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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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Long Distance Romeo by Text

Dear Bro Jo,

I've been following your blog for a long time now, and whenever I have a boy or relationship problem I try to think what advice you might have for me. It's been pretty helpful, but now I need to get it straight from you. I have lots of questions I'd like to ask you (your advice is more helpful than my friends’) but I'll go with the one I don't think you've touched on yet: How do you feel about long distance relationships? Do they work?

My situation isn't exactly a relationship, but it's a lot more than friendship, and I don't know what to do. This guy likes me, I like him; we're both 16. We've been 'friends' for over a year now, and there's usually a lot of flirting going on. I like him more than a friend, and I want to date him, but there's also the matter of living states away. Should I forget about all of it? Or pursue it? Or just ignore it all together? Absolutely any advice would be helpful right now, I have no idea what to do...

-Dare for Distance?



Dear Distance,

Well . . . since I don't advocate (my twelve year old daughter always puts this word in air quotes) "relationships" for 16-year olds, I'd say there's not much you should do. Unless he happens to visit where you're at and sets up a Casual Croup Date, you shouldn't go out with him at all. That may change when you're in college and he's home from a mission, but for now . . .

Long distance is a strain on any relationship, and shouldn't be attempted unless the two people already know each other well enough for there to be a commitment (like an engagement or marriage). This, by the way, is why missionaries should not have a . . . "relationship" back home; the distance by definition makes the . . . "relationship" a distraction.

Be friendly, write letters (the occasional email is okay), but no late-night texting (in fact, I'd say little to no texting at all); give up on anything "relationship"-ish with this guy; now is not the time.

People use the "long distance" thing as a crutch, often because it feels safer. In fact, I'd argue that people will mistake longing-because-of-distance for real feelings; how well can you really know another teen that you never spend time with? You need to be going on Casual Group Dates with boys in your own area. Spend your energies on that. The Jo boys will tell you that a girl claiming to have a boyfriend "out of state" (or any boyfriend, really), pining over some guy, is a huge "never ask that girl out" turn off.

Don't burn any bridges, but don't pursue anything either.

- Bro Jo



Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks Bro Jo, that's helped a lot just by reading it. Another question, if you don't mind...most of the regular communication we have is online or through texting. I think I've gotten comfortable just expecting text messages from him every night, but if it's something you don't think we should be doing, how do I stop? I don't want to ignore him or be rude and just stop replying. So what should I do about that?

- Distance


Dear Distance,

In my Old Guy opinion, I think Texting is addictive and is even less personal and less communicative than email. Texting late at night, particularly once one has gone to bed, can be spiritually and morally dangerous (I wrote a column about this in November called "In Bed with Your Phone Friend" about this very thing).

Instead of ignoring him altogether, perhaps set some limits like:

- no texting after 8pm" (meaning that time for whomever is in the later time zone)
- no texting if you're with other friends (if he texts you, wait and text him back later)
- no texting if you're feeling super emotional

Stuff like that.

Parents can be very helpful in these situations; if you need to ask yours to make the above house rules. (The Jo boys have come to Sister Jo and I more than once saying "so no dating until we're 16 even if a girl asks me out, right?"

We say "right", and they say "good!"

- Bro Jo

Monday, June 27, 2011

So . . . the Boyfriend-Girlfriend Thing Came Up . . .

Hey Bro Jo!

I have gone on a couple dates with this guy...and the whole "boyfriend" subject came up....

Every family has a few rules in addition to the "For the Strength of Youth" so we were just talking about it and I wanted to know in your opinion if this is safe

be bf-gf, only double dates, and no kissing...

Love,

16 with a Boyfriend?



Dear 16,

Safe?

Safer than what?

Look, I know that much to my chagrin and consternation you teens, especially girls, are predisposed to the notion of being in a committed relationship. It brings comfort and confidence. Being in a relationship is an assurance of attractiveness, and you think it will eliminate a bunch of other worries as well (like: "who's going to take me to prom?" and "does that person like me?").

And I'm not so naive as to think that you all don't get in relationships all the time. Even the Jo Boys have had girlfriends . . . believe me, I understand the appeal. But no, it IS NOT a good idea. I don't recommend it. At all. There's nothing you can do, no rules, no boundaries, no limits, to guarantee any kind of . . . "safety".

[Tangent time.  Parents - once a child is "in a relationship" it's often best to let it take it's course, offering well placed, but infrequent advice, and praying that the darn thing doesn't get out of hand.  Take care not to object to loudly, lest Romeo think that only Juliet loves and understands him.  DO NOT make the mistake of openly encouraging a relationship, even if the kids are still very young!  It IS NOT "cute", it IS NOT "harmless", and it IS NOT "okay".]

The problem is this: commitment brings familiarity and comfort, and familiarity and comfort encourage physical stuff. Even if the girl isn't interested, by chemistry the boy is. I'm sorry, it's just the way we're wired. (Well, I'm not THAT sorry.) You need to know that, in general, while girls get into relationships for security, boys get into them for kissing and touching. I don't care what he says, no guy makes a commitment without the hope that kissing and touching will happen. Oh sure, lot's of guys will argue about that. All of them are liars. (Yes, it's that absolute; all of them. Lying. Guaranteed. Even the gays and the eunuchs.)

Plus, by being in a committed relationship you totally eliminate going out with any other guys, and in your teen years you're supposed to be learning what kinds of guys you like. You can't do that by only dating one of them.

[Another tangent. You may not know this, but lots of guys won't even consider dating a girl who's been in a previous relationship solely based on whom she was in a relationship with. Girls are often the opposite, I know, actually finding guys more attractive if they've previously had a girlfriend (especially, Sister Jo says, if that previous girlfriend is widely acknowledged as pretty). Guys, on the other hand, will say (and think) "I would never go on a date with her because she dated so-and-so and he's a total (insert adjective here), plus the last thing I want to do is kiss her (or hold her hand or whatever) if she kissed (or held his hand or whatever) that guy. True. At least it's true with Good Guys. Bad Guys often thing "well, she made out with that loser; it should be easy to get her to make out with me". Also true.]

Last, but not least, you need to realize the Future Drama that you invite into your life when you have a teen relationship. See, the relationship you get into now will end in one of two ways: marriage or breakup. If it's not leading to one, it's leading to the other. You, and all teens, need to understand that the purposed of a committed relationship is to get married; or to at least find out if you want to marry this person or not. That's why it's Very Smart to get into relationships as a Young Single Adult, and Not Smart to be committed as a teen. When you break up with this guy, whether by his choice or yours, the pain and drama (at least for one of you) will be increasingly unpleasant the longer you've been together.

As the Jo boys will tell you, it's not worth it.

Safe?

Not really.

Likely?

Maybe.

But, IMHO, not a good idea.

Stick to the Dating Rules and Casual Group Dating. Go out with this guy, but no commitments. And go out with other guys, too!

- Bro Jo


PS: You may want to check out "Bro Jo's Guide to Relationships" for more information.

Friday, June 24, 2011

He's Desperate for a Second Date - Part 5

Dear Bro Jo

I actually wrote to you a month or two ago in regards to my dating frustrations. You suggested that I go on 3 dates and give you some feedback. So here goes...

The last 3 girls I have been out with are all LDS, and ones I have met at YSA activities. The thing that attracted me to each of these women was their spirituality and maturity.

Girl #1. I was in an Institute class with her, and was extremely impressed with her contributions to class discussions. So I sat next to her the next week, introduced myself and started chatting about Institute. I encouraged her with her great gospel living. I also said that I wanted to get to know her more and would she like to go out on the weekend? She accepted and we had an enjoyable date. The day after I called her to thank her (and to ask her out again). She used the usual rejection line "You're an awesome guy, but I don't want to go out again". I'm always prepared for rejection (serving a mission and asking hundreds of girls for dates has given me great experience), but I didn't expect this girl to say that. She gave nothing but green light signals on our date. Perhaps I will try her again in a few months.

Girl #2. This girl I had known for a number of years. We had been on a date or two a long time ago, but when I was talking with her, I was prompted to ask her out. Again, the date was great - but it just felt like a catch up session with an old friend you haven't spoken with in a while. She expressed on our date that she saw me as a "brother", so there is no foreseeable future for a relationship there.

Girl #3. A little different here. I just saw this girl across the room with some of her friends (mostly mutual ones) and I went over to join the conversation. I began to focus more on her, because I was prompted to ask her out even though she didn't seem too keen. We did go out, but I couldn't help the feeling that she was only there to be nice. I would rather not be on a date with someone who doesn't want to be there, so I made an extra effort to make the time productive and enjoyable for us both. When I called her the next day, she was very appreciative of my efforts and kindness. Although she wasn't attracted to me (I think she liked someone else), she couldn't believe that I was still single! A very nice compliment - among the best I've received. :)

So, that's a little of what I've been trying. I'm still no closer to marriage - or even a relationship - but I hope you can see that I am taking responsibility and improving myself.
Where do you think I should go from here, Bro Jo? Should I go and hire a personal dating coach - like Hitch from Hitch? (very funny movie by the way) I look forward to hearing from you soon. Happy new year! :)

Regards

D




Dear D,

You should keep doing what you're doing, but I also think you need more information. That doesn't mean hiring a dating coach (if there is such a thing), but it may mean either getting more information from these girls or a trusted friend (perhaps a Bishopric member) that knows you and your situation well.

For example:

With Girl #1 (whom, by the way, you should have waited a day or two to call - the next day is too soon), I think you were entitled a follow up question. "Okay, well can you help me out here; I thought we had a pretty good time, you're a nice girl, I'm a nice guy, why don't you want to go out with me again?"

With Girl #2 I think you should have pressured her to clarify that statement (I had something similar happen, by the way; a girl I was head-over-heels for told me we were "too good of friends" to date - which we both know is a load of garbage - I found out years later that she really liked me but didn't want anything too serious at that point in her life); you're right, the "brother" label is a nice way of saying she's not interested in you, but you need to take advantage of that and find out from her WHY she's hanging that label on you: "well okay, Sister, help a brother out; what is it about me that girls find so undatable?"

And with Girl #3 you could have parlayed that into another date opportunity with someone else: "thank you, that's the nicest thing I've heard; I don't suppose you have a friend, roommate or sister that might feel the same?" (Girls LOVE to set up guys they've gone out with - when it doesn't work out - with someone else; they see it as a win-win.)

Information proceeds revelation; you can't know what to do or fix, or even that you need to do or fix anything, until you have more data. If you can go back and get the data from these girls (and I say it's never too late), you should. You also need to talk to someone there that knows you well (again, like a buddy and/or bishopric member) to find out what's going on.

You didn't mention what your dates consist of, and that may be helpful, too.

Keep dating.

The only other thing I can tell you, until you and I have more information, is that it sounds like you might be too picky. (Didn't I mention that before?) At your age, three dates in three months is not enough. That doesn't mean that you have to go up and ask random strangers for dates (all though I am impressed that you went up to the girl across the room.) Widen the circle. Meet more people. Ask out that shy girl in the corner that may not be your ideal but might just turn out to be a wonderful person; that girl at the activities who's roommate always gets asked out but not her. Take that girl to dinner that your friends think you should go out with, but you've always come up with some excuse not to ask.

Be patient.

And don't give up.

Report back with more information and after you've logged three more dates (which should only take a month!)

Good luck!

- Bro Jo

Thursday, June 23, 2011

He's Desperate for a Second Date - Part 4

Dear Bro Jo

I would say that the women I ask out fall in either b) or c). I'm certain that there are women who don't like me - and that's fine, that's their decision. But most of the LDS girls I know just don't wish to date anyone at all. They are quite content to just "hang out" with a guy until they've had their fun.

As I have explained previously, at my age I don't have the time to just "hang out" or to be in a non-progressive relationship. Just yesterday, I was talking to a couple of female acquaintances of mine who felt that it was a perfectly acceptable approach to "get to know" a guy over a considerable length of time - just hanging out and being buddies, of course - without ever going on a "date" (as you and I would define it). Because I don't believe in this method, not many women are willing to go out with me.

If a particular girl has already declined an invitation of mine, it would be rare for me to ask her out again - if I was to, it would be a number of months later. I try to focus my attention on those who are interested.

The problem is a major philosophical difference. A first date for the LDS girls around me is starting to be boyfriend/girlfriend; for me, that doesn't start until at the very least the third date - and even then, it shouldn't be rushed.

A significant reason why I think I don't get many second dates is because of the girl's fear of moving too quickly. I'm not even thinking about a relationship on a first date - I save those thoughts for the second and third dates. But it goes back to what I stated earlier - the women around me see a date as something you only do when you're part of a couple.

All I can do is be the very best person I can, continue to obey the commandments, and continue to ask girls out. And hopefully I'll find someone who has the same outlook on dating as I have!

Regards

D

PS: Haven't got the book yet (ordered it online); I'm sure many of the answers I'm looking for are contained within its pages.



Dear Disappointed,

Have you considered that at your age you might want to do less playing the field and more focusing on one special woman?

I'm thinking that the women you know might have tagged you as a "player" who can't be taken seriously. I'm not sure how many women don't want to go out with you (and I find it interesting that you identified them as "women who find you repulsive" and "women who hate all men").

It does sound like you're on the right track when you talk about being the best you you can be and doing that which we're supposed to do . . . but you also aren't taking any responsibility for your situation, and haven't talked about the type of women you do go out with.

I still think you need to widen your circle.

- Bro Jo



Dear Bro Jo

I must admit, your response didn't make much sense. I'm unsure of what you meant by "not taking any responsibility for (my) situation"?

Like we have discussed, I have neither the time nor the inclination to play the field; my intention is to focus on one special woman - but dating a wide variety of people in order to identify a solid prospect is important too. After all, I could easily just "hang out", but I restrict that sort of interaction with the opposite sex to a very limited amount.

When I've gone on two dates with a certain girl, if everything has gone well, I always intend to stop seeing others so that I can focus exclusively on that one girl. The types of women I do go out with are ones which I meet in Church settings - YSA activities, firesides, etc. I certainly don't favour beauty over brains - attraction is extinguished for me very quickly if there's no inner strength beneath the outer beauty.

I've even been going on dates with non-LDS girls (is that what you mean by "widen your circle"?). They are aware of my standards - what I will do and what I will not do - and dating experiences with them have always been very rewarding. None of them have shown any interest in the Church (so we don't continue dating) but I have also been able to learn different perspectives - and do some missionary work with them too.

If the women around me have indeed tagged me as a "player" then that is very sad. That is one thing I am not. They could even use that as an excuse to reject date invitations from me and other worthy and capable men. And that is even sadder. They're not category a) - otherwise there wouldn't be much hanging out going on. Perhaps they fall into category e) - strangers more than I realize. What the women do is something I can't control. What I can control is what I do. And that is being the right man for the right woman.

Regards

Disappointed



Dear D,

That's EXACTLY what I'm talking about!

Let's try this: tell me about the last three women you went out with.

Where did you meet them? How long and how well did you know them before asking them out? What was the first date like? How did it end? Did you go out with them again? Why or why not? What attracted you to each woman?

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

He's Desperate for a Second Date - Part 3

Dear Bro Jo

Going on a date every week is my goal, but I would be lucky to get one date a month (I don't have a date this week). The thing is, I'm making the effort to put myself out there, asking for dates all the time, but I need to ask 10 girls out before I find one who will say 'yes'. So "How to get a girl to go out with you" advice is critical.

Perhaps it's a philosophical difference - I go out on a date to get to know someone (no ongoing commitment implied - but hopefully that will be the outcome), whereas the girls seem to want a connection first before they will accept a date. The whole "Hanging out" culture drives me nuts!

When I do go on a date, I just try to keep things low-key - I want the girl especially to feel relaxed and comfortable at all times. She has willingly taken a few hours out of her week to go out with me, after all. Often we don't go out again, which could be for a number of reasons - and that's okay, it was still time well spent.

I do have a big tendency to take things personally, but with these girls I just have to remember that not accepting dates is THEIR problem, not mine. Several of my friends are in a similar position to me - successful in everything else in life, except for the love life. We talk about it and we've just decided that there's only so much we can do.

So, some help for me and my friends in this regard would be great.

Regards

D

PS. I just ordered your book from Deseret Book yesterday! Can't wait to read it!



Dear Disappointed,

What you and I are talking about here is a big, BIG issue, especially within the Church.

On one hand I've got mountains of letters from wonderful single sisters who are dying to go out but never seem to get asked. On the other hand I've got you, your buddies, and thousands of single men, good guys, who just can't seem to find enough dates.

Both groups are sincere in their frustrations, and honest in their complaints.

And yet, from where I sit it seems bizarre that you all can't find each other.

Still, your letter is refreshing. Most guys seem to relish in the "hang-out" and it's the girls that seem to be the clueless enablers. I keep racking my brain on this, and yeah, there are some things a guy can do (I wrote "Things Guys Can Do to Make Themselves More Attractive to the Opposite Sex" quite a while ago - you may want to check it out - even the best of us can use improvement), but I keep coming back to the same thought: I think the answer lies in WHOM you've been asking out.

I'm not sure where you're at, but the world is crawling with women who are interested in going out with successful guys willing to buy them dinner.

Do you remember the Sherlock Holmes quote?

"when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"

So . . . if you truly do have to offer all that you say you do (and I have no reason to think you don't), and if you really are asking lots of women on dates , why then are you not getting the quantity of dates you're hoping for?

The answer MUST be that you're asking out the wrong women. That begs the question: who are the women you're asking out? Where do you meet them? What transpires before you ask? What's your approach? How well to you plan?

Because ultimately, pal, it really isn't that difficult to ask out a woman you know at least a little bit, unless she's:

a) seeing someone
b) repulsed by you
c) afraid of all men
d) totally out of your league
e) more of a stranger than you realize

All of this leads me to think you need to relax your criteria and broaden your the circle of women you're willing to date.

If you're looking for "Bro Jo's Pick-up Lines", they don't exist. You just ask. In person is best. Over the phone is a second choice. Never by text or email. You may want to also check out some of the Facebook Discussions, like:

"What do girls find attractive in guys"

and "The Meaning of a First Date"


There's another Big Question, and I happen to think it's a huge issue that needs to be tackled: why aren't you going out on many second dates?

Well?

- Bro Jo


PS: Thanks for buying the book! Hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

He's Desperate for a Second Date - Part 2

Dear Bro Jo

Thanks for your reply.

I'm not wanting to go on date after date, with no intention of getting serious. I don't have time for that.

When a girl does give me the opportunity to date her, I am always looking to carry it further. I have clearly defined goals in my dating which involve serious dating and courtship, leading to marriage in the near future.

However, my dilemma is convincing girls that I am worth their time. I need "How to get a girl to go out with you", and after that "How to keep that girl going out with you".

How should I best go about achieving the first, and after I've done that, achieving the second?

Disappointed



Dear Disappointed,

Both will be fun lists to give you, but first help me out; something isn't quite tracking between your letters.

You said in the first letter that you go on a date a week. If that's true, then I frankly don't see how you need "how to get a girl to go out with you" advice.

Once you're on the first date, what's happening to make you think that you're not worth their time? They're already on a date with you, so what happens?

Help me out here: tell me about the last couple girls you asked out. Who were they, what did you do, and why were there no subsequent dates with the same girls?

- Bro Jo

PS - I can't shake the feeling that you're looking for generic answers to solve a specific problem. Who is it that you wish was taking you seriously that isn't? Are you not getting the quantity of dates you say you are or think you should? Or is the quality of those dates poor?

Monday, June 20, 2011

He's Desperate for a Second Date - Part 1

Dear Bro Jo,

I love your columns - can't wait to read the books! :)

Anyway, on to my main subject.

I am a single male, late 20's, who can't get a date. And it's not from a lack of trying either. I take your advice on board to go on at least one date a week, but I am NOT exaggerating when I say that if I was to ask out 10 girls, at least 9 of them would shut me out right away - giving me absolutely no chance.

In my personal life, I do everything expected - I pray morning and night, I study the scriptures, I serve diligently in my Church callings. I also have many other things going for me - I served a faithful mission, I have a good job, I am emotionally stable, I keep myself healthy. Things that many girls I hear wish they could find in a guy.

Still, for some reasons not apparent to me, I get rejected by just about every daughter of Israel there is! In fact, there was one girl in my stake whom I had known for some time. When I asked her out on a date, she just laughed at me! I was quite hurt by her immature response to my sincere invitation. Now I'm no longer friends with that girl, and seeing her at a Church activity brings that painful memory back again. But that's a subject for another day.

Bro Jo, do you have any advice as to what else I can do to persuade these precious daughters of God to go out with me? Should I just keep trying and be patient? Or should I stop wasting my time and just focus on being a wonderful person?

When I have been lucky enough to get a date, the experience for both of us has always been extremely positive. Even the girlfriends I've had have always said great things about me - even though things didn't work out in the end.

Please feel free to ask me for additional information. Your advice will be gratefully received.

Disappointed



Dear Disappointed,

Late 20's, seems to be doing what he should, has had girlfriends, has a job, goes on a date every week, but gets turned down 9 out of 10 times.

Did I get that right?

Go back and look at that summary. What do you think the problem is?

I'll give you a hint: at your age what you're supposed to be doing is what I call "Serious Single Dating".

- Bro Jo

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Readers Note: This Week's Posts

Readers -

All this week I'll be posting a series of letters from the same guy, "Desperate". Try as hard as he does, he just can't seem to get a second date. Check out my struggles to help him and see if you can figure out what you think the issue was (or "issues were"). I'm sure he and I both look forward to your comments!

- Bro Jo

Friday, June 17, 2011

How Does a Guy Know If She'll Go Out with Him?

Hi there,

So, I'm an RM that has a hard time reading girls, which I bet many guys fall into the category of. This is probably a really dumb question, but are there any particular ways to know if a girl has interest in you or if she just enjoys your company?

There's one girl in my ward who talks to me every opportunity that she has, even if she's in a hurry, but I don't know if it’s just me wanting the attention, or if she's genuinely interested.
I really like her and want to ask her out, but I'm worried that I'm just taking the signals wrong. Any advice is welcome. Thanks so much.

-Clueless



Dear RM,

Ask her out, bro.
It's the only way to know.
And if she says "no"
She won't go
Then at least you'll know.

Seriously, make more dates and fewer excuses. It's just a date. Ask her.


- Bro Jo

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What to Wear

Hi Bro Jo,

Okay, so last Monday I went to the FHE with the mid-singles. I met a guy named (withheld) and he got my number. I even used the "I'll give it to you, If you promise you'll use it" line. He seemed really nice. I thought I'd freaked him out by being so direct with him, but tonight he called! We didn't really get to talk, but he invited me out for a date this weekend.

It was planned!

He called!

He knew what he wanted to do! Wow!! I am so excited to even meet a guy with that sort of fortitude, since I haven't met one since who knows when. YAY!!

So my question is, and I should probably be asking Sis. Jo this, so you'll have to be my relay service. What do you wear on a first date? We are going out to eat and then we're going to Barnes & Noble for dessert. He's picking me up at 7pm. Hmmm . . . I know I need to be myself, but I tend to come across as very conservative/formal or sloppy and not put together. I don't know where the middle ground is. Especially because the "nice clothes" I do have, I wear to work or Church. I have a very limited amount of clothing that actually fits because of my drastic weight loss. A hard problem to have, I know! LOL.

Anyway, I had better get going. I would appreciate any input.

Thanks!

- Going Out



Dear Going,

Sister Jo says that, honestly, she'd sew something for herself. She's incredibly unhappy with what she finds in the stores, both in fit and style, but she also recognizes that you don't have much time.

What you wear on any date needs to match what you're doing.

We both recommend the TV show "What Not to Wear" as a great source of guidance, and the book "Dress Your Best" by its hosts, Clinton Kelly and Stacey London, is also a great resource.

Sister Jo says, in general, clothes that Fit Well (the right size, not showing too much, but certainly letting your date know you're a girl), are simple, and a step above what you'd wear to the same place during the day time is a good place to start.

In your case, dress slacks or a simple skirt (if weather allows), and a basic top that meets the criteria above should do the trick.

Let us know how it goes and what you wear!

- Bro Jo and Sister Jo


Hey Bro and Sis Jo,

'Tis I, broadcasting to you from (location withheld) in the middle of the night.

I have to share with you both something. Shortly before my grandma passed away last month, I was talking to her and made her promise that she would start pointing good, quality men in my direction. After tonight's date, I honestly think my Grandma has been working overtime. Of course I would never tell him that, but I definitely think he's ranking high up there in the quality level.

The date was fun! At a quarter past the time he was going to pick me up. He still had not arrived. I wasn't all that shocked because the freeway had been shut down and I honestly thought he'd gotten stuck in the horrid traffic. That is . . . until he called. He asked if I was home. I told him I was ready and waiting. He said, well then come answer the door. I told him I hadn't heard him. come to find out he'd been ringing the doorbell at a darkened apartment on the other side of my complex. #19, not #9. He laughed, apologized and said he'd be right there---telling me he was grateful some old man didn't come and answer the door. When he arrived and I invited him in while I closed the back door, he stepped in and took a look at me and said, "Wow, you look great!" All night he opened all my doors and the conversation just flowed. There were so many quirky things that we had in common.

It was great fun to talk to him. He took me out to dinner at a nice, high-end burger place. I swear the guy is as thin as a string pulled taunt, but he has a bottomless pit for a stomach! We ordered different things and then split them all and shared them. It was so fun to try out different salads and dips and burgers and soups. I couldn't keep up with how much he ate. After dinner we went to Barnes and Noble and he walked right in and asked me what I wanted for dessert. He ordered our desserts.

We sat down and I thought HOLY COW this guy eats like a vacuum! Inside was laughing so hard! I ended up unable to eat the entire apple thingy I ordered and so I let him have it.

He comes from a fun family. He's got a good sense of humor, hard working ward mission leader and really knows how to keep a girl smiling. He walked fast. It was a relief because I do too! So often I leave people in the dust, not even realizing it. Part way through walking through the parking lot he suddenly turned to me and said, "You walk fast! Or are you just walking that fast because I'm walking fast?" I laughed because I hadn't even thought about it until he said something and I realized, yah, gee, this guy is keeping up with me! I asked him if that was his normal pace or if he normally walked slower. He said it was his pretty standard pace. Then we both did our rendition of our own moseying walk . . . only to step it back up to our original pace. LOL.

Anyway, the date was a little under three hours long. The time flew and I was surprised when he was taking me back to my house because it had only felt like an hour, if that. He walked me up to the door; I thanked him. He asked me if I'd like to go out again, and I told him I looked forward to it. He grinned and I gave him a hug and then he left.

So, on the gentleman meter I would give him a 9.995.
Personality 8.3428
Humor Meter 7.88
Innovation 7.99

Gosh, statistics are fun to make up!

I hope you guys had a great night. I attached a picture of how I looked before I left. When you said Sis Jo would have preferred to make an outfit I laughed out loud. Sis Jo, if you could teach me even how to sew, let alone follow a pattern and make something I would actually wear, I would be eternally in your debt! Eternally! Man that would be awesome!

Anyway, that's the update.

Until later,

- Going



Dear Going,

We're so glad you had a great time!


Good clothing choice!
- Sister Jo


Hope he's smart enough to take you out again!
- Bro Jo


PS: Sewing gets easier with practice. Pick something easy and don't be afraid to make mistakes. If you're really lost, ask one of the Bishopric's wives or someone's mom or grandma to teach a "sewing basics" class.
- Sister Jo

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bragging About Being Bad

Dear Bro Jo,

Hello again! Thank you so much for that great advice, it really helped, with more than just the one boy. However, I now have an even stranger, not cool problem with the same guy!

Sheesh...

So I started talking to him and being a nice, friendly person, and we became pretty good friends. Then one night, at a cast party (we were both in a production together, it was fun, that's how we met) we were just sitting around, and he says he has something he needs to tell me. So I listen, as he tells me this really sad, shocking story about his life.

He had just moved here, a highly LDS populated area, from a place that had like one or two Mormon kids our age living there. He told me that his brother somehow got drugs, and started using them. He looked up to his brother, and so he tried them too, to be ''cool'' he says.

Evidently, he became the small town's drug dealer, pretty much. That was pretty shocking for me, because he seems like such a good guy on the outside. But I kind of figured he was working on getting over it, and a lot of it had to do with him moving here and being with good people (like me, and his cousin who I'm also friends with).

But it gets worse....After the whole drug problem talk was over, he told me that he could've had a child with three girls. Three! And seeing as I know what ''having a child'' requires, that scared me. Bad. Like to the point where I needed to get up and leave. So I told him I had to go for a minute, and we both went back to the party.

My question is basically, what the heck should I do? I told my mom about the whole thing, and she says she thinks he's just lying or joking around, trying to impress me. The thing is, that's not impressive at all. Quite the contrary, it's super unattractive to me. I talked to his cousin about the whole thing, who I'm super close to, and his cousin said that he wasn't lying, and that he was working through it, trying to be better.

That didn't really change how freaked out I was about the whole thing. He hasn't asked me on a date because he says he doesn't want to be tempted again. That scared me yet again.
He also says he doesn't have a testimony of the church. All my interpretations of this boy were completely wrong!

What do I do? Stay away from him entirely? Maintain a friendly, acquaintance like friendship where I just say hi every now and again? I feel kind of bad judging him, and I know he's trying to be better. But still. It's one of those things that gives me shivers.

Wow.

That was pretty random and all over the place.

Thank you very much, Bro Jo!

To be or Not to Be



Dear Not to Be,

It doesn't matter whether he's guilty of what he says or not; the mere fact that he's claiming the behavior is bad.

You're right: be kind in a sister-in-the-Gospel kind of way, but that's it. I don't think there are very many valid reasons for a girl to turn down a date, but "gives me the shivers" is one of them.

And you're absolutely right to find this guy's past and his confessions (again, whether they're true or not) as serious warning signs. When you put this letter together with your last one about the same guy, you and your mom may be right in that he’s just looking for attention (albeit in a bad way), but when you mix in the confirmation from his cousin, it seems clear to me that this guy is a lot less good and a lot more bad than you originally thought.

- Bro Jo

Friday, June 10, 2011

Why is He Running Away?

Dear Bro Jo,

this may be more than one question,.. (sorry) but here it goes

I’m 14, I’m going to my first stake dance. I met this boy..He had tons in common with me and basically we just hit it off...we weren’t dating at all..(cause we were 14) but we liked each other and by the end of the night that was established. we talked for the next 2 years, saw whenever we could...at 14 it was just getting to know each other but by the time we were 15 1/2 ish it became flirty and we planned for when we were 16.

Now throughout this time I found out he liked other people and of course was kinda sad,...but we both kind of flirted with other people,...just there was a common understanding we liked each other. Now this all worked fine, we were planning out our first dates and I was happy as a clam, Until a stake activity (16). He completely ignore me and such. He was all over another girl, and by this point it had gone to "saying" we loved each other.. (RED FLAG...stupid) so than turns out he didn’t want to date at all...he didn’t want a relationship at all..."with anyone" (but I knew the girl he was flirting with and haha that’s not what he said to her (15) so I called him out...he said sorry and we ended up going on the date we planned...I hadn’t herd from him in a while and we were going to go to a carnival for the date.

Carnival came around and he texts me saying "hi do you still want to go". I said yes, (hoping to be able to talk about what happened) and once we got there he was JUST (if not more) flirty as ever...holding my hand, cuddling, exact. and this was right after HE told me get didn’t want a relationship.

So what this comes down to,...is we have both moved on Sorta...I want to be friends but it’s not awkward for me but it’s like he tries to pretend I’m not alive or important. he goes so far to distract our friends (yes,...through this time we became great friends and our circles melded...so see him about twice a week) how do I stay nice to him, be friends and not have him run away?!? why is he doing that?!?


sKater girl-



Dear Skater,

If you question is "why is he running away?", the answer is "because he doesn't want to be your boyfriend".

That doesn't mean you don't have value, aren't pretty, or aren't wonderful; I'm sure you're all of those things (boys, boyfriends, guys and men do not define the value of a girl; God does).

Save yourself some drama and heartache over the next couple years: go on Casual Group Dates and stop focusing on having a boyfriend.
I know you young sisters don’t believe me, and I’m sorry it’s become such a huge part of our culture, but your value and attractiveness don’t come from having a boyfriend (regardless of what the other girls think, how they feel, or what they say); your Divine Nature and Individual Worth come from God.

- Bro Jo

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Perfect Preemie

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm still pretty new to your blog, but I think you are the perfect person to ask my question to.

I am in my first year at BYU, and almost 19. And there's this guy.... My FHE brother. He is the indisputable Heartthrob of Heritage Halls. From what I've heard from my other FHE brothers, girls will randomly show up at their door and introduce themselves. There have also been several 'marriage proposals' written on their windows. He is an amazing guy. He is Elder's Quorum President, spiritual, attractive, nice to everyone, and he has a great smile.

I've been thinking about writing him on his mission (he leaves in about a month), but I've never written a missionary before. I don't have any brothers or close guy friends. My sister is going on a mission about the same time he leaves, so I will be writing her. I'd also write a few other guy friends who are leaving soon.

I'm not overly worried about writing my friends, but I'm nervous about writing this guy I like. We aren't super close at all, but we have been "brother and sister" for the last eight or nine months, and we're friends. But so many other girls will probably write him, too. And I wouldn't even know what to say! Most of all, I don't want to be one of those girls who writes to a guy out of the blue, when they weren't close friends before his mission.
I guess what I'm saying is, I want to write him. I know I can't be anything more than friends with him on his mission, but I think friends is a good start. Do you think it would awkward for me to write to him? I haven't written to my FHE brothers who left for their missions after fall semester- and I don't want this guy I like to think I'm a weirdo or a freak or something. (Yes, I am very self-conscious.)

What might help the situation... I would like to become better friends with him before he goes, even though we only have three weeks left of school (will you even get back to me by then?). I am pretty sure he doesn't want to get involved with anyone - and neither do I- but I wouldn't be opposed to hanging out more, of even a date. I have read your lists of "how to get a guy to ask you out" and such, but I don't think I can completely turn myself around and be all flirty and forward. I wouldn't want to freak him out by texting or calling him sometime just to hang out- he's never given me his number, although it is in the ward directory.

(Wow, this was longer than I thought it would be!)

SO, in case you tuned out my rambling, I think my question boils down to this: How can I become good enough friends with this guy to comfortably write him on his mission?
I don't know why, but I REALLY like this guy. He is just about as perfect as a preemie can be. But going up against the competition is daunting...

I would love to hear anything you have to say on the subject!

Thinking, waiting, wishing....

A Fretting Freshman



Dear Fretting,

Missionaries LOVE getting letters. In May, 2010, I wrote a column about "Writing a Missionary"; you may want to check it out.

The guy leaves in a month, so I wouldn't worry about dating him until he comes home. In fact, if he asks you on a date between here and then it might be best to say: "You seem like a good guy, but this close to your mission you should be focusing on that. Tell you what, we can write to each other once in a while, while you're gone, and if I'm still single when you get back, why don't you ask me out then".

That's a win-win for you.

I have a feeling that the girl that gets this guy will be the girl that makes HIM work for HER, and not the other way around.

The "How a Girl Can Get a Guy to Ask Her on a Date" stuff works (very well actually), and this is one of those moments where I DON'T think it should be used.

Not on this guy at this time, anyway.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The "Where Is This Going?" Talk

Dear Bro Jo

I'll give you a little intro just so you know where I'm at. I'm 18 going on 19 and grew up in small town where I was the only church member in my high school. I grew up in a small branch and I was the only active Laurel and there were no young men at all in the branch. I didn't go to much of the stake youth activities because it was a pretty far drive and I lived in a pretty busy household. I'm in the city now going to college and will be totally done my program by the end of June. I live with four other girls and have become really really good friends with one (not that I'm not friends with the others, this one and I just have more in common etc.) I have never had a boyfriend and have never been kissed. So coming to YSA was a bit of a jump for me but I think I've adjusted to it and being on my own pretty well. Oh, also just so you know I have four older siblings who are all married. So let's cut to the chase.

Last month, my room mate set me up on a blind date with her cousin (an RM since last summer) and long story short, we're pretty much the same person. We like the same music, we do all the same things for fun, we even have the same eating habits. We both are really close with our families and are both the same level of Mormon (if that makes sense). We've seen each other twice since the date and I can't wait to see him again. And I know it's not a crush, maybe a bit of infatuation but I really like him and could see myself marrying him and him fitting in really well with the rest of my family. However, he lives in another city about an hour and a half away and going to school at a different college. I should mention that he's really academic and is super serious about getting into university.

So we've been talking on facebook and by text since the first date and according to my room mate he really likes me he just doesn't want a girlfriend right now because he wants to get into this program so badly. Which is totally fair and I've never liked the idea of a long distance relationship anyway. But I really like him and want to date him. And if I get asked on dates here I'm not going to not go but I don't want to date or become involved or whatever with anyone else. And he's such a great guy from what my room mate tells me and from what she's told me and what I've gained from my own insight, I feel like I don't deserve him...

So I guess what I'm asking is should I wait and just be patient until he decides he likes me enough to want to date me if that even is the case? Also, I think he's still pretty fresh off the mission and still isn't used to being home so is that also a factor I need to wait for?

-Kate




Dear Kate,

Well, first of all, put that whole "don't deserve him" garbage out of your head. You're a quality girl and a daughter of God! Any man should be so lucky.

Maybe this guy is someone who would be a great eternal companion for you; it sounds like he just may be. But you're right, the distance makes it difficult. It's still early in the relationship, so you're right to wait a little while to see how (and if) things progress. Sure, June will come up fast, but a lot can happen in three months. For now, just let things happen naturally, but if you continue to grow closer, and if he finds the opportunity to come and take you out a couple more times over the next few weeks, then perhaps in May, it will be time to have a talk with your guy.

You'll have to sit him down (these are best done in person, so he's going to have to come see you - if he won't or doesn't, then there's no need to have the talk) and put it to him. You'll have to tell him you like him a lot, that you can see this going somewhere serious, and while you don't want to push him you need to make some decisions, and you need to know how he feels and where he stands. And then be quiet and let him answer.

I wouldn't move to where he is just for him, unless he asks (begs would be better) you to, and even then if and only if it facilitates both your own life and the relationship moving forward. Still, I think you need to consider if completing your program will provide the opportune time to move For You, and if that move might just happen to be a bit closer to him.

Be patient, but not for too much longer.

One month is too soon to have the "where is this going" talk, but four months is totally appropriate.

Oh, and just so you know, and not to push you, but I expect that if the two of you haven't kissed by then (and I hope you have), unless the results of that talk are that you're going your separate ways (and maybe even then), the talk might result in some kissing.

And that's a good thing.

- Bro Jo

PS: Remember, it's more important what you think of this guy than what your roommate thinks. Way more important.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fixing YSA Issues

Dear Yoda, :)

I've read through your blog, and found LOTS of insightful advice, but I must admit that I still have some dilemmas.

To give you a little background, I'm 19 and I live in a small-ish town in Utah. I'm currently writing a missionary, and he's a great guy. I've never met someone who has made me happier, and who has inspired me to do so much good. He truly makes me want to be the best that I can be. Now here's the but; But, I'm still living my life as if I were single. My theory is, that if I find someone who makes me happier than he did, then (hopefully) I'll marry said mister wonderful. I'm home for the summer, and plan on leaving for school in the fall (And I'd love some advise for handling the dating scene at college!). At the moment, I am the YSA rep for my home ward, and It's going great! I'm pretty happy the way my life is headed. :)

Now, having said that, there are a few problems I seem to be having as a YSA. (I hope you don't mind, but I do enjoy a good list every now and then.)

#1 These crazy creatures called men seem to have no idea how to ask a Lady out on a date, or any desire to for that matter.

I've tried many of the Bro Jo tips on how to get a boys attention, and how to get him to ask you out on a date, and I've noticed small improvements. But none to the degree in which a date is the end result. And it's not just that I haven't been asked out on any dates, but none of the girls in my stake have been asked out either. It's almost an epidemic!.... Okay not really, but it's still very disheartening. So what's a gal to do? Is persistence and patience the key? Do I need to drop even MORE hints than I already have?

#2 So this is not so much a personal question, but I'd still like some advise if you would be willing. In my stake, we have a large amount of YSAs, but only about 15 out of 500 seem to show up for any activities (and 15 is on a good day). Big gap there right? It's not like all of them are inactive, I see them at church all the time. In fact, there are a good 12 or 13 in my home ward. But only 3 of us show up to the activities. I call, email, visit, and even text them on a weekly basis, and still no luck. There seems to be a certain stereo type, or reputation that follows any and all YSA programs wherever you go, but especially here. I'll be the first to admit that I avoided theses functions like the plague before I got this calling, but now that I've met the people, and actually attended the shindigs myself, I look forward to them every week!

I've tried my hardest to talk up our get-togethers, with little result. Do you have any advise you can give me for boosting up our program, and helping to build a better reputation for it? Oh! And to overall increase attendance... Because that would be great! :D


Sincerely,

Running Out of Ideas



Dear Running,

#1. I know. It's weird. I'm sorry. It's one of the reasons I started "Dear Bro Jo" in the first place. You can only be so patient and hint so much until you reach a point where you throw up your hands and say "doesn't matter anyway, I don't think I want to date anyone that dumb". And you're not alone. When the prophet of the Church has to get up in priesthood session and say "what the heck is wrong with you guys" (I'm paraphrasing), then you realize it's an epidemic.

As someone who enjoys a good list, you may want to check out Bro Jo's "HOW a GIRL CAN GET a GUY to ASK HER on a DATE" and I'm more than happy to come speak at a fireside, conference, or workshop in your ward or stake this summer.

I run a great speed dating activity (works great with at least 10 guys and 10 girls; the numbers don't have to be even; and is phenomenal with 100+ singles), give a killer "how to talk to each other" lesson, have an arsenal of talks and lectures (like: "Why Being Married is So Much Better than Being Single", "How to Get There from Here", and "Overcoming What's Keeping You from a Temple Marriage"), and have developed some pretty specific seminars (like: "Dude, Make it Happen", "Getting the Guy You Want" and "Dating Your Spouse").

Just let me know.


#2 You can't make someone show up for activities (or date, for that matter), though I'm with you: it's crazy not to go. I think what you need to do is find out why they're not going. Start with asking yourself: why didn't you used to go? And then ask them. Individually, as a focus group, or call a committee; talk to these people and find out what the objections are. Once you know, then you'll be able to address the issues.

Do they not know about the activities? (Or forget?) Set up a Facebook page or Twitter account where activities and reminders get posted.

Do they not like what's being planned? Ask them what they want to do, and then delegate out assignments to those that suggested that particular activity. As more people take ownership for the success of the activity, your attendance will improve.

Are they lazy and pathetic? Well . . . there's not too much you or I can do about that, other than begging Church leadership to motivate them, perhaps with callings and assignments.

Whatever the problems are, getting information will help you solve them.

(By the way, this works for dating, too. Get a small group of guys - and girls, if you want - together for a chat. Do it during a Sunday School class - I'll bet your Bishopric will say it's okay, and perhaps even lead the discussion if you ask them - or at someone's home. Someone needs to come right out and ask these guys "hey, fellas, why aren't you taking these girls out on dates?" That's another seminar I do, too. FYI - the Jo Boys call it my "just how gay are you?" lecture, which isn't exactly politically correct - no surprise, I know - but it's less harsh than what Sister Jo calls it, which is the "stop being a pansy, you coward, talk".)

Cultural Changes take time. That's true if it's activity attendance or Serious Single Dating. Be patient, but pro-active.

Oh, and while I'm thinking about it, I believe that statistically one of the biggest reasons single LDS guys in an area don't date the single LDS girls in their area is that the girls are allowing them to "hang out". If that's the case, and I'll bet it is, you sisters need to either knock it off, or be prepared to be single at 38.

Thanks for reading and writing in and may the force be with you,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What if the Bishop is Your Dad?

[Readers - This comment was posted on a letter from early May, "What if the Bishop is Your Friend's Dad". I didn't want you to miss it or my response, so I'm posting it individually here as well. - Bro Jo]


Anonymous said...

What if the bishop is your dad and you just don't feel comfortable sharing your feelings with him. It's not that I've sinned, I just feel like he's constantly judging me, even when I feel I've done something right.

It's hard for me to go to the bishop about anything because I feel hell look at me in the same way when he's my dad. I feel like he expects me to have this great testimony and I don't think it's as strong as he believes, and then I feel weird talking to my bishop about it because I feel like he's disappointed I didn't talk to my dad first and that I cam to him as bishop instead.

There are things I would like to talk to my bishop about, like my patriarchal blessing among others, but I don't feel ready for my dad to know the same things. What do I do?

-Bishop's Daughter

Dear Anon,

It's tough to be the child of someone that has a "big" Church calling; Bishop's kid may be the hardest.  Your father is making a lot of sacrifices right now because the Lord has asked him to; I promise you he needs your love and support.  The Bishop-Dad thing is hard on him, too.

I think the first thing you should do is go to your dad and tell him how you feel; tell him how it's weird for you; tell him that it's difficult to draw the line between Bishop and Dad.

If that conversation doesn't bridge things to where you feel more comfortable, or if you just can't see yourself having that conversation at all (and I really think you should try), then go to your mom and tell her. You may be surprised to learn just how much insight moms have into the working of their husbands.

Still not satisfied?

You can always talk to a YW leader.

- Bro Jo