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Monday, June 11, 2012

When a Guy Gets Engaged Instead of Going on a Mission - Part 2

[Readers - This is part 2 of a letter that posted on Friday, June 8, 2012. What do you think? - Bro Jo]

Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks for your words.

It's not that way at all, though.

I've never considered or desired to marry him, let alone even having a crush on him; he really is just a good friend.

I don't want to date him at all, that would be weird, and I'm very happy that he and his fiancé find joy together and are getting married in the Temple.

I just wanted to see if there was something I could do or say, though I figured there would be nothing since he's made up his mind.

Sure, I'm not thrilled that he chose to get married now instead of going on a mission, but that does not mean I have lost respect for him or treat him differently, but thank you for your words.

- Desperate

Dear Desperate,

I know guys and girls are different, but if you're not attracted to him at all (if he's a great guy and a "good friend", is it that you find him repulsive? Is he not any fun? Do you have your eye on someone else? Then, honestly, other than your disappointment in his choice (which is understandable), why does it bother you so much?

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

It's not that I find him repulsive at all.

I have no brothers of my own, and when I moved into a new ward, that he was in, he made me feel welcome and he's been like my brother ever since.

And I'm dating someone else anyways.

I guess it's not so much of a bother than it was a shock.

He would always talk about how excited he was to serve and all, so it just came as a surprise when I found out that he wasn't going to serve. So, yeah, it was disappointing, especially since he wasn't the one to tell me, and I was kind of just at a loss of what to do or say when I first found out.

Now, as I've had time to think about it more, I've accepted the fact that I can't change his mind, even if I may disagree with his decision, and that I can just continue to be happy for them, that they're getting married in the temple still, and pray for them that all may work out. I knew inside that I couldn't do anything; I guess I just didn't want to admit it because he, of all people, is the first one of my close friends who chose not to serve after he had been excited for it for so many years.

I guess I was just hoping that there was something I could do, but I'm glad someone else told me I can't change his mind, so I can admit it to myself and just be happy that he's still marrying a wonderful girl in the temple.

- Desperate

Dear Desperate,

Just curious: if you weren't dating the other guy, and this guy wasn't engaged, and he'd asked, would you have gone out with him?

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

I would have gone on a date with him, but I don't think I could ever be his girlfriend; I just don't like him that way. I never have. He really is just like my brother.

- Desperate

Dear Desperate,

A "brother" you would date if he asked.


Got it.

Well . . . it's good that you've found a way to be happy for him.

And, for what it's worth, I agree:  he should have gone through with his mission plans, but only if he could let this girl go.  A missionary that's constantly pining for the "girl back home" often isn't a very effective missionary, and can be a real anchor for his companion.

Despite what the MGs of the world want to believe, Missionaries and Girlfriends Waiting Back Home aren't a good idea.

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

Bro Jo, I love love love your blog just as much as the next reader, if not more, but I really and truly have to disagree here. I know you've posted about this topic, but it honestly is possible for a girl and a boy to be and REMAIN friends. Everyone talks about the Friend Zone, and while it's possibly to leave said Friend Zone, it doesn't always happen. AND sometimes both parties are content to be just friends.
I love my opposite gender friends and think they are fantastic people, but I don't and won't want to pursue them romantically simply because I don't. There's nothing wrong with them. Because we're such good friends, scattered casual dates could be (and have been, what times we've gone a date) quite fun, but it wouldn't ever get any further. Just because you can't think of reason you shouldn't go for them doesn't mean you should do it anyway (unless you're in a terrible rush to get married).
I have a hard time believing that friendships without looming romantic futures are impossible. Desperate's close friendship with this guy is irrelevant to the fact that she's not interested.

Dave Johnston said...

The reason you have a hard time with this concept is that you're a girl.

And it freaks you out to understand that no matter how platonic you may think things are, no guy is going to spend "best friend" level time with you if he's not attracted to you.

And that's my point.

Why would a girl (as "Desperate" confesses in Part 2) date a guy that she has no romantic interest in at all?

Free dinner?

Nothing better to do?


How sad for the guy!

Doesn't all of that mean that she's just using him on some level?

"I have no interest in you romantically and no feelings for you, but if you want to buy me a meal or pay for my movie I'll let you be seen with me in public. Just don't try to hold my hand or kiss me because I don't like you in that way."

But guys don't ask out girls they're not interested in. Why would they?



As a favor to someone?

That's a lot of work to go through when you know you're just wasting your time. And what happens if you take out the girl because you're being nice and she falls for you and stalks you?

Who wants that mess?

In fact, as I've said many, many times, no guy will "Stay Just Close Friends" with a girl forever. Why? Because he'll only invest the kind of time it takes to become her super-close friend if he's romantically interested in her.

We have to separate the definitions of "just friends" and "close friends" to understand.

The two are not the same.

"Close friends" is what you call it when the guy is investing a lot of time trying to get closer, hoping that she'll eventually see him as a dating / marriage possibility.

"Just friends" is what you call it when either of you (usually the girl) decides that this isn't going anywhere.

"Close friendships" by definition and requirement are supposed to fade when one of you gets seriously involved with someone else because, let's face it, married people should not be up all night pouring their heart out to someone of opposite gender that's not their spouse. That's a recipe for serious trouble.

"Just friends" are relationships that could drift away and no one will miss them that much.

Excellent comments!

- Bro Jo

Anonymous said...

As a girl, I know why a girl would date a guy that she has no romantic interest in at all. And it seems painfully obvious.
Bro Jo, as much as I respect you and agree with every single other post of yours that I've read, I've gotta say I disagree with you on this one.

First of all, she didn't say she WOULD. She said she would IF she wasn't already dating someone. Definitely not the same thing.
Therefore if he asked her, she would say no = she is NOT interested in him in that way. Or at least not as much as the guy she's dating.

UNLESS she is dating the other guy for
"Free dinner"/"Nothing better to do"/is "Lonely", and secretly likes the first guy instead. But of course not, because "why would a girl date a guy that she has no romantic interest in at all?" Right?

Let alone steady dating, which it seems she is doing.

So you are either saying that this girl likes guy one, and is "using" guy two;
or you concede that she does not like guy one, and likes guy two, whom she is steady dating and would turn down guy one for.

Now here's the reason she would say yes to guy one if he asked her on a date IF she wasn't already dating guy two. Even if she isn't romantically attracted to.

This is the seemingly obvious reason girls say yes to dates with guys they are not attracted to.

First, a date is only a date, right? You don't have to be attracted to them in that way. Just wanting to get to know them better as a person is enough reason.

Second, to give them a genuine chance, even if the attraction isn't there. Not because of pity, but because you never know what it could lead to.

The 'For the Strength of Youth', under 'Dating', says that it is something "a young man and a young woman to get to know each other better". It says that "it can help you learn and practice social skills, develop friendships, have wholesome fun, and eventually find an eternal companion."

Nowhere does it even SUGGEST that you should only date people you are attracted to. In fact, by telling you to "avoid going on frequent dates with the same person", it implies that you are supposed to go on many dates with many different people. You say that too, no?
Now how many girls have such fleeting attraction, in numbers that high??

Maybe the reason you have a hard time with this concept is because you're NOT a girl.

A single date is not a commitment - that is for steady dating. So saying yes to a date means saying yes to getting to know someone better, being gracious and giving someone a genuine chance, and saying yes to a good wholesome time.

Think about it - if girls only dated guys they were attracted to... casual dating would be almost nonexistent.
Girls would be all NO, NO, NO, NO, NO until they have the one they want.

Now that was a very LONG comment, but I hope this helps you understand and therefore help your female readers more. Coming from a newly-turned YSA who HAS gone on wonderful dates with wonderful guys she is NOT attracted to in any romantic way at all. But had a wonderful time and made great friendships with anyway :)

Dave Johnston said...

And thus, my friends, my point is made.

- Bro Jo

Leonis said...

To the person being asked out, I suppose it's the whole give-a-chance thing.

I think most LDS girls are taught to give the guy at least one date, etc. In all my BYU career, I've only been turned down once for a 1st date because the girl is only interested in going out with guys she's attracted to (and guess what, she doesn't go out that often comparatively).

Honestly, I've yet to see anyone, who does the asking NOT, asking the person who s/he is attracted to.