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Friday, March 2, 2012

Relationship Math

Dear Bro Jo,

I wrote this out the conventional way, but it turned out to be a small book, so since I ought to be doing my homework right now, I'll write it math style to make into more of a small pamphlet instead:)

Girl + Awesome Guy = <3

Girl moves to random island + Awesome Guy goes to college = breakup + loose contact
(everything's fine)

Girl = Junior, ~17

Girl inspects new Dating Scene (DS).

DS = 1 school, 55 people, 0 members

Limited Options Theorem (written by Girl + Parents): As long as they have good standards, it's okay to go on Casual Group Dates with these boys.

Girl is asked out on Supposed Group Date by Mr. Awkward

Supposed Group Date = Single Date + friends coaching Mr. Awkward (surprise!)

Girl is asked out on more Awkward Dates, says yes out of:

1) hope that they'll get better

2) pity (Girl = First pursuit Mr. Awkward has EVER made)

3) concern for Mr. Awkward's feelings (sensitive guy alert!)

Awkward Dates = Mr. Awkward lets all attempts at conversation DIE + (formally asks Girl if he may hold her hand or put his arm around her) >9 = LAME!

*Note 1: Hand-holding or having an arm slung across shoulders are seen as no big deal to Girl, so she flippantly accepts the first few times. But it gets creepier every time he does it, especially since permission is asked every time, and he refuses to let go until the date is over-he once reached for his wallet with his free hand because he still wouldn't let go. She keeps begrudgingly accepting(WRONG) because she doesn't want to hurt his feelings. If he just went for it without asking explicit permission, she could just slip her hand away, no problem.

*Note 2: Around the second date, he started hovering. In the hallways, in my classes, everywhere. The boy sticks like velcro.

Mr. Awkward asks girl to Homecoming, then...

Girl + Mr. Awkward = Homecoming Prince and Princess

The expressions and theorems don't work at all for the last bit, so bear with me...

During the royalty song/dance, I saw the lovestruck look on his face, and I knew we had to talk, and quick. So as he walked me home that night, I told him all about how I'm not interested a relationship at all, I can't have a boyfriend, and with my homework load, I wouldn't even have time for one if I wanted to. He brushed it off, saying, "Yeah, I totally agree. My parents said I can't have a girlfriend either." I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking my troubles were over. Not so. The creeping continued. The clinginess got worse. I didn't understand how he didn't get it, why he kept pursuing couple-ness when I had just told him there'd be none. Again, he's super sensitive, so I didn't want to straight-up tell him, "Look, you're being creepy and frankly, anything more than friendship is a revolting idea to me at this point." Out of sheer desperation, I started making excuses for not being able to go out, I got a little less cheerful, I started going to school in sweats and sans makeup. Still nothing.

This went on for about two weeks until last weekend when a big group of us were hanging out, watching movies and such. My friend's boyfriend and I were having a poking war because we fight like little siblings. All of a sudden, Mr. Awkward freaked, and went home immediately after I did when I left early(he insisted on walking me home). So he's been in this depression for the past few days because he thinks I'm trying to get with my best friend's guy. Ew.

So here are my questions:

- As much as I hate to admit it, I have a sneaking suspicion that he and I need to have a talk again. It's irksome that I have to dump him when we were never together.

- Does going on some casual group dates and letting him put his arm around me or hold my hand count as leading him on? I made sure to never ever flirt with him, any acceptance of anything after like the first date was with this facial expression of "Are you serious? This is really weird, what you're doing here. I find you intensely clingy."

- Is a talk really necessary? If should I go about it? "Just so you know, I'm not into him, but while we're here, let me say that I'm not into you either." I don't want to crush the guy!

- Since it's not a breakup, does it have to be in person?

- Again, school of 55. I see him all day, every day. What's your advice for post-rejection awkwardness?

Criticism, Advice, and questions are all extremely welcome.

- Oops

Dear Oops,


1. No. Going on some Casual Group Dates and letting him put his arm around you does not count as "leading him on". But constantly letting him do what he wants even though it bothers you is well . . . dumb. That's where you've confused him, and for that you owe him an explanation and an apology.

2. Necessary to talk to him? Yeah, if you want to clear things up and have a clean conscience. Will he get the hint? Not likely, regardless of how straight-forward yo are.

3. All relationship talks should be in person.

Guys can be a bit slow on the up-take, so Be Kind but Be Clear. If you sugar coat it too much he won't get it.

It's going to be awkward. Your little school may take sides. Welcome to the joy of teen drama. Just be as nice as you can. This too shall pass.

Now go get your homework done.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

So I had a very, very straightforward talk with him. I felt really really harsh, but after talking to you and one of my close guy-friends, it seemed that would be necessary. However his reaction was pretty surprising.

Me: Hey, I've been meaning to talk to you for a while....Listen, I just want you to know that I don't want anything more than friendship at all. Not with you, not with Brandon [my friend's bf], not with anyone. I'm sorry that I didn't make that clearer before. See you Monday!
Him: See you Monday too! Hey, I got the answers for that test on Monday. If you want to come over sometime, I'm willing to help a good friend out;) Do you have plans for lunch?
Me: Uh no thanks, I'll do it on my own. Yeah, I'm pretty busy. Thanks anyway. I gotta go.

It was like he hadn't even heard me! I was a little bit put off, I won't lie. You were right in that prediction you gave in #2. I will be cordial, but I definitely don't need to encourage his creeping. The conversation I had with him made me aware of two things:

1. No matter what I do, he will follow me around like a lost puppy. I can fight it or I can ignore it. Sad, harsh, true.

2. The guys here all either smoke, drink, sleep around, are very dishonest, swear lots, or are incredibly creepy or even vulgar. My standards are treated by them as an annoyance at best(usually the case), a point of ridicule at worst. Dating is just going to have to be put on hold until BYU(that sweet blessed place). And I think I'm finally okay with that.

- Oops

Dear Opps,


You told him you had no interest in him as a boyfriend, he said he understands, and then he asked you out on a lunch date . . . classic!

As you know, I'm a big proponent of Teens getting Casual Group Dating experience, but I've also said that no girl (of any age) should ever put herself in a situation where she feels in danger, unsafe, or uncertain that her virtue will remain intact. So it certainly is possible that one could live in an area where Casual Group Dating just isn't possible.

All I can say is "keep an open mind"; even in a small town on an island it's very unlikely that EVERY boy is awful. You're a kind person and a fun date, so perhaps that will inspire some of the guys to get their acts together. And perhaps there are some Good Guys lost in the crowd . . .

Either way, as you said, the Y isn't too far off.

Girl learns about dating while still in High School (which may include lots of lame dates) + Girl is nice anyway + Girl goes to Y soon = Girl much better prepared for Dating Fun at Y

Hang in there!

- Bro Jo

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