too afraid of losing a friend.

What does a girl do?

Sincerely,

A long time member of the VLC



Dear VLC,

Maybe the problem is that you're "hanging out" and not dating. It kind of sounds like you're in the buddy zone, or at least in the danger of finding yourself there.

To be honest, I do think that at 19 you should have been smooched once or twice, but don't let the fact that you haven't bother you too much; it certainly isn't a commentary on your attractiveness or value; lot's of great people that are older than you are VLC members, so while I know it can feel really important, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Sister Jo pointed out that this boy may be in the exact same VLC shoes you are, and what he may need is more of a "go ahead" signal from you. So, much to my chagrin, let me give you:

"Bro Jo's HOW a GIRL CAN LET A GUY KNOW SHE WANTS TO BE KISSED"
a.k.a "The Six L's"

Linger - Don't be so quick to leave. When he walks you to the door, don't reach for the handle; stand there, keep talking, fiddle with your keys. Let him know that, as far as you're concerned, the date is not quite over yet.

Lean-in - No good guy will know that you want to kiss him if you're sitting or standing all the way over there. Close the gap. A kiss requires closer proximity than a slow dance; you don't have to sit on his lap or give him a full body-hug (neither of which I recommend for non-marrieds or public display) but you do need to be close enough that you're grateful you've used gum or a breath mint.

Laugh - Not loudly, but let him know you're having a good time; Sister Jo says this is more of a quiet giggle; think of it as smiling with your eyes.

Look - Don't stare, but you've got to make eye contact. Once you do, don't look away, look down . . . at his lips.

Listen - It takes expert skill and timing to kiss a mouth that's speaking, so be quiet! Keep your answers to his questions short.

Lip gloss - For reasons I don't understand, other than having been enticed, shiny lip gloss says "hey, buddy, plant one here!"

You don't have to do all of them, but your success rate will increase if you do. For example:

He stops the car in front of the house. As he walks around to open her door she applies a little lip gloss, just slowly enough that he sees her putting away the container, and he begins to wonder "why did she do that"? They walk to the door talking about the evening, she laughs at his joke and looks at him. At the door she takes out her keys, but doesn't make any motion towards opening the door; instead she stands on the stoop facing him. They look at each other, and as he looks away, babbling on about something or other, she takes a step closer, maybe two or three steps, looking down at her feet as she walks. He can't help but notice how pretty she is and looks at her. She looks up and makes eye contact again. She's smiling, but more with her eyes than her mouth. He's talking and she's listening. She takes one step closer . . .

At that point, the worst thing he can do is freak out, which he might do if he's dumb, painfully shy, or in a committed relationship to someone else. If he asks "what are you doing?!?", you can either tell him "trying to hint to you that it's okay to kiss me" or cut your loses by saying "nothing".

I've told you girls many, many times: you have all the power. No where will that be more evident in your unmarried lives than at this moment.

- Bro Jo

PS: Oh, and VLC, please understand, you can't lose a friend that could never have stayed just a friend anyway because he's a guy and you're a girl.


[Readers - want more of Bro Jo's advice on Kissing?  Check out "Kissing Appropriateness" on the Facebook fan page HERE or pick up a copy of "Bro Jo's Guide to Casual Group Dating", available at Deseret Book, DeseretBook.com and Amazon.com.]

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Forgive and Forget

Dear Bro Jo,

Alright. I need suggestions on how to forgive my dad.

The story: My parents got divorced when I was 9 (it's been 9 years), and I only recently asked my mom why. It turns out that my father had an affair or more than one. One time he went to see another woman when my brother was in the HOSPITAL! He was slightly abusive, and would yell at me and my siblings for very minor things. From what it sounds like, he had (maybe still has) a porn addiction. He was a convert around the time he met my mom, but obviously that didn't stick.

Deep down, I've known all along he's done crap like that. I've been angry and disappointed with him for so long, and I don't know what to do. I want to forgive him, but I don't feel like I can.
Help, please?!

-Can't Forgive?


Dear Can't,

Well . . . let's talk about it a little bit.

What is it you think needs to happen and why?

Has he asked for your forgiveness?

What do you want? What are you hoping will happen?

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

Hm... I just want to not be ticked at him and... I don't know. I'm just trying to fix my problems, and that seems to be one of them. He doesn't know that I know about most of the things, so he hasn't asked.
I just want to be at peace with the whole father thing. It kinda feels like since he wasn't really there for most of my life, I don't want him to be part of the rest of my life. It's like I almost want to give up on him. It sucks growing up feeling like you don't really have a father even when he's still alive. I just want to work it out with myself so it doesn't make me feel like crud or like I missed out on so much.
I don't really know how to put it in words, and this probably doesn't make much sense to you but hopefully you'll understand some of it.

I know I probably shouildn't dwell on it, but I sometimes wonder how it would have been if he had been a good mormon dad. It would be nice to know that I'd see him in heaven, but I doubt I will.

Sorry for rambling. I really doubt that made any sense or helped.

- Can't


Dear Can't,

It's OK to ramble . . . not that I think you did.

I think one of the things Heavenly Father has sent us here to learn is that there are things we can change and things we can't. You had a dad who did some hurtful things (remember that there are two sides to every story and, especially in a divorce, no one is without blame), and he was wrong to do them. But they can't be undone.

So we just have to learn to live with them.

Even in our darkest moments there are still things for which we can be grateful. I know a guy that keeps a list of the small and simple things for which he is grateful on an index card in his wallet. In moments of despair and woe he takes it out, reads it, and offers up a prayer of gratitude.

It has things on it like "children laughing, the smell of freshly cut grass, the taste of fresh water, being hugged by a loved one, taking the time to ponder", the names of a few people, some favorite books, and other uplifting notions.

I feel sorry for your dad. He's lost many years not knowing you and the wonderful person that you are.

Not all problems can be fixed. Certainly not by you or I.

But all things can, are, and will be fixed by God.

It's up to us to have faith and endure.

Don't give up on your dad. Pray for him, and for yourself, that you may both learn from the mistakes that have been made.

Perhaps he'll see the light.

Perhaps you'll be inspired to take the first step that closes the gap between you.

Perhaps you'll consider this part of your life as you ponder whom to marry and how to raise your own children.

It's OK that the past bothers you, it's not OK to obsess about it or let it ruin your life.

Whatever happens, you'll always be entitled to the joy in your life that comes from the knowledge that, Good Dad or Bad Dad, Heavenly Father's Love is Eternal.

- Bro Jo

Monday, November 22, 2010

When Your Boyfriend is About to Put in His Mission Papers . . .

Dear Bro Jo,

I am a 17 year old girl turning 18 in a few months. My boyfriend is 18 and will be turning in his paper's in the spring. We have been dating a year and he was converted (for the right reasons- not for me) 6 months ago. He is a worthy Priesthood holder and will be receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood soon. My question is.... I want to know what I can do during the time before his mission to help prepare him and keep him worthy of a mission. I plan to wait for him, but he knows I will be going off to college and dating while he is away (I made him no promises, just "we will see what happens"). My bishop has been a huge help and support but I need some specific advise on what to do during this critical time. Should I grow an even stronger relationship between us during this time, or slowly separate so it isn't as hard on us when he leaves? Will staying with him distract him more then if I pulled away?

Sincerely,

Wants Whats Best



Dear Best,

I think the thing to do is to be rational.

That and to actually TALK to the boy. "Hey, next spring you're going to turn in your papers, and I think that's wonderful! I'm very proud of you, and I like you a lot. But I don't want to be a distraction, either between now and the time you leave or once you're gone. It's not right for us to make any type of commitment when you're gone, other than to perhaps agree to try to pick up where we left off if I'm still single and you're still interested. I really like spending time with you, but at some point we're going to have to put our relationship off. What do you want to do?"

If he agrees that you'll be a distraction between now and then, and if he thinks you might already be, he'll probably say it's time to slow things down now.

If he asks you to wait for him while he's gone, that's a Big Red "he's selfish" Flag, and you should start cooling things off on your own.

If he wants to keep dating until the date gets closer, I suppose that's fine . . . although ultimately you'll both just be prolonging the inevitable.

Frankly, you've stumbled upon one of the main reasons why I say Casual Group Dating is all you should do between 16 and graduation for girls and between 16 and mission for guys; these . . . "relationships" that teens get into really add complications that need not exist at your age. If you weren't in a relationship, if you were both dating other people, then this would just be a great guy you've dated off and on that you might like to date again when he comes home, if you're available.

As far as what you can do . . . it's a great question! Lot's, actually.

Focus on helping him prepare. Read books like "Jesus the Christ" together and discuss the Gospel and the Savior.

Have fun. Go out, have a good time! Don't act like the world is coming to an end just because he's moving away for a couple years.

Be smart. The Lord needs him, and Satan doesn't want him to go, so cut down on your "alone time"; temptations may get stronger, so avoid them.

- Bro Jo

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In Bed with Your Phone Friend

Hi Brother Jo!

I was wondering if you could share some of your thoughts on what is an appropriate amount of time a boy and a girl at the ages of 16+ should/shouldn't be spent talking on the phone?

I have a real good friend who I talk to on the phone, or even just text now and then, because we live so far away from each other -- but I've been re-thinking this a little bit. In my mind, it'd be okay if our conversations didn't go on so far into the night. . .Even if it is really fun. I can't help but tell myself I need some self-control in this area. Thanks!:)

- Name Withheld


Dear NW,

I think calling after 9pm, unless it's an actual emergency (homework help might be, the latest teen drama is not), is rude.

On top of that there's this added element when it's a guy and a girl. What you're doing is "phone dating"; you have this pseudo-relationship that's safe because of the physical separation that the technology provides, but it's not really any safer. In fact, it can actually be much worse. You said so yourself: you can feel that it's wrong because of the hour. Here's a guideline: if it's too late to go out, it's too late to talk on the phone.

Texting is the same.

So is on-line chatting.

Get your homework done, spend time with your family.

Then go to bed. By yourself. Don't bring your phone-friend into bed with you.

(There's a really thin line just on the other side of what you're doing and it's pretty bad.)

Turn your phone off, hand it over to your parents, whatever it takes to break the habit.


- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

Holey Moley! That's an eye opener.

First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer my question: it has made me rethink some things and draw the line where it needs to be. I have yet to talk to my friend about this, but the late phone calls I've chosen not to answer have given me the opportunity to test just how I feel, as well as give the Spirit an opening to teach. I hadn't realized just how distracted I was!

Ah...I think it's safe to say that although I love talking to this close friend of mine every chance I get, having learned through this experience, I know Heavenly Father wants me to focus on bettering myself and strengthening my family to prepare for what lies ahead (whatever that may be). And he'll just have to understand.

Brother Johnston -- thanks again for your wisdom!

- Name Withheld

Readers Note: Upcoming Post - Kissing!

Dear Readers,

Just in time for cold season (the Jo kids are currently watching Uncle Buck) - "The Six L's of How to Get Kissed". Watch for it this week!

- Bro Jo

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can a High School Guy Ask Out a University Girl?

G'day Bro Jo,

I've got a question that might seem silly, so I'm coming to you for some more of your brilliant advice :)

The way it works in my part of Australia (one of the East Coast states), the catchment of kids entering school is from May 1- April 30 of the following year, which can result in some kids being the same age as you, born in the same year but in the grade above you at school. Church-wise it means they remain in the youth program despite being in university (college- Aussies generally shorten it to uni), where most members are YSAs.

I find myself with a question when looking for potential dates. Being in my second-last year of high school (I think it's called senior high in the States), there's plenty of YW in the neighbouring stakes who are born in the same year as me but are in their final year of high school and are moving into uni next year.

It begs to ask the question- should the gap between current educational level be ignored if they're the same age and still in the youth program, or is asking a YW university student out on a date whilst I'm still in high school going too far?

Thanks,

Aussie Mate



Dear Aussie,

Not silly at all.

I think you can ignore the scholastic level; go ahead and ask out those girls that are the same age (plus or minus a year, so long as they're 16 or older) regardless of where they go to school.

That doesn't mean they'll say yes; a girl in university may not have any interest in a guy still in high school (she may be ready for Serious Single Dating, while you, my friend, should still be Casual Group Dating), but I say give it a shot!

For the record, I'm a little more weirded out when a guy who's graduated asks out a girl still in high school. If they're the same age, or within a year, that's okay, but more of a gap than that and I think he falls into predatory territory (say that 5 times fast).

(Also for the record, I think girls can be predatory, too.)

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Follow Up - Dating a Pregnant Girl - Part 2

[Readers - This is Part 2 of a letter that was published on October 4th. You can read the original by clicking HERE.]


Bro Jo,

A couple of months I ago I asked you for advice on a situation with me dating a girl who was pregnant. Well She had the baby and it was adopted. It's been almost 2 months since. I still really like this girl, and she likes me. We've been dating for a few weeks now... We've set solid boundaries physically. I'm trying to stay close to the spirit and pray about this all the time. So far, I haven't felt uneasy or discouraged about the way things are moving. But let's face it, I'm in this relationship and probably have rose colored glasses and all that.

What do you think brojo? Should I go for this? Am I nuts? I'm not worried about being patient, because If this thing works I feel like I'll probably need alot of patience.

Just wondering what your thoughts are and what advice you can give me.

Thanks,

Smitten



Dear Smitten,

If the only thing wrong with this girl is that she made a big mistake 11 months ago, I don't see that as a reason to right her off. I'm sensing from you that she's repentant, working on being temple worthy, and that you're both staying out of trouble. As long as that's an accurate description, I don't think you're nuts at all.

The only advice I have for you at this point is to take things a little slow, enjoy your time together. Get to know her better now that you're both adults.

If things start to get more serious you'll have to have a conversation (or perhaps several conversations) about how to deal with all of that as a married couple, perhaps married with children. My advice there is to shut up about the whole thing. Whether it's this woman or someone else, you need to cultivate an atmosphere of respect for your wife, for the mother of your children. Never, NEVER bring up her faults, past or present, in front of others. There are people, in and out of the Church, that try to ingratiate themselves with their children by confessing past sins to them. I don't know, maybe they think it makes them cool . . . . It's a huge mistake.

If you have a close friend, parent or sibling that knows you both and that you can trust to give you advice with your best interest at heart, ask them. But so far I think you're on the right track.

You're right to be patient,

- Bro Jo

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Tale of Two Girls

Dear Bro Jo,

G'day from Australia!

I should probably warn you now to get comfortable- this is one LONG e-mail :)

Anyway, I met a girl at a church dance from another stake (Australian stakes are geographically HUGE by US standards) a little while back and asked her out on a date. She said yes and we tried to pan something out (going by church standards), but the problem was that Christmas intervened, and I went away on a ward camp, and she went away with her family, and a family member got sick, and school came back before we knew it (school in Australia usually begins late Jan/early Feb). I'd added her on Facebook, and figured out I'd keep trying to get to know her that way instead.

I thought that I'd give things another shot by asking another girl out on a date, who happened to be one of Girl A's friends in the same ward. Her response was a flat 'no' on the grounds that apparently I seemed stalkerish- she said I spoke to her friend way too much on Facebook. During this time, though, she went on a date with a guy from a third stake and we almost had a Facebook fight over the whole affair.

I admit maybe I did get a little carried away, but I've now got this problem- Girl A and I don't even speak to each other anymore and Girl B tries and avoids me on the 'stalker' basis. The only positive is that this other guy and I are fine. To complicate matters even more, the church keeps growing in my area and there's talk of moving the stake boundary near my house (less than a mile away), meaning that we could all end up in the same stake. It's not that I mind moving stakes as most of my local council (I think it's called a county in the US) is covered by this other stake and their chapel is closer, but I'm worried that my reputation might precede me into this stake if I have to move (people talk).

Basically, it comes down to two questions- what do I do about the two girls so I don't seem like such a bad person in their eyes, and how can I fix a stake-wide reputation from going sour, especially if I do end up in the same stake?

Thanks,

Pacific Mate


Dear Pacific,

It's a great pen name, happy to use it.

I think you need to apologize to Girl A.

I don' know if you stalked her or not (it IS entirely possible that Girl B is making it up because of jealousy or whatever), but apologies can go a long way.
And don't do it over Facebook; clearly the technology is getting in the way (it's not just you, many many people have the same problem). Call he, or better yet, go see her.

All you say is "hey, sorry if I was acting like a stalker". That's it. Let her say what she has to say, repeat your apology when she's done, and that's it.

Then stay away from the both of them.

Where you probably screwed up is in asking out her friend; even if it was a Casual Group Date, some girls see that as a violation of trust. I don't agree with that, but they do.

We have no control over the actions of others, only ourselves. The best way to combat rumors that you're a bad guy is to be a good one.

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

I certainly didn't mean to stalk her (although in fairness I can see why they saw it that way). But is there any hope of just being friends with either of them, or should I just stay away from both and see how things go?

Cheers,

Pacific Mate


Dear Pacific,

You should always be kind and polite and friendly, but as for being best pals, well I'm afraid that's out the window.

No worries, though, mate; it was bound to happen anyway.

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

Given my age, I still figure I'll throw my hat in the ring for dating.  If I may ask another question?

There's a girl in my ward who's just moved up into YSA from YW. Her and I go way back to Primary, and I don't move into YSA until middle of next year (I'm 17). She now also happens to be the bishop's daughter.  Is she too old to ask out on a group date, and does her status as the bishop's daughter change anything?

Cheers,

Pacific Mate



Dear Pacific,

No, she's not too old to ask, and somebody's got to take out the Bishop's daughter, might as well be you!

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks heaps

- Pacific Mate

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dating to Convert

[Readers - the following is a follow-up to the column originally posted on October 6. You can jump to the original post by clicking HERE.]

Hey Bro Jo!

I saw you posted my story, which I think is kind of cool actually!

I just thought I'd let you know how I'm doing.

As of the last few months I've gotten my call to (location withheld)! And also was released from being a Branch Missionary and am now the Branch Mission LEADER! It's really crazy, but I love it so much, and I've learned what revelation really feels like.

As for girls, I'm now playing a new game! I have this friend-who-is-a-girl from high school who is Baptist, after General Conference (SUCH a good conference) we were chatting and she asked me what I did over the weekend, well I told her about conference and we talked a lot about things like prophets and the nature of God. She was surprised by my quick answers and asked to know more, so I asked if she wanted to have dinner, and I could answer more of her questions!

It's sneaky, I know, and I'm not actually interested in her as far as relationships go, but recently I stopped missing my ex-girlfriend almost all together. I attribute this solely and completely to the Atonement. Many people believe it only covers sins, but it also can take away our guilt, addictions and even sorrow! Repentance is the act of changing, and if you're honest, the Lord will make up the difference you cannot!

I love being in a position to help others come close to the gospel, and the missionaries call my home EVERY NIGHT with miracles that have occurred for them or others in the Zone (a group of areas in a mission for those unfamiliar with the Mission breakdown)

Your advice makes a difference, and i'm glad for agency that can teach us so much! God Speed Bro Jo.

One Year Wiser! (and closer to salvation)



Dear Wiser,

I think your story will help and inspire others, and I appreciate your testimony of personal revelation.

I think your new "game", though, is a very bad idea.

There's nothing wrong with sharing the Gospel, and nothing wrong with taking a girl to dinner to talk about General Conference, but you shouldn't try to flirt people into conversion. Sure, lot's of great people have been lead to Church membership because of an attraction, but lot's have left once the attraction has gone away. If our goal is to bring people unto Christ, I think it works best if we don't confuse the feelings of the Spirit with the emotions of attraction.

I hope that makes sense. I don't mean to be discouraging, and I appreciate the testimony you've shared. It's okay to ask out a girl (when you're NOT serving a mission) who isn't a member so long as you understand that marrying outside of your faith is not a good idea. If that girl joins the Church for her, not for you, and you end up together, that's great! But is NOT okay to "trick" a girl into thinking you like her so she'll investigate the Church. I hope you understand the difference.

Good luck, elder, and God bless.

- Bro Jo

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Laying it on the Line

Dear Bro Jo,

I am a 20 years old YSA and am having "guy problems". There is one specific guy who I have some feelings for, for 10 years. The feelings are mutual but for some reason anytime they come up we both grow apart after awhile and after a few months we become close again but the same thing happens. Also whenever i move on and start dating someone else he gets upset but wants to be my best friend when the other relationship is over. I'm not sure what is going through his mind. Any ideas how to talk to him about it? I don't want to give up on him but I'm not sure. We just seem to click but it's never been official.

Thanks for any advice!

~CK



Dear CK,

Is this guy post-mission?

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

He has been back from his mission for almost 2 years.

-CK



Dear CK,

Okay. I think you've got to lay it on the line. The guy is 23, you're 20. If he's only interested in playing the field you need to know so that you can move on. If you're the girl he wants (and I think he does, but he either can't see that himself or won't admit it) then he needs to act, and that's only going to happen if you have the talk that you know you need to have.

I say make him dinner.

(This is not the same as asking him out, by the way.)

Invite him to your place or out for a picnic. Knock yourself out making his favorite foods, wear your favorite outfit, look and smell great.

Ask him to bring dessert.

If he hesitates at the invitation, or quires why, don't give it away, just tell him that you'd like to do this. Then, at the point in the meal when you can't keep it in any longer (let the Spirit guide), you lay it on the line.

"Look, we've known each other for ten years. I'm 20, you're 23. We've both dated other people but we keep coming back to each other. Every time I date someone else you get upset. I have feelings for you and it's obvious that you have feelings for me. I'm not going to wait around forever, and I'm not your consolation prize or emergency backup. If this is going to happen, if you and I are going to try being a couple, it's now or never, and I need to know where you stand."

And then . . .

Shut. Up.

Say nothing.

If it feels like you're going to explode if you don't say more, then prepare for the explosion.

You've got to let him digest the information and respond to what you've said. Let him talk until he's done talking. Just sit there and smile and blink and if you're close enough (and I hope you are) touch his arm.

Yes, it's a huge risk, but so much time has gone by that you've got to know. Don't waste the next five years hoping he gets a clue; he won't.

I know it will be horrific if he says he just doesn't feel the same, but you've got to know. Only then will you be free.

We're all sitting on pins and needles here; tell us how it goes.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Are 19 and 25 too far apart?

Dear Bro Jo,

So let’s get straight to my problem.

I’m a nineteen year old girl and I just finished my second semester of school at BYU-I and now I’m off track for the next five months. I have only been home for a week and for some reason my guy friend chose now to tell me that he likes me.

Now I like him too but there are three problems that I can see with this relationship. First, now that we aren’t in school he lives across the country and I don’t know if long distance is a great idea. Next, he just turned 25 and I don’t know if I should be getting in a relationship with a guy that much older then me. Finally, my last relationship was two months ago and I’m not sure if I’m over my last guy yet.

Now once again I would like to say that I do like this guy a lot but I don’t know if I like him enough to deal with the problems that are involved with this relationship. The last thing I want to do is break this guys heart because I really do care about him! So what should I do? Should I pursue the relationship and see what happens or should I end our relationship now while it’s still early and we can concentrate on the people in our own towns and single wards?

Thank you!

- Take a chance?


Dear Chance,

Hey the only way to not break this guy's heart will be either to make him want to date someone else or to marry him. As I've said so many times before, the "friendship" was destined to end one way or the other.

One summer isn't too long to wait for someone, but I think you should go on dates with the guys at home that ask. Keep communicating with your School Guy and don't make any promises or commitments to anyone at home until you've had a chance to go to school and see if there really are sparks between the two of you.

For the record, I don't think 19 and 25 are that far apart, a bit of a stretch, yes, but 20 and 26 are even less of an issue, especially if you care for someone as much as you seem to this guy. Does that make sense?

Stop making excuses.

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you! You are a lot of help!

- Chance

Monday, November 8, 2010

Picking a College

Dear Brother Jo,

I just found your blog earlier today and I immediately thought of something to ask you. I'm 20 and right now I'm focusing on school but someone asked me a couple weeks ago why I chose the school I did when there is not many YSA in this area.

Should that have been something to consider when I was choosing a school? I'm painfully shy and I've always lived in a very spread out stake with very few young men so I've never dated much and it honestly never occurred to me to pick a school based on the amount of young men around. I alway's kind of figured that I'd wait for the guys to come back from their missions and then I'd hopefully have a bit more in common with them and they'ed be a bit more mature.

Do I have it all wrong?



~confused and slightly worried



Dear Slightly,

Choosing a college with a high concentration of people your age that have your same religious convictions makes a lot of sense. Are you more likely to date and marry a Latter-day Saint at BYU than Out-in-the-boonies State College?

Yes.

And no.

Sheer numbers suggest that it's statistically more probable, but reality also tells us that Provo is full of Cougar Co-eds that stay home most Friday nights.

I think you need to pick a college that suits you best. Maybe that's a Church school. Maybe that's a school with lots of LDS young single adults, like Boise State, Arizona State, UNLV or Southern Virginia. Maybe you just need to be active in the University Ward and Institute that's right where you are.

I live outside the Zion Curtain, in a relatively small university town. Lot's of kids, from inside this area and out (including many from Utah) find their spouses here at the local Institute.

And many don't. Some because they don't Serious Single Date (and let's face it: many of you, world wide, don't know how or why), some set spouse standards so high they themselves don't qualify, and others because they (just as you suggested) find the worthy dating pool to be too shallow.

But that's true everywhere; here, where you are; at the Y and around the world.

If you're at a school that's right for you, the only worry you should have is the previously mentioned problem areas . . . And I think you might.

If you wait around for Prince Charming to come knocking at your door, you'll find that you're going to be waiting a long time, likely a lot longer than you plan.

- Bro Jo

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bothered By the People at Church - Part 2

[Readers - The following is Part 2. Part 1 was run last Saturday. - Bro Jo]

Dear Bro Jo,

So I talked to a friend from church about it, and she was telling me how the yw pres was telling her that she HAD to go on all the hikes we'll do at girl's camp this year. It's not possible because she has health problems, but they're like "Oh, you're healthy enough!". She's not.

The yw leaders never try to call me and tell me what's going on for mutual or anything like that. I always end up having to call someone to find out what, when, and where it is because no one tells me otherwise. When I've asked the leaders about stuff they say, "If you were at church on Sunday, you would know." Even back when I couldn't wake up for church if I tried.

I doubt it will help but here's a little background on me: I've been homeschooled for 7 years, my parents got divorced when I was 9, my dad is a jerk and hasn't really gone to church since I was 6 or so, I've moved like 4 times within 4 years, the 2nd youngest of 6, and am usually left out of things. My oldest 3 siblings haven't gone to church in years, and my brother seems to be atheist or agnostic. I'm not sure which.

I will not quit the church like they have, I'm just having a really hard time trying to go when most of the youth/leaders don't care and are so superficial. I've felt like I was completely separate from most of them even when I was going to church weekly. Not better, just separated. Maybe cut off and out. I get along ok with most of them usually, but we're not friends by any means. Except 2 or 3 of them, maybe. We're not really good friends, though. Not feeling like I belong is nothing new. The only place I recently felt like I kind of belonged (other than at home... sometimes) was at work.

This past Wednesday was the combined yw/ym activity. There was only one person that I felt alright around. Everyone else just feels so much younger and kinda thoughtless. It's all "boys/girls, joke around, school, goof off, hit people" and stuff. I want to have an intelligent conversation with someone for once. It's impossible with most of them. I mean if they wanted to, they probably could. But they don't. They only care about how hot so and so is (<--the 12-15 year old girls) or who they can annoy (<-- the 12-15 year old boys). Every time I'm around them, it just gets worse. I've really, really tried to just fake it and deal with it but I can't anymore. I'm going insane. (Seriously, I could probably benefit from seeing a therapist for multiple reasons, not just this.)

That probably doesn't explain it, but that's at least some of it... I think.

- Name Withheld


Dear NW,

I appreciate the additional information, but I’m going to stand by my original advice: I think you’re being too hard on people.

It’s outstanding that you’re firm in your testimony and faith, for that I’m very proud of you!
But your judgmental nature is driving wedges between you and others that just shouldn’t be there.

Are the younger boys at Church often immature? Yeah, they are!

Are some people only superficially interested in you instead of having sincere concern? They might.

Are you struggling with your family? Welcome to the club! (I love my wife and kids and parents and siblings, but if you think everything is dancing trees and signing flowers at the Jo house you’re sorely mistaken.)

But here’s one thing where you must not error: don’t let feelings of loneliness or frustration separate you from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Once you jump that fence you’ll realize two things: the grass ain’t green and the fence is a lot taller than you think.

I'm not saying to be fake, and I'm not saying there aren't brats in your Young Women's group; what I AM saying is that you need to find a way to be yourself, to be kind and open, and to not let the many of us around you that are imperfect become your excuse for falling away.

- Bro Jo

PS: If you feel that you need to see a therapist, talk to your Bishop. He’s not a therapist, but Church Social Services likely will have someone you can see that will help.

Friday, November 5, 2010

How to Get to Know a Boy Better

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi!

So at the last stake dance, there was someone I needed to avoid.  (Yes, needed. He's a jerk). After a few failed attempts to come talk to me and pretty much stalk me halfway to the bathroom a few times, he finally gave up. A little while later I was talking to 2 of my friends about how pretty much all of the guys I've gone on a date with have ended up being jerks or creepers, one of them decides to find a nice guy for me to talk with. She goes up to some guy and I guess she sort of explains the situation (how all the guys have been creepers). Anyway, she pulls me over, introduces us, tells us to talk, then she leaves.

We talked for a while. He likes a lot of the same things I do. Like ballroom dancing, country music, piano, and some other stuff. He's really nice and sweet, but I only talked with him for like 30-40 minutes aaaaaaand... he's going on his mission. This summer, I believe. I wouldn't dream of getting in the way of that, but I still would like to get to know him better. Any ideas on how to talk to him enough so it wouldn't be weird if I were to write him on his mission?

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated!

Thanks,

Cautious



Dear Cautious -

Your letter is the second time in 24 hours that I've felt the need to write something about how a girl can avoid Stalker / Creeper Boys . . . I'll have to give that some thought. Keep an eye out for it in the Facebook Fan Page Notes.

I think your question "how do I get to know him better" is one many Young Women worldwide share. You probably know by now that I don't recommend that you call or email or text him. I take a lot of heat on this for being "Old Fashioned", but I stand by its effectiveness.

If he sends you an email, well to me that's like a letter, so it's OK to email him back.

If he phones you, even if he leaves you a message to please call him back, I don't think you should. (I can hear many of my readers saying "but it's rude not to call back!" I disagree. Simply calling you should not imply some commitment on your part. And the problem with you, as a girl, calling him, as a guy, back is that it gives too much away. See often guys leave messages because it's easier than talking to a girl in person, and he figures that if she calls him back that it means she's confirming that she likes him. Guys actually talk about that stuff. "Dude, call her, leave a message, and then you know that if she calls you back you're golden."

I did it to Sister Jo.

I called her and left a message asking her to call me back.

She didn't.

I was angry.

And indignant.

And eventually, after swearing I'd never take her out again because she'd been so rude, I broke down and called her.

Perhaps I wanted to give her the why and what for.

Perhaps I wanted to tell her what a great guy - me - she would be missing out on.

But when I called she said "I'm so glad you called! I don't call boys and I was afraid you wouldn't think I was worth the effort to call twice."

(Twentieth wedding anniversary is next year.)

So I don't think you should call. I can accept bending the rule a little. If he calls and leaves a message, I think it's OK for you to call back and say "Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I don't call boys, but I'd really like to talk to you, so you should call me right back." And hang up.

He'll call. Trust me.

And you can explain to him that the reason you do that is so you'll always know that he thinks you're worth the effort.

As far as texting goes, I know it's real popular, but it can never replace actually hearing someone's voice (which, by the way, is cheaper).

Quoting me: "Texting is to calling what graffiti is to literature." - Bro Jo

A short message is OK, especially after some level of relationship is established. Sister Jo and I text scores to each other when we have to be at different sporting events. Otherwise we call. And we're married (see anniversary comment above!) - you can't get more "established relationship" than that.

So . . . since I'm telling you not to do all the typical "worldly" stuff, you've got to still be wondering. Here's the List!

"Bro Jo's HOW a GIRL CAN GET to KNOW a BOY BETTER WITHOUT CALLING or TEXTING"

1) Write. A letter. And mail it. In the mail. With a stamp. So much more personal. Sister Jo and I were pen-pals for three months between our first and second dates. (For the record, she doesn't count the first one as a date, but I do.) A note or card that says "hey, I really enjoyed meeting / talking to you" and encloses your phone number (even if you already gave it to him) can work wonders.

2) Use your mutual friends. That's what they're for. Some one knows both of you, have that person pass word to them that you'd like him to call you. Call it juvenile if you want, I don't think it is, and it does work. Having your brothers set up a Casual Group Date and then telling him that he should take you is a great idea as well.

3) Do what you can to be where he'll be. Stake Conference, activities, sporting events at his school . . . if it's not weird show up where he works. Don't stalk him, but remember that if "out of sight out of mind" is true, then the opposite is true as well.

4) Go up and talk to him. He's there, you're there, don't waste the opportunities.

5) Pray. Sister Jo says I don't mention prayer to you guys enough; she may be right. Nothing wrong with asking Heavenly Father to prompt a guy to call you.

6) Stay available. By that I mean "no boyfriends". Dates, yes; boyfriends, no. Nothing turns more guys off than you being seriously attached to someone else. There are girls my boys refuse to EVER ask out because of whom their past boyfriends have been.  I think you young sisters need to be warned about that. Guys actually think about "why would I ever kiss her after she's kissed THAT guy" (and that can be inferred to much more than kissing).

Now, number 6 is NOT to imply that you shouldn't date and perhaps have a serious boyfriend or two while this guy is on a mission. If you're available when he comes back, then you're available, but if you're sealed, then that's even better.

- Bro Jo

PS - I applaud you for going to dances, having the courage to talk to someone new, and your integrity when it comes to not getting in the way of a young man and his opportunity to serve. Keep it up!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Game

Here it goes Bro Jo,

This must be a really fun past time, a time consuming one to be sure, but kinda fun. Just know that you are truly appreciated :0)

I was just reading your latest posts and a couple caught my attention, I clicked on your "How a girl can get a guy to ask her on a date" link and read the suggestions. Now, I have a rather outgoing type of personality and in relationships I usually scare the guy away, or become the best friend... so kind of both of the extremes. I don't particularly like "the game" unless I'm winning, but winning takes patience. Anyway back to my point, the link I clicked on a read. You say to not be over bearing, aggressive, or forward; my question is, how are you suggestions not all of those things?

I would think flat out saying to a guy that he should ask you out would be kind of intimidating for them. Don't get me wrong, I would do it, but I don't think I would have very good luck. Like I said, I'm not a big fan of "the game" so not playing would be my favorite choice.

All in all, how do these date getting plans not scare a guy?

:0) Thinking too hard



Dear Thinking,

What can I say? I'm a sucker for helping young people. (And thanks for the encouragement!)

You make a fair point, but the difference between what I suggest and "overbearing aggressiveness" is in the delivery. The other thing to remember is that a lot of what I right, while true and effective, is also written with humor. You've got to find the approach that's right for you. The "Compliment" and "Lead Him" suggestions might work best for you; neither are too bold.

As for "the game", I'm tempted to point out to you the adage that "you can't win if you don't play!", but I also understand where you're coming from. You want to be honest and sincere, right? And you feel like "game playing" is the opposite of that, right?

But I argue that this whole process is supposed to be fun, so lighten up and enjoy!

Instead of being intimidating, try being a little fun and flirty.

- Bro Jo




Bro Jo,

I try really I do, and I sure hope I am getting better... but to be completely honest, rejection gets so tiring and really causes me to get down in the dumps. I do play, because, like you said... I have to. I guess I just don't know when is the point that I give encouragement... does that make sense? Um, how do I know that he likes me enough to even want encouragement? Yeah yeah that is what I meant... Shanks!

:0) Thinking too much... again





Dear Thinking,

Well . . . you don't use the "How a Girl Can Get a Guy to Ask Her Out" stuff on strangers.

You'll know that he likes you enough because he talks to you a lot, or keeps asking you to dance, or stares . . . stuff like that.

- Bro Jo

Monday, November 1, 2010

What to Talk About on a Date

Hi Brother Jo!

You may remember me from the last letter I wrote, which you titled 'Enjoy the Flattery'.

This time however, I'm writing to thank you and for more advice.

There is a ball coming up in a month or so, and I really like one of the guys in my stake. Well, I read one of your notes about hinting that you would like to go on a date.

I'm considered an outgoing person, but I get a bit shy when it comes to relationships. So, I plucked up the courage and hinted to this guy that I would like to go to this ball with him. A week later he calls and asks me to go with him! So thanks for what you have written, it really does work!

But now that I have this date, I'm worried that it might not go so well. I'm really nervous that I won't have anything to talk about, or that I'll do something wrong. Is there any advice you can give me?

thanks,

Grateful


Dear G,

Well . . . You're welcome!

I got a letter from a guy once, essentially asking the same question, and I wrote the Note:

Bro Jo’s “LIST OF STUFF YOUNG GUYS CAN ASK GIRLS ABOUT WHEN DANCING”

It really works both ways. The point is that there are lots of things to talk about if you focus on learning about the other person, asking them questions about themselves, listening to the answers, and responding appropriately.

Likewise, when they ask you questions, pay attention! That way you can respond intelligently, too.

Give it a read and tell me what you think.

And have fun at the Ball, Cinderella!

- Bro Jo