Things to know

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

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, "Dear Bro Jo" is not an LDS Church website. (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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Monday, May 30, 2011

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Dear Bro Jo,

I recently moved to (location withheld) at the start of the year.

The first week I was here I met this girl and asked her out on a date, she accepted and but we never went on that date to due time issues we began to spend time with each other twice to three times a week, the third week I felt this prompting to not ask her out for a time, I told her this and she smiled and thanked me telling me that she would later tell me why God told me this.

I never asked her out again but began to hang out, not dating, when I date I say its a date, I find myself pretty clear in those manners. But as time continued we began to spend more and more time together, about almost two weeks ago she asked me if we could talk and as we did she told me that at the start of January God told her that she was suppose to "enter into the covenant" with this Boy she knew, and was in a relationship with him for a weeks now.

At first I was a little hurt but glad she felt "he" was the one, I really thought I could continue to friends.

We hung out in the same group, texted each other during the day (and sometimes during the night). I prayed and asked God to help me take away my feelings for her and it started to work but as we started spending more time with each other (usually in a group) . . .

I didn't realize until last night while she was with her boyfriend how much I liked her.

I met him last Sunday and thought he was the nicest guy ever, but I will admit It made me uncomfortable to see him cuddle her so much. I really want to be friends and not have these feelings but I'm afraid I need to spend less time with her and the group I created to do so.

I haven't made any moves and I'm not the kinda jerk that would try to tear up a relationship, I just want to be friends and at the same time not have feelings for her. Please let me know if you have any suggestions and if you post this editing might be needed....

Thank you for your time and love you share,


Dear Broken,

How old are you?

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm 22 and have been home from my mission since last April.

I keep strong to the dating rules have had only one serious girlfriend since then who broke up with me on Christmas because we were going to different states.

I am 100 percent honorable to women and never seek to take advantage of them.

(Thought extra info would help.)

Also she's 18 and lives down the hall from me in the apartment complex I live in.

- Broken

Dear Broken,

What you have discovered my friend is exactly why "Men Can't Stay 'Just Close Friends' with Women".

And, let's face it, if you were the other guy and knew that someone had the same feelings for your girlfriend that you have for this girl, you wouldn't want him spending lots of time with her, either.

Now, you can fight for her if you want, but unless her feelings for this other guy change it's a fight you'll lose.

You could hang around waiting for them to break up, perhaps facilitating in the demise of their relationship, but then you'll always be wondering about "what if" some other guy does the same thing to you.

You could wallow and wait, which will get you nowhere with her (this path is incredibly off-putting and pathetic) and nowhere for yourself.

Or you could shake it off and get out there and date some other women, women that are actually interested in you.

That's the one I'd pick.

You're a Good Guy with lots to offer; let this one on go and go get yourself another one. Nothing gets a guy over the last girl quite as well as the next girl.

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 27, 2011

What are guys looking for?

Dear Bro Jo,

So I’m just about sixteen and I was just wondering, what appeals to a guy? What would make a guy want to take me out on a date? and how do I not make a fool of myself so that when I’m older I can be OK with my dating years? I’m not desperate or a total creeper I just wanna have fun and know what I want to look for in a guy.

- Unsigned

Dear Little Sister,

Guys want to go out with girls that are (in no particular order) fun, sweet, and do their best to look nice (you don't have to be a super model to get dates, and in fact, lot's of guys find that intimidating and off-putting). Most importantly, Good Guys who are planning on missions are looking to go out with girls who aren't going to pressure them into the Boyfriend-Girlfriend Thing.

You can find lots of information in my book "Bro Jo's guide to Casual Group Dating", on this website, and our Facebook Fan Page, including some great stuff in the notes pages - check them out!

There's even a discussion on the Facebook page called "What Guys Look for in a Girl" that you might find revelatory.

Have fun!

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Making School Dances Better

Dear Bro Jo,

Wow I didn't know that my other letter would be posted on your blog too! What a neat surprise!
Anyways I will just follow up in that case on Homecoming night, though it was more than a month ago...

Getting ready with my friends and having dinner at someone’s house was REALLY fun.
The dance, however, was kind of just... blah..

My school's gym was decorated nicely and things looked pretty well set-up, but the music was unbelievably loud, and since I had never gone to a high school dance, my eyes were opened and I was totally shocked at how people were dancing. After an hour and a half, I grabbed my purse, said good-bye to my friends, and dashed outta there.

I went down the freeway from the school to my Stake Center, which at the moment was hosting a Stake Dance. I found some younger friends of mine to hang out there, and the remainder of the night went well. CLEAN dancing, and if I might add, I got the chance to dance with two nice guys. I definitely felt more comfortable there.

So I got a dose of homecoming, and I will go to prom later in the year just because I'm a senior and would actually like to go for all of that stuff. So I learned, not getting a date for homecoming and having the freedom to go to a Stake Dance instead wasn't so bad. :)

~Single Sista

Dear Sista,

I'm glad to hear that you had a good time!

If you'll allow, I'd like to use your follow up letter as an excuse to chastise Stake Leadership worldwide.

You're making a serious mistake, brothers and sisters, when you sponsor a Stake Dance the same night as a school dance. We as Latter-day Saints have been admonished to be IN the world. The grinding and groping that this reader saw is a world-wide epidemic. Our children are over sexualized and you leaders who create same-night alternatives are doing nothing to help make the world a better place.

Yes, you're giving your children a better atmosphere, but if you and your kids were at the school dance instead of the Stake Center you could go a long way towards helping those that are not members of the Church enjoy a wholesome activity. Dances don't have to be dirty to be fun, you know that, and so do your kids, but if you continue to hide your light under a bushel . . . well, the school dances will just keep getting worse.

Keep having Stake Dances, by all means. But on the nights of Homecoming, Winter Formal, and Prom, you and your age-appropriate children need to be at the school dance, standing for what's right and participating in the event.

And, while I'm on the subject, encourage your kids to go to dances held in the gyms at other churches, too. And invite those good kids to your dances and LDS Proms. When it comes to fighting immorality and standing for God, we need to all work together.

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 23, 2011

Going Crazy . . . Sometimes

Dear Brother Jo,

I'm 18 and I'm in need of your help!

So I was recently in a relationship that lasted around four yrs. on and off till the February of this year. I ended things because well they were getting out of hand and fighting escalating. We still liked each other after and continued to date but he moved an hour away and I was devastated. During the summer, I went to a camp at BYU and realized that there were so many LDS young men out there and that there are FISH in the SEA! When I returned home (which is not in UT) he wanted to continue the relationship but I refused because I wanted to date other people. He was mad but I didn't change my mind.

So I dated around 7-8 boys and had tons of fun! But realized that I didn’t like any of them at all. Some things I liked but not everything. He got a girlfriend who is LDS too. And he's happy and seems happier so I'm happy for him.

Now a few months later after dating and having fun, I realize I miss him and keep dreaming about him. I miss our old friendship. We were literally best friends. What's a girl to do! We met when we were 13 and thought it was going to last forever. I don't necessarily want to erase him from my memory just not think about him as much and I kinda wish he dated several people so I could still date him. :(

Anywhoo . . . what do you suggest I do? I'm a senior who just recently applied to BYU so the dating pool will be bigger in several months but as of right now I need some advice :P :)

Thanks for everything!

Yours truly,

Bro Jo fan

p.s. In October (I hadn't seen him in 5 months or spoken to him) he came back in town and was a block away from my house& called and said I want to come get my sweater but I told him that I couldn't see him because all my feelings would return. He said the only reason he wanted to come to my house was to see me. He told me he thinks about me too but has a girlfriend and what not. I have not contacted him since and it’s hard because well.. I feel like I'm going crazy sometimes lol

Dear Fan,

Wow. You two are WAY TOO serious for your age.

And there's a ton of red flags here.

1) Any guy who would cheat on his current girlfriend will likely cheat on the girl he cheats on her with.

2) You broke up because of escalating fighting. Sure, that can be a sign of passion (also not a good thing at your age), and yes when we were dating Sister Jo and I got into some pretty heated arguments, but it's not good to keep going back to a relationship that caused so much pain, even if there were lots of good times too.

3) You're totally confused about the purpose of teenage dating. You said that you had "tons of fun" with the 7 or 8 guys you went out with but that you "realized you didn't like them" - Casual Group Dating is not about you falling madly in like with someone, it's about going out and having fun.

What you should do is put this boy and your relationship with him on ice. I'm not suggesting you erase him from your memory, that would be both absurd and impossible.

Sister Jo and I have been together now longer than we've been alive and weren't together; so long in fact that I remember her as being the person I saw movies with which can't possibly be true because I saw them before we met . . . . However, I still remember bits and pieces of previous dates and crushes. (Some of them are fond memories, and some not. You can read about some of the "not" in the Fan Page Discussion "Breakup Stories".)

Maybe he's the guy for you, maybe he'd make a great spouse, and maybe not. The thing is that you've both got some life to live before you have that discussion, and if you keep getting back together (Bro Jo wonders, by the way, just how much of that is physical and hormonal - don't tell me "nothing" because I know just how touchy-feely teens who are in a "relationship" from 14-18 get and have gotten) then the likelihood of you putting things in the correct order gets less and less.

You should still be nice to him, but the coming over needs to stop. No more just the two of you alone time, either. If you want to go on a big Casual Group Date with him once every three or four other Casual Group Dates, I think that's fine, but stick to the Dating Rules.

Don't deny your feelings; just realize what lengths Satan will go to keep you unworthy of BYU and him unworthy of a mission.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Wow you have a lot of wisdom on your shoulders!

Okay . . . I know I have been a bit exclusive but sometimes young teenyboppers think we know best and well we don't. But I think you're right about a lot of things and have really helped open my eyes! I did get too serious. But you aren't quite right on one thing, we never got touchy-feely to tell you the truth and that was the reason for the fighting. I said no and he was furious.

But I am very grateful for your advice it is something I will go to when I need to reassurance or just good advice. My mom says that sometimes I need to realize that maybe that relationship wasn’t love that it was just a habit.

He tried to add me on Facebook but I don't think I'm going to accept. I think that I am going to stay single and keep dating & have fun! :) I won’t forget the memories I had with him but I will move forward and just get closer to my Heavenly Father, focus on school, spend time with my familia and date! :D I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to respond to my email and help me out when I needed it most!

Thanks a million!

Bro Jo fan :)

Dear Fan,

Smart girl. Glad I could help. Proud of you!

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friend is Sneaking Out

Dear Bro Jo,

I saw an ad for your blog site on Facebook, and it interested me so I clicked on it. After reading a few of the letters others have sent you, I decided to ask some advice of you. I have this friend who is 15 and is in 'love', so to speak. She does things with this 'lover' without her parent’s knowledge. I love her deeply, and would like help her in any way possible. Of course I realize that one cannot help one who doesn't want it, but it would make me very happy to see her do the right thing. Her 'lover' is also a good friend of mine, and I'd like to help them both. I'd appreciate any advice you might be willing to offer. Thank you, An Advice Seeker

- An Advice Seeker

Dear Advice Seeker,

What kind of things are these two kids doing? In what way do you want to help them?

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Mostly just going out late at night... In a way that will make them want to do the right thing.

What's your relationship with them? Are you the same age? Are they sneaking out? Do their parents know where they are and what they're doing? Are they just spending time together or is there some physical stuff going on?

The girl is my cousin, and a good friend. We've grown up together as best friends. The boy's family is friends with our family; we've known them for a couple of year now. Yes, we are close to the same age. No, her parents don't know where she is, they're sneaking out at night, in that case they don't know what she's doing.

Got it. The information helps a lot, believe it or not.

As her cousin and good friend I think you need to talk to her. Tell her you're worried about what she's doing, and you're afraid she could get into a lot of trouble. If she agrees and sees the wisdom in cooling things off, then you're okay. If she resists, which is what I expect her to do, and if she refuses to get it together, as one who loves her you'll need to talk to her parents. You don't want to betray a trust, but sneaking out at night with a boyfriend is apt to bring lots of trouble and regrets into her young life. Go to your aunt in confidence and give her enough information so that she can protect her daughter.

Your cousin will be mad, but sometimes being our brother's keeper means losing a friendship . .  in the short-term.  In the long term I think she'll come to appreciate your help.

- Bro Jo

Thank you so much for your advice, your help. I think I can get things worked out so that maybe we can all feel better. Thanks again, and keep up the good work! :)

- Advice Seeker

Thank you. I hope it helps.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Casual Group Dating for the Non-licensed Drivers

G'day Bro Jo,

This question technically no longer affects me, but I thought I'd ask anyway.

When going on a casual group date, is it ok to ask your parents to drive you and your group around? The reason I ask is because in this part of Australia people can't drive unsupervised until they turn 18 (which I recently did, hence it no longer affecting me) and our public transport is about as good as a mud hut for shelter during a tsunami- it's often late and doesn't always get you where you need to go without several changes.

I just can't see how youth are going to get around with dodgy public transport and can't drive themselves.


The Admiral

G'day, Admiral,

I see no problem with parents or an older friend / neighbor / Church member / sibling helping with the transportation; I think it's a great idea!

Just so long as the chauffeur doesn't allow back-seat tonsil hockey . . .

Of course, now that you're a licensed driver, the chauffeur may be you!

Great question.

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 16, 2011

Treading with Caution

Hey Bro Jo,

A long time member of my ward mentioned a couple weeks ago that her non-LDS Granddaughter expressed interest in coming to our ward. This older member was pretty excited but didn't really know what to do with her Granddaughter when she came. The member approached my Mom who is a primary teacher of the ward's 3-year-olds and asked if her Granddaughter could hang out with my Mom in her class since she knew her Granddaughter likes kids. My Mom told me about this and I thought it would be cool to hang out with her and take her where around with kids her age. We're both within the same year or so of each other so we would be in the same Sunday school class anyway.

Now, to be completely honest I remember meeting this young lady when I was about 8. Her and I both went to a Young Women's boating trip when my Mom and her Grandma were Young Women's advisors. This member's Granddaughter came to an Ice Cream and Pie ward social a couple months ago but I didn't get a chance to talk to her. I told this member that I would be happy to hang out with her Granddaughter and take her around church and she seemed to get pretty excited about it.

I found this young woman on Facebook and wanted to know if it would be creepy to send a friend request and just say "Hey! I remember you from when we were younger and heard you were interested in coming to our ward with your Grandma. I would love to hang out with you and show you around." Or would it be better to let this member just get her Granddaughter to come, meet her, take her around church, and THEN friend request her/ hang out with her, try and get her to spend some time with the ward youth to get her more comfortable/get to know her more. Alternately, if I met her and got her to to come meet everyone and hang out before church she might be more comfortable and know a few more people when she did come to church and it wouldn't be a totally alien experience for her.

I would love to get to know her and make her a friend since I always love meeting new people, but I want to be as cautious as possible. In the event that this young lady decides she does not wish to continue coming to church for whatever reason should it happen, I DO NOT want it to be because of something I did. The way I see it there are numerous obstacles in the way of jumping into religion, many of which deal with the social aspects, not knowing anyone, not wanting to be judged, etc. So it would be in anyone's best interest in removing as many social obstacles as possible so that the investigator can focus on finding their Spiritual answers and gaining a testimony rather than feeling uncomfortable, lonely, or out of place. I want to tread lightly so this girl doesn't think the dang Mermons are coming for her, but I would to be bold enough to offer her friendship.

What are your thoughts on this, my good friend?

-Rico (That's not my real name)

Dear Rico,

I've been thinking about this all week, and I think you should send her a message through Facebook (you can typically do that before you make a friend request) saying just what you said before: "hey, heard you were coming out soon, I'd love to show you around when you get here". If she responds in any kind of positive way, then place the friend request. If she doesn't respond, don't give up, but do back off a little. She may not check the page often, or doesn't feel like she remembers or knows you well. In that case just wait until you see her, and when you do say a casual "hi". Engage her in conversation if she responds then. Maybe offer to show her to class or introduce her to some other kids your age. Stuff like that.

You're wise to be cautious, and I appreciate that you're putting missionary opportunities before romance, even though that might be nice, too.

Once you meet her, don't get caught in the "Facebook" trap; get to know her in person, don't hide behind the technology. (The same thing is true for texting, by the way.)

As you said, tread lightly, but to take a little initiative.

Let me know how it goes,

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 13, 2011

No LDS Young Men to Date?

Dear Bro Jo,

I am a 14 year old girl. I live in (location withheld) and there are only 3 young men in my ward one of which is my 12 year old brother. The other two guys are 17 and 18. We live around 45 min away from the stake center so we don’t see much of other youth. When I’m old enough to date there won’t be any available young men left to date. I not sure what to do than about dating when that time comes. Also another question I had was when it’s the right time to start looking for a eternal companion (not for awhile for me) how do you know that he is the right man?


Young and wondering

Dear Wondering -

These are great questions!

When you turn 16 it will be time to start Casual Group Dating. By then new Young Men may move in, and even if they don't, as long as you follow Bro Jo's Dating Rules for Teens, there's no reason why you need to limit your Casual Group Dating to only LDS guys. Look over the rules and discuss them with your parents.

For an LDS Young Woman who has set the admirable goal of being sealed for time and all eternity in the Temple, Serious Single Dating should start once she's 18 and graduated high school, but don't be concerned if you're actively looking but don't find a suitable husband until you're older.

All things are best when they happen on the Lord's timetable, not ours. Our job is just to be the best, and do the best, we can.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When Jerks Attack

Dear Brother Johnston,

My name is (withheld) I am 18 years old.

A few weeks ago I had an incident where I was coming home from a movie night at friend’s house and I was groped in my apartment building.

I was very upset about it and reported the guy and he got in a little bit of trouble. This is not the first time something like this has happened but it’s the first time I really told anyone and reported it (the first few times I felt to embarrassed and ashamed to tell anyone). I had two other incidents like this in high school (once while actually in class and another time on a school trip one of these boys was even LDS) and pretty much since I turned 14 I have had men and boys make inappropriate comments about my looks.

I was wondering I guess if you have any advice on how to get guys to actually show me a little respect. I am kind of shy and I have just felt so shocked when these incidents have happened that I didn't know exactly what I should do. I am kind of shy and confrontation freaks me out. Is there any way to politely tell someone to back off if they start getting out of line? Am I just too nice about it? What kind of things would make a guy think this behavior was ok?

I was not flirting with any of these guys I do get told I am kind a lot though and that I have a friendly face( I smile a lot I guess), I were modest clothing and I try and make sure that I don't go to places I feel uncomfortable at and I don't have a bad reputation so I'm not sure why this keeps happening but it makes me feel pretty crappy and I'm sick of it and I am sick of feeling a little bit scared when I am around guys. For most of high school I had no desire to date and for a while didn't even think I would get married cause I thought that pretty much every guy my age was a jerk.

I did meet an awesome guy though and we dated during my senior year he is currently on his mission now and I really do love him( I know you disagree with this but I am currently waiting for him) and if it weren't for him I am pretty sure I would still think all guys were jerks. But back to the point what should I do if or say if I think a guy is starting to be inappropriate or starts to make a comment that’s not ok?


Annoyed and a Little Scared

P.S. Also just so you know I don't tell my boyfriend about any of this stuff in my letters I really try to be positive and encouraging I know he doesn't need to stress about stuff like this while he is gone.

Dear Scared,

I understand that you've felt embarrassed, but you shouldn't be. Unwelcome groping is a physical assault, and should be dealt with appropriately. In general I advocate punching, slapping and yelling. Unless you're married and the action is welcome, no woman (or girl) should be groped.

The fact that this has happened to you often raises some questions. Who are these guys? Strangers? Dates? And what is the situation that is making them feel its okay to grab you?

You said this last one was in your apartment; what is a guy doing alone with you in your apartment? Was he some random stranger walking by?

And, if you please, when you say "groped", what do you mean? What exactly is going on?

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

The first time it happened I was 15 and in a science class.

I had recently moved to the town and the teacher had me sit in front of this one guy. Everyday him and his friends made comments about my chest. I tried to ignore it and I would were baggy sweaters for the whole class period a lot of times so that hopefully they wouldn't say those things to me.

One day the guy had said something and I just ignored him and he reached and touched my chest I turned around and told him off and him and his friends just laughed the trimester ended a week later though so than I didn't have to deal with him. The second time I was just barely 16 and I went out of town for an FFA competition with the school the first night we spent at log cabins.

We had a movie night with about half the kids in one of the cabins. I was talking to my cousin who was also on the trip and so I got there later than everyone else so all the couches were completely taken up and behind the couches there were two beds but each one already had a boy on it so I just stood up behind a couch.

A few minutes into the movie one of the boys told me to come sit down and pulled me over. I sat and it wasn't too weird at first and then he started to give me a back massage which I thought was a little strange since I hadn't really talked to this guy much. He stopped after about five minutes though and we just watched the movie and then at one point one of the characters said something about "Bro's before hoes" to his friend and the guy on the bed says I would have picked the girl and pulled me down onto the bed so that he was to the side of me and he put his arm around me. It went from feeling a little awkward while watching this movie to me being completely uncomfortable.

I tried to push away but he would just hold me down tighter and tighter I tried to tell him I couldn't see the movie so he should let me go and he just said " Well you will have to come watch it at my place than". Nobody knew what was going on cause they were in front of us though. Also I am really tiny I'm only 5' and weighed about 110 lbs this guy was about 6' and weighed a lot more than me. The guy started to move one of his hands up and down my thigh I tried to push away a few times more but he would just hold tighter I stopped pushing and just put both of my hands around my chest so he couldn't touch me there at least, one of the girls in front got up and got a drink of water and then glanced over she went and sat down and didn't say anything than though. He let go of me a few minutes before the movie ended and I left back to my own cabin.

The next day at breakfast he wolf whistled when I walked in and said something to the guys at his table that I couldn't hear and they all laughed. We got on the bus soon after and he told me I should come sit with him I told him I was going to take up front.

The girl who had gotten up to get some water the night before came up and started to talk to me she started to ask me if me and this guy were going out I told her no and I didn't why he had done that. She told me she would look out for me too. The rest of the trip was not fun at all every time we would go out somewhere he would try touching me somehow.

There was a group of girls around me at all times though from that point so he didn't try much besides trying to give me back massages and try to get me to go on walks with him. This guy was a complete creep he even somehow tracked down my number and called and asked me on a date. I said no and to this day I still have no idea how he got my number.

The third guy was with his friend in the lobby of the apartment building I got there pretty late around 11 and those guys had obviously been drinking (I live in college housing in Oregon) I walked in and one of the guys came up and tried to talk to me.

I got my mail and said "ok, goodnight" and the guy said he wanted to talk to me more and followed me as I walked up the stairs I got to my floor and again said k goodnight. The guy asked me if he could come in with me and I told him no and that I have a boyfriend he said please and I said no. He then tried to kiss me and I backed away. And he said fine than and tried to give me a hug and as I backed up he grabbed my chest I told him that wasn't ok and he just laughed and said sorry.

I went into my apartment and set my stuff down and told my roommate what had happened. And then I went back downstairs and told this guy off in front of his friends who were kind of just laughing at him until I told them I would be reporting them all. I did report them and they got a warning and he apologized to me in front of the office people. This was the only situation I ever told my parents about either they still don't know about the others. This guy was a stranger and by groped I mean grabbed my chest.

Thanks for taking the time to read all of this and answering back by the way.

- Scared

Dear Scared,

Like I said, no woman should be groped, but you've got to stop being a victim.

Seriously. Take a self defense class, or better yet, coordinate a class for all of the sisters in your ward or women in your building.

What these guys all did was wrong, but your reactions have all been way understated. You need to learn how to slap a guy, carry a rape whistle, and figure out how to notify authorities.

The instant boys tease a little girl about her figure she needs to stand up for herself, telling them to stop. If they don't she needs to go to a teacher, principal, parent or Bishop.

A girl should never sit on a bed with a guy that isn't her husband, especially in the dark. Whether on a date or at a party, if a guy touches her in an inappropriate way she needs to tell him clearly, forcefully, and in no uncertain terms to knock it off. If he doesn't she needs to get out of there and get somewhere safe (I'm an advocate of what we football coaches call "using violent hands" in these situations - that means slap, punch, scratch, whatever is needed to reinforce your point if needed).

Before a strange drunk guy gets close enough to cop a feel, put your keys between your fingers, poking out like claws, and turn and face him. Tell the piece of human toilet paper that if he doesn't go away you’re going to scream for help and you're prepared to permanently scar him if he comes any closer. If he takes one step closer, start screaming for help, drop anything you're carrying, and brandish those keys like this won't be the first eye you've removed.

No joke.

Unless you stop giving off the aura of a victim, you're going to continue to be attacked.

Stand up for yourself!

Now, I want you to understand that I'm not blaming you for these incidents. What these jerks did is not your fault; I just want you to be ready to take care of yourself in the future. The person attacked never deserves to be assaulted.

Be Strong.

I'm praying for your safety.

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 9, 2011

Saying Goodbye at the End of a Date

Dear Bro Jo,

This isn't really as serious as the other questions you answer for people (myself included) but I was wondering what you think is the right/proper/just a good way for a girl to say goodbye to her casual date? A hug? Awkward handshake? Just say bye and go into your house? This question has caused a couple of pretty odd and strange goodbye's on dates for me personally...


Awkward Goodbye

Dear Good,

Well . . . that all depends.

In general, I think saying "thank you for taking me out" and a quick a-frame hug is good. If the guy was a jerk then I'm not sure you should even wait for him to open your car door; sprinting in your house without looking back might seem more appropriate.

If it was a nice date, and he's a nice guy, but you don't want to give him the wrong impression or just aren't ready for hugging, letting him walk you to the door and saying thank you is fine.

If your unasked question is "can you kiss him?", well . . . for that let me refer you to "Bro Jo's Guide to Kissing", found in the "Casual Group Dating" book and on-line HERE.

The only other thing to add is, despite what you see in the movies, good bye is at the door, not inside your home.

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 6, 2011

Is She Giving Him Mixed Signals?

Dear Bro Jo,

I am a 26 year old single man. Boy did this last conference put the pressure on. While I have often struggled finding someone, I am currently in a relationship with a woman that I am quite in love with. We have only been dating about six months, and I do have some small concerns, but feel that moving ahead is wise.

She says that she loves me too, and we broke up a couple months ago for a couple weeks, because she wanted to serve a mission, but changed her mind saying she couldn't live without me. However when the topic of marriage comes up, she feels conflicted.

She feels like she could do better, and while she says it makes sense to get married, and the physical attraction is strong, her emotion just isn't into it. What should I do? What can I do to close the sale if you will, I don't want to pressure her, but I want to court her, and I struggle finding that line. I don't want to ask her to marry me if she's not sure, because I worry she would say yes and then back out.

Thanks Bro Jo,

Getting mixed signals

Dear Mixed,

I think you need to stop making excuses.

Do you want to marry her, or not?

If you do, then propose. If you don't, move on. If you're not sure, move on.

Although I've got to tell you , it sounds to me like you are sure, and frankly, that she is, too. It's just that she wants you to take decisive action. She wants you to reassure her of that which you both know.

It's called having faith, my brother.

Look, one of the reasons all of us old guys think that all of you young guys have no excuses for not being married by the time you're 23 is that we've gained the distance and experience to know that what makes a good wife is faith, hope and charity; and we think that if all of you would just stop being selfish and self-centered you'd stop procrastinating and get married. But it's like everything else: if you want to find a good wife, you've got to be the type of guy that will be a good husband.

Now, let me focus on the one truly disturbing thing in your email: you said that this woman thinks she can do better than you. Brother, if she actually said that, if she honestly feels that way, get out of the relationship now. Break it off and tell her why. Look her dead in the eye and say "so much of me wants to propose to you, but I never want to be in a relationship where I'm worried that I'll always be the consolation prize; if you change your mind, please let me know, but until then, we're done".

The world is full of misguided, and honestly, stupid stupid stupid people who abandon their marriage and their families because they think they can "do better". Don't even start down that road. There are too many great women in this world to pick from.

My hope is that you're either wrong, exaggerating, or that you putting it to her will help her realize that she's wrong.

But whatever your path, stop sitting around.

Oh, and by the way, six months is plenty of time to figure out whether or not a person will be a good spouse and companion for you. Check out "Bro Jo's List of Stuff You Need to Know Before You Get Engaged".

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Who Pays Once You're Committed?

Dear Bro Jo,

First off, I really enjoy reading your column, it's very helpful (and entertaining!)

I wanted to ask you your opinion on who should pay for the dates, mostly after a serious relationship has been established. I've heard of various approaches, alternate paying, guy pays for everything or whoever organizes the date pays. Frankly, I think that if a guy wants to continue seeing you, he should have to pay for the dates.

Thanks for your help!


Dear M -

Until you're married, the guy should pay for all of the dates. It's a similitude of a husband's responsibility for the financial support of his family. Girl-ask-guy dances and similar events are the rare exception.

However, it also needs to be said that dates need not cost much money, in fact, some of the best dates are free! Dating, particularly in a committed relationship that is hopefully leading to marriage (which is, after all, the POINT of being in a committed relationship), is about spending time together, about getting to know each other better. (How else will you be able to know the answers to "Bro Jo's List of Stuff You Need to Know Before You Get Engaged"?)

Back in 2009 I wrote a column that included some inexpensive date ideas called "Good Dates". You can check it out HERE.

One more thing: while the guy should pay for the date, I also believe that the girl can (and should) contribute.

Going for a walk in the park? You can make the picnic lunch.

Going to a movie? Make cookies or caramel popcorn.

Going to watch the stars? Make the foil dinner that will be cooked in the campfire.

See the difference?

Frankly, one of the best ways in any culture to show a man that you're a woman worth spending lots of time with is by showing him just how domestic you can be.

Now, once you're married, I advocate putting all of your money in the same account, and since all income belongs o both of you, "who pays" is no longer relevant.

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Fiancé, Pornography and a Mission - Part 2

Thank you Brother Jo,

We had talked again last night and it was really amazing. I haven't been the closest with the Lord recently, but I really could feel Him looking out for me last night. I had asked my, well, friend now why he wanted to go on a mission and was describing all these wonderful spiritual feelings (and really intense, too), something I honestly didn't want to hear.

Just when I felt myself "losing" him and all hope I felt the Spirit strongly say that what he was saying is true, that he needs to serve this mission and that I'll be okay. With the help of the Lord I was able to let go, right then during the conversation. We're no longer engaged, in fact we're "just friends". I told him I'm still going to be supportive of him, but that's all. The Lord has a reason for me not getting married to him right now and I need to use my own time now (not just "the time he's on his mission") to find out what my "mission" is and work towards fulfilling it.

During the conversation last night I found out something else he hadn't been straightforward with me about: Not too long ago he slipped up and looked at pornography again. It... hurt a lot to find out that he felt too embarrassed to tell me until now, especially when I've been so understanding and supportive of him. The only reason he said anything was because we were talking about when he'd be ready to leave and I had been under the impression that he'd be sending in his papers soon.

I had to read your letter twice, and my friends have been telling me similar things, but you're right.

He said he'd already talked with his bishop again about it, but I had the right to know that kind of thing (because we were engaged; I don't have that right anymore) and he hid it from me. Though I haven't wanted to admit it, there were several other really important things he never told me about until he absolutely had to, even to the point of putting my health at risk.

(Most personal note yet: After a long period of pressure from him I convinced myself that sex was okay with him because we were getting married. I knew he'd had sex with his last girlfriend, but he hadn't told me that he'd never gotten himself tested for any std's or sti's. I'd been shattered then, but I told myself he loved me and it was something that had just slipped his mind, a defense he told me that I accepted.) (After note: I'm commenting more on this topic later...)

And he is supposed to serve a mission.

One of the thoughts I'd been struggling with was "What if he decides to stay now? Why would he even do that?" and the thought of obligation had come.

I've had a transformation within myself. The pride has melted away, even the pride that was keeping me from including in my original letter to you another part of my relationship with his guy that was rather important. I haven't talked with my bishop about it, but I'm already moving forward with the full process of repentance.

I was scared and I still am, but now I know that the Lord doesn't hate me because of that mistake. In all honesty a letter on your blog just a bit earlier also scared me because I was afraid no one would ever want to marry me anymore. I can understand now, though, that there is someone out there, multiple someones because there isn't just one man for each person, even me, that will forgive me just as the Lord has and will allow my slate to be wiped clean.

(I understand consequences and I will deal with them, but I'm learning that part of the consequences is not that I'll never be married to a wonderful man a temple of the Lord.)

Last night I'd gotten caught up in everything and was going to still wear the engagement ring, but as a necklace, but I can't do that anymore, either. He keeps saying how he couldn't take the ring back from me, but it's not right to burden me with keeping it, either. That is something I'm truly going to make him take responsibility for, something I haven't always been the best at.

It still seems, at least to me, that I'm still a bit all over the place in my writing, but my thoughts are a lot more focused now. The Lord has a plan for me and now that I've accepted that I need to keep living my life because its value was not contingent on my ex-fiancé.

Thank you for helping me move on more quickly and more fully. I knew you would be straight with me and that I wouldn't have a chance to argue. That's what I needed and it has helped so much. Thank you, Brother Johnston.


Certain and Slowly Moving Forward

Dear Moving Forward,

Life is not a sprint, it's a marathon. Hang in there, and always trust in the Lord.

Oh, and tell him that if he doesn’t want the ring back, that’s fine (it IS your property since it was a gift and he’s the one that withdrew the proposal), but I think you should put it away with the idea that you’ll sell it when you get engaged to someone else or enough time has passed.

- Bro Jo