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Friday, August 5, 2011

Hold Her Hand, Man!

Dear Bro Jo,

I've got 2 questions about the same girl, so hopefully you can help me out a little bit!

1. My first question is about what constitutes a "date".

Here's the situation: Me and this girl (we've both acknowledged that we like one another) decided to hangout one night. Yes, it was just the two of us (which in retrospect may not have been the best situation given the current dating standards). But we went for a walk to get some ice cream (I paid). We walked and talked for a bit, and she ended up taking me to a playground I'd never been to before. We didn't do a whole lot, just sat on the swings and talked. But it wasn't just the normal "Hey, how's life?" kind of deal. We talked about books, and movies, and future goals, and what we want out of life for the foreseeable future. I mean, it was a pretty neat talk, especially considering that's really the first time that's happened between the two of us before. So I walked her home, we hugged goodnight, end of story. My first question is, would this be considered a date?

2. This, I suppose, isn't so much a question, as more of a general plea for help.

A few days after this evening stroll with said girl, we started talking about how we both enjoyed the previous evening and such. And she asked about "an overwhelming feeling of déjà vu" (because we've both had times in the past where we've liked each other, but then drifted apart a little bit). So I was curious about where she was going with it, and I continued the conversation.

Now, I don't remember exactly what was said, but it basically amounted to her saying she wished I had held her hand. I told her I had thought about it all night but put off making an attempt because the last time I tried something like that with her she didn't take very well to the idea, and didn't talk to me for a few days afterwards. So I told her the thought had crossed my mind but I thought better of it because we had finally started becoming really good friends again and I didn't want to try anything that would have resulted in us taking steps backwards, making things awkward, etc. This girl also happens to be one of my best friends, so I didn't want to try anything that might ruin our friendship. And because I'm soon to turn 19, and she's about to move away for school, to try anything of that level I thought would be ill timed. She agreed with me and said she was glad we were on the same page about this stuff.

But then every time I walked her home from church (which I do most weeks, because I like spending time with her and I'm trying to be chivalrous) I was hesitant to even hug her on account of me being afraid of how she'd take it. I didn't want her creeped out or thinking I was looking for anything too serious. So we'd just say our goodbyes and look at each other for a few seconds waiting to see what the other would do, then just walk away. So one day I asked her if she wanted to hangout, and she agreed.

We agreed where to meet, I told my parents where I was going, and they seemed hesitant that it would have just been the 2 of us (which is completely understandable). So I invited some other friends to join us and told this girl last minute. She said she was fine with the idea, but all night she seemed like she had something on her mind, or she was bummed out or disappointed with something. It got me thinking maybe she was upset it wasn't just the 2 of us, which confuses me because I feel like she's sending mixed signals (not that I expect her to leap into my arms or anything, but a little clarity would be nice).

So that night I walked her home, and kept telling myself "there's nothing wrong with a friendly hug when we part company, just man up and do it!" But when I did do it, she seemed a wee bit hesitant like she wasn't expecting it or she was uncomfortable with that notion. So NOW I'm even hesitant sometimes to walk her home. And I don't know what to do! I feel like now it's awkward between us sometimes because we had sort of a "next step" talk. She doesn't really text me as often as she did before, which makes me think she might be weirded out and avoiding me a little bit. But then again, maybe it's all in my head and I'm just way over thinking things. But any help or advice you've got would be fantastic!

- Brother

Dear Brother,

Situation 1. Yes that was, by every definition, a date. And a good one, at that.

Situation 2. Stop "talking about it" all the time, and just reach out and hold her hand, man! At the end of your next Casual Group Date with her (which you should definitely arrange soon), when you're saying Goodbye at the Porch, I say "go for the smooch"! Keep it simple, make sure the timing is right and that said smooch is welcome, but other than that . . .

Look, Brother, as a pre-mish guy (which I hope you are and is implied when you talk about being almost 19), you're right that now is not the time to have a Girlfriend. And you certainly don't want the entanglements or temptations of that right now, anyway. Keep all of your time with this girl (and all other girls, for that matter) chaperoned or in groups, and any "alone time" to under 60 seconds. Your parents were right to be concerned about the two of you alone in the park, but I don't see a problem with you walking her home from Church, so long as it's public and observable and your behavior is above reproach.

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

You remind me of my boyfriend! We had a really long talk about what's appropriate and what's not (before we decided to be an official couple), and I had to tell him it was okay to hold my hand, put his arm around me, flirt with me, etc. We ended the conversation with me telling him I was okay if he wanted to kiss me, too. But I had to tell him this, because he was just clueless about it! Had no idea what to do. Fortunately, I'm an understanding and patient person, and I'm willing to walk him through the proper dating standards as we progress. :)
So it's good that you've asked! Just hold her hand! She WANTS it. She's probably trying to not get her hopes up too high, which is why she's becoming distant. If you don't want her to get too distant, bring her back and hold her hand. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Bro Jo,

I've noticed that often times you encourage kissing. But I myself have noticed that by letting boys kiss me so easily in situations like this that all it does is make my number go up, but it never goes anywhere because, in often cases, they are pre-mish like this young fellow. So while it is a simple welcome "smooch" goodbye and completely harmless at first, the number goes up, and the respect goes down. At least, I hear quite often that the good guys don't like to hear that I've kissed so many people. It leads them to think it'd be nothing special because it appears that I don't think it is, so they steer clear and go elsewhere. And everyone else just gets the idea that I'll kiss just anybody so they go for it just to kiss even if they don't like me so I steer clear from them. And I guess I'm just wondering if you have any thoughts on this. Maybe some advice how to avoid it, and how to know where to draw the line.

Any thoughts are welcome, thank you!!

Dave Johnston said...

Whoa, there Miss Kissy!

Just because I said that it's okay for Casual Group Daters to kiss goodnight at the end of a date, does not mean that you should swap spit with any boy that comes along!

And, for the record, I also said that I thought kissing on the first couple dates was a no-no. So do the math: if you wait until the 4th date to let a guy kiss you good night, and you go on one date a month, and you never date the same guy twice in a row, and never date a guy again after you've kissed him the first time (which makes no sense to me, by the way) . . . that puts you at most kissing 6 different guys between the time you turn 16 and 18.

And let's face it, that number is unrealistically high. So, I don't know how many guys you've kissed, or just how much or what kind of kissing you're doing, but if you're worried about your "number" going up, then exercise some self control and stop kissing everyone!

Saying that it's "okay to kiss" is not the same as "kiss everybody".

At your age kissing isn't SUPPOSED to "go anywhere".

Oh, and you're right: Good Guys are turned off by girls who will kiss just anybody.

Clearly you've done too much kissing, so let's clear up your reputation: cool your jets for a while. No kissing any of your dates (or anyone else, for that matter) unless you:

a) really like them

b) have been out with them at least five times, starting now, but not in a row

and c)are sticking to the "Dating Rules" and "Guide to Kissing" (found in "Bro Jo's Guide to Casual Group Dating")

Keep dating, but stop giving away your kisses.

- Bro Jo