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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Monday, July 30, 2012

The No-Kissing Promise

Dear Bro Jo,

So I was wondering if you have any advice for me. See, my best friend and I have known each other for about 2 years now, and for at least a year and a half we've had strong feelings for each other. However, since he hasn't gone on his mission yet (we just graduated high school) we've followed the counsel of our parents and the church leaders and have kept our "relationship" open (we date each other some, but we also date other people). Along with not having a steady relationship, we've also agreed to not kiss each other - it was originally his dad's advice, but I grew to really like it and agreed!

Anyways, lately sometimes that commitment to not kiss gets tough. As I've gotten to know him better, I've realized what a wonderful and admirable young man he is. I want to kiss him, but I feel like I'm at the point where I need reasons that aren't just sufficient, but motivating and encouraging. I've been wondering what suggestions you might have. I've heard in Young Women's lessons and read in the New Era about kissing and saving your kisses. I know for FTSOY that we're not supposed to kiss passionately, but the vibe I'm getting is that a quick goodnight kiss isn't bad :) Which it's not, but I'm having trouble finding good reasons to keep the standard we had set more than a year ago.

The ones I've come up with on my own:

1. Not kissing pretty much ensures that we won't go "too far".

2. His dad was the one who wanted him not to kiss me, and even though this young man is 18, his dad had a reason, and the advice hasn't lost any merit or wisdom.

3. I know that there's nothing morally wrong by not kissing.

4. There are other ways to show each other we care.

Are there any other reasons that you can think of? Or any advice you have?

I would appreciate it :) Thanks for your help!


- Name Withheld



Dear NW,

Um . . . yeah . . . I may be the wrong person to ask about this.

See, I don't see anything wrong with two Casual Group Daters kissing each other at the end of a date. (For details check out "Bro Jo's Guide to Kissing" on the Facebook Fan Page;  and in "Bro Jo's Guide to Casual Group Dating".

I don't think the two of you should swap so much spit that your dentist can't distinguish your DNA, but I personally don't see anything wrong with a little kiss good night or goodbye.

[For the record: I think the people who say "your first kiss should be across the alter in the Temple" are completely out of their minds.]

Stay vertical, stay out of the dark, and keep your hands to yourselves.

Now, I know that's not an answer to your question, and it scares the House of Satan out of more than a few parents out there, so if you're not ready to smooch, or really feel strongly that it should be avoided, I think the key is to stay out of those situations that make kissing possible.

Don't be alone together.

Don't sit, stand, or dance too close.

Don't let hugs linger.

Don't watch romantic movies together.

Stuff like that.

But as far as reasons . . . the only one I can add is that the closer you two get, physically and emotionally (and, let's face it, especially at your age it's tough to tell the difference), then the harder it will be for each of you when he leaves.

Oh, and while we're near that tangent . . . I strongly advise neither of you making any commitments or promises to each other while he's away or for when he comes home.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks :)

I think the reason that you gave me was the reason his dad was thinking of (making it harder for him to leave/me to let him go).

And he and I have already decided that there's not going to be any commitment making when he leaves for his mission so he can stay focused on serving the Lord and I don't have to wait for something that might not even happen.

I appreciate you taking the time!


- NW


Dear NW,

Anytime.

- Bro Jo

Friday, July 27, 2012

3 Years Old Inside, 16 Years Old Outside

Dear Bro Jo,

YOU'RE AMAZING!! Thanks for all the advice you give to everyone! You seriously seem to know EVERYTHING!

Well let me start out with introducing myself.

The best way to start a friendship is to say "hi" so "hi there!!!"

I am a 16 year old girl known for smiling and being happy. I'm 3 years old at heart. But the confusing thing is...is how on earth does a 3 year old get herself into SO much drama. seriously it's crazy. all the drama going on...well you'll see

OK so I have about a kabijillionmillionthousandalonion questions (never hear of that number? ..me neither....)

Well first of all there's this boy....actually these 4 boys....

I'm one of those girls who hangs out with the guys because she's sick of hearing "AAA THAT GIRL IS WEARING THE SAME SHOES AS ME!!!"

Guy number 1 - I have been crushing on since I was 10....but he moved away. He still really likes me though and we are in contact everyday and see eachother usually once a month. He plans on marrying me and is already figuring that we should start planning on what to name our kids

Guy number 2 - was guy number 1's best friend when he lived here. Guy number 2 likes me...a lottttttttttt.....and with guy number 1 being away ive developed quite the crush on him as well. though that doesn't cancel out any feelings for guy number 1. Guy number 2 is kinda sneaky and dishonest...and I hate that. A lot.

Here's where the questions concerning these two come in.

Well both guys have kissed me.

Guy number 1 saw it as something really special and never told anybody. We actually decided not to tell anybody because it would be nice to keep it between us, and we also didn't want to give people the impression that we were exclusively dating because we don't want to get into that until after his mission

Guy number 2 told his best friends...who spread it to their best friends...and now most the people in my stake know. Which I didn't like at allllll...but the thing that makes me a little bit upset is the word he used. "making out.". uhhh...yuck. I really don't like that phrase. and to be completely honest we have kissed two or three times. and the last time toward the end of it there was a bit of tongue...but that's when I stopped the kissing because I didnt want such a physical relationship when I'm so little!!! I'm only 16!! He's 18..so he's ready for a bit more...but still.

I don't like that he used the term "making out" because it usually implies a lot more. And my guess it it has kind of ruined my reputation.

Do you have any thoughts on this? is the fact that i have been kissed okay? obviously i don't want to get into passionate kissing or anything...but a little peck on the lips...is that fine?

Guy number 3 likes me....not much drama there. We're like best friends. He gets super close to me. Mostly I dont even notice until someone points it out. But lately its been getting bad...where we will just be talking and all of a sudden he has his forehead against mine. I back away as quick as I can....but is that going to be enough to make him stop? I don't think he will do anything...even try to hold my hand. He's Mr. SUPER high standards, ESPECIALLY when it comes to dating. And although I DO NOT have any feelings for him other than just being friends....I do think he is one of the best guys in the stake. How do I keep the friendship, get him to the get the picture I don't have feelings for him, and to get him to stop standing so close to me?

Guy number 4 is another best friend of guy number 1 and guy number 2 who likes me. I told him that I used to like him...but that I buried those feelings along time ago and that if he wanted to try and unbury them to go ahead...but no promises.


I actually do have one more question there is this one boy that always feels super left out at church activities because he doesn't have any member friends. From what I hear his friends at school aren't exactly the best people ever.

And the good news is he is interested in making new, better ones. So I would really love to make friends with him. We just don't have much to talk about. I have emailed him and invited him to a few things (he has responded to my email (but no response to my reply yet) and come to the things i have invited him to).

I am one of those people who are super strict as far as "guys have to make the first move. If they are too chicken to ask me out...that's their loss" but since im only interested in friendship here and because he is suuuper shy i am making an exception to be the one making the first moves toward a friendship. He has a girlfriend (who is apparently really icky) soo that's a little promising that he won't start liking me or anything. anyway...goodness I blab...how do I befriend him without scaring him off?

haha

Told ya it was a truckload of questions...

-the 3 year-old teen



Dear Teen,

Whew!

Okay . . . I hope I don't miss anything.

1. You may not like the phrase "making out", but according to my definition that's exactly what you did. It's a broad term that can certainly include more, but doesn't need to. It may help you if you consider your reputation, assuming anything you do with anyone will get told to everyone, BEFORE you chose to do anything.

2. If you want my complete answer on kissing, check out "Bro Jo's Guide to Kissing", as well as in my book "Bro Jo's Guide to Casual Group Dating".

3. Good Guy or not, Boy #3 likes you. And no, not "just as a friend". That seems to be clear to everyone. If that’s a problem, and you’re certain you never want him to ask you out, then you need to talk to him and tell him. Either way, I think at the very least you need to tell him to stop invading your personal bubble.

4. You should also spend some time reading through my columns and posts on "Why Men Can't Stay 'Just Close Friends' with Women".

5. As for Guy #4, if that wasn't an invitation to try harder, I don't know what is. AND, while we're on the topic, "I buried those feelings a long time ago" is pretty melodramatic (and a bit of hyperbole for a 16 year old).

6. As flirty as you are (and let's face it, you're definitely boy crazy - you do know that's how everyone sees you, right?), if you simply want to fellowship this fifth guy (and even I don't believe that's your only motivation - more on that in a moment), then keep your distance, never be alone, and focus on asking him about him; don't interview him, but look for common ground by learning about what he's interested in. Just Be Nice.


You certainly are collecting hearts, aren't you?

I think that can be okay for a sixteen year old girl, but please understand two things: a) affection and attention from boys does not equate with your value - that comes from being a daughter of Heavenly Father, and b) you're not a child anymore - you can still be outgoing and have fun, but while you may THINK you're a three year old, you're not; you could learn a lot from pondering how your actions are viewed by others.


Keep having fun, and keep Casual Group Dating.


Oh, and take a breath once in a while.


- Bro Jo



PS: Another part of growing up is admitting and realizing that you weren't just some inanimate object that these boys kissed, you kissed them, too. You weren't a victim in these instances, you were a participant.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Working on Sunday

Dear Bro Jo,

So, there's this job. On my application I put that I would work any day or time, except Sunday.

They called and told me that they are only hiring people available to work one to two Sundays a month to be fair to all employees and if I would be willing to compromise that. I said no and they said that if I changed my mind I could call them back.

I feel like I did the right thing by saying no but I do need the job.

It's complicated.

Thank you so much for your time!

Sincerely,

Doubt




Dear Doubt,

I think you did the right thing, and your feelings confirm that.

Once the future Sister Jo was in the same situation. It was hard for her to turn the job down, but she did so graciously and felt so much better for doing so. A week later she got a call from the same company offering her a better paying job that came with Sundays off.

It doesn't always happen that exact way, but I do have a testimony that the Lord blesses us for keeping the Sabbath Day holy.

Unless you're saving lives, you should avoid working on Sundays whenever possible. You'll be glad if you do.

Hold to your standards.

- Bro Jo

Monday, July 23, 2012

Why Mission Focused Guys Should Casual Group Date as Teens

Dear Bro Jo.

So, I'm a 17 year old guy. And I'm supposed to want to start dating, right?

Well, I don't.

I mean, I do in that I'm attracted to girls, but I just think it's a bad idea.

Going on a mission in a couple years is supposed to be my main focus, and I'm afraid that if I start dating I'm going to get attached to someone and end up making the wrong choices.

I know I'm not to be in a relationship but to Casual Group Date and all that, but that could still distract me and I don't want to lose sight of what my real focus should be.

I'm not trying to get married yet, so what's the point of dating?

Sincerely,

Better Safe Than Sorry



Dear Sorry,

In my opinion at 16 a young man is supposed to start going on Casual Group Dates regardless of whether he thinks he's ready or wants to.

There are several reasons why.

One is that the young women your age deserve to go out on dates. They should get those moments in their lives where someone treats them special and they can dress up nice. They deserve to go out and have fun, and they should be asked out by Good Guys who aren't looking to put them in tempting or compromising situations.

But more than that is something that often gets missed: you should go out on Casual Group Dates BECAUSE you intend to serve a mission.

I'll pause while you read that again.

Dating teaches you valuable social and communication skills. It teaches how to serve someone else, to put their needs and wants before yours, how to find common ground and get along with someone you're spending time with. Dating teaches how to get to know people better, even if the situation is new, uncomfortable or awkward. In short, my brother, Casual Group Dating is great Mission Prep.

If you do it right, you won't be distracted.

In fact, that brings us to the third reason.

Casual Group Dating is something you do now when there's no pressure to marry so that when you come home from your mission you'll have the skills and experience that will help you find a good Eternal Companion when it's time in your life to get serious.


Happy Dating!

- Bro Jo

Friday, July 20, 2012

Is It Possible to be Too Nice?

Dear Bro Jo:

I've heard about you from younger people and after reading your advice, I think you're my kind of person. I'm a YSA.

Since I was about 13, there have been guys who liked me, and whether or not I noticed, other people said it was obvious to them that these guys liked me. They've all been the kind of guy who don't take care of themselves well, physically, spiritually, socially or mentally. You know the type?

(If you were to print this, please feel free to omit this phrase, but in spite of trying to be modest, I'm very smart, very involved and active at church, I'm not shy/backward, and I don't think I'm ugly. Everyone agrees with me. So I understand why I attract these guys, but why don't the guys who I'm interested in ask me out?)

Starting at the young age, I tried to be nice/polite/Christlike with these guys, while being as obviously totally uninterested datewise as I knew how, and because of the whole "guys don't get it" thing, they all assumed I really liked them because I even included them in group conversations, etc., especially when no one else in the group tried to do that. It was hard for me to hear from people (including my parents) that I needed to be less "nice" to them if I expected things to change.

I have a personal rule that if I can stand to date a guy at all I'll go with him once if he asks me, and if it isn't totally awful, then if he asks me again I'll go out at least once more. That way I'll have made some effort to actually know him before I dismiss him. But since this is the kind of guy who asks me out, most of my dates have not been much fun for me.

I'm confused because after everyone has told me I had to be a little less nice to these guys, and assured me no one would think I'm mean for doing it, when they hear that this kind of guy continues to meet me and hang around and I don't encourage them, they give me tons of grief for "not being the polite one in the room" if no one else acts any nicer to the guy. They still admit it's true when I suggest that if I did anything nice for these people now after no one else did, that would make my problem worse. But they always point out that other girls have decided they liked and even married such guys since that was who they attracted.

It gives me the shivers to think of guys like that now unfortunately, but I'm not sure whether it's right to say, I've learned my lesson and I don't need to have any more unpleasant experiences if I don't want to no matter what guilt trips people give me, or to say, it seems really bad to treat a person less than the best I can, and I ought to suck it up and do it. (If so many girls have married guys like this, then they ought to have some insight, even if it's something I'd hear and make sure to do the opposite, but everyone's remarkably devoid of advice.) What do you think?

--Nice Girl



Dear Nice Girl,

It actually took me a few reads to figure out what your questions for me are . . . but I think I've got it.

I think you're asking me whether or not you should be . . . not "mean", but "less friendly" to pathetic loser types so they'll stop getting the wrong idea, confusing your being polite with encouraging their attention.

And, perhaps as a follow-up, how can you "upgrade" the quality of guys that ask you out on dates?

Then, finally, should you expect that you'll have to "give in" and marry one of these slobs because they're the only kind of guy that you seem to attract?

Right?

Okay. Here goes.


1. No, you should never be "less nice" to anyone. To do so wouldn't be very Christ-like.

2. Widen your circle of friends to include the type of guys you like. You can't catch a trout if you only fish in the lakes stocked with bass.

3. Never marry out of desperation or pity. We're commanded to get married, but no one says you should violate the "Five A's of Why NOT to Marry THAT Person" just so you can have a ring on your finger.

Sure, "socially awkward" isn't enough of a reason to totally dismiss a person, but "Apathy" is, and that includes being apathetic about your health and appearance.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

She Says Guys, Especially LDS Ones, Only Like the "Skinny" Girls

Dear Bro Jo,

Why are guys so shallow?

What makes them seek out skinny air-heads?

What do they seen in those bimbos that they cannot see in other gals?

Your reader,

An over-fed, intellectually reading, Gnome


PS Guys in the Church are guilty of this as well. If you don't believe me, then take a look at the women in some of those wedding invitations you have. The ladies are quite lean, and I'm sure most of the education they got was child development and home rec.





Dear Sister,

Can I start by telling you honestly how tired I am of this complaint?

First of all, it's not true. You singles need to visit a family ward once in a while and notice how very few of the married people there look like the supermodels you seem to think we are. We're not as fit as we should be (which is not to say that we couldn't stand to be less superficial), we don't have the best hair or clothing, and (get this) many of us read! A lot!

Secondly, if you don't like the way you present yourself to others, stop complaining and make a change or two.


I offer that you consider this regarding the people in the wedding announcements: maybe it's not them; maybe it's you.


Look, we could talk about why some guys are attracted to women who workout, don't fill their diet with candy and junk food, who are positive and fun and friendly, and actually put an effort into looking nice, but why waste our time on the obvious?

The point is you and your jealousy. Perhaps instead of being so shallow yourself (after all, YOU are the one labeling everyone and equating attractiveness with intelligence) you should turn some of your focus inward. I'm not saying you're unhealthy, or that you need a makeover, but something is keeping you from being happy with whom you are. Now maybe a workout and a trip to the spa will make you feel better, but it seems to me that the number one thing you need to do to make yourself more attractive to guys is an attitude change.

No one says you have to look like you just left a photo-shoot (and for all I know, you do), but even the "prettiest" girls aren't sexy if they have a downer attitude. (And my guy readers will back me up on this. Plus, I can tell you, as a younger man who dated girls that were publicly considered "model-pretty" - because some were - it ain't enough.)

You're right, I do get a lot of wedding announcements (comes with the job, I suppose) and lot's of the girls in them are young and fit. But not all. The one thing that they all DO have in common is that they look happy.

Oh, and while I'm thinking about it, I see nothing wrong with studying Child Development or Home Economics; you don't mention what you've studied, but the superiority complex you've allowed it to give you is not attractive, either.

I'm sorry the guy you like is marrying someone you're not; learn from this and make the inner changes you need to make so that the next one, the smarter one who will appreciate the wonderful person that you are, doesn't get away. Or get pushed away by you.

If you don't drop the wall you're putting up, no one will be able to see through it to how wonderful you are.

And, aside from the bitterness, you are wonderful! Find away to let it go so the better you, regardless of the packaging it's in, will shine through!

- Bro Jo

Monday, July 16, 2012

Getting Married at BYU - (Dateless at BYU - Part 3)

[Readers - Do you remember the letter from "Dateless at BYU" that I published last March 19th? I published a followup last week, July 9th ("Heartbreak at BYU"). That second set of letters showed that 8 months of dating had ended in Heartbreak. Below is the comment she sent to me 8 months after that.


So now what do you think?

- Bro Jo]



Dear Bro Jo,

I was actually the one who wrote the original "Dateless at BYU" letter and the followup "Heartbroken at BYU".

I didn't go out of my comfort zone to feel better about myself. I don't need guys to feel good about myself.

I didn't want to lose out on something amazing because I was shy so I took your advice and talked to more guys. Talking to more guys led me to a relationship that ended up breaking my heart but I am so grateful for that experience because of who it taught me so much and helped me realize who I want to be . . . made me realize who I am.

It helped me see what I wanted in life and I started living towards that goal. I continued going out of my comfort zone and talking to guys and I have now found a wonderful man that I get to marry in the temple in two weeks. I was rejected a few times but it made me stronger for it and ready to meet my spouse.


Now I have met a wonderful man who I get to marry in the temple in two weeks. I am so grateful for all of my experiences as they have helped me be ready to meet my spouse.

- Getting Married at BYU



Dear Getting Married,

Good for you.

And congratulations!

All the best,

- Bro Jo

Friday, July 13, 2012

When She's Still Hung Up on the Guy that's Coming Home

Dear Bro Jo,

Ok here is the situation:

I've been dating a girl who is waiting for a missionary and he comes home in about a month.

It's kind of a long distance relationship between us but we see each other for about a week every month.

She has told me that she would be able to spend her life with me.

But as the time gets shorter till he's home I can tell she's not sure what to do about the situation and for that matter I don't know what to do or say about it.

We both have told each other multiple times we love each other.

Any suggestions on what to do or say in this situation?

- Name Withheld



Dear NW,


Brother, as long as she's clinging to him she'll never be able to fully be with you. You need to find out where she stands. That means you need to come out and ask her. Does she need to wait to see how she feels about him, or is she ready to commit to you?

With only a month out, you may have to cut her loose and see which of you (if either) she picks. But it you really do love her, and you're ready to make an eternal commitment, then don't give up without a fight.

You want her to be sure, but you don't want that interpreted as you not caring how things turn out.

Hang in there, cowboy, this is either going to be the best or the worst.

Either way, you're going to learn some pretty important things pretty soon.

Let us know how it goes!

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Obsessed?

Dear Bro Jo,

After banging my head around for ages trying to figure this out, I feel compelled to ask for your advice. I've sent you letters before on more general topics, but I need some personal advice now.

First, my background: I'm nearly 20 and a girl. I grew up semi-active in the Church with inactive parents. I was never very involved in youth activities growing up because of typical youth issues- didn't get along with the people, too cliquey, etc. For the past two years, I've gone to college where I was one of 3 members.

With all of this, and other factors of course, I haven't really dated. And while I know I'm not yet ready to be in a serious relationship or get married, I'm tired of never having any romance in my life and painfully aware that never having been kissed at age 20 is not normal. But, I have hope because I'll be transferring to a church university next year which, if nothing else, will take away most of my excuses for not dating.

Now, my situation: Last winter, I was home for a month during the holidays. I go to the YSA ward when I'm home, and it's hard to be really comfortable there, but it's better than going to my "home" ward without my parents. During this past break it was better because I had a couple friends in the ward with me.

Through one of these friends I started to become friends with a guy who had always been the talk of the girls at church when we were Beehives, but that I had never really spoken to before. I've always had a mild interest in him because he's so gorgeous, but after starting to actually talk to him, I developed a huge crush. I knew nothing could, or would, happen between us, since I was only home for a month, and he was supposed to be starting his mission papers and leaving in May (He's now nearly 20, as well).

In discussing a situation about a friend, we had both expressed that we were of the opinion that steady dating before a mission wasn't a good idea. But with my full-blown crush on him, I still had hopes that we might go out on a date or he might be my first kiss. None of that happened, but I was still overly gratified with the flirting that went on between us... and the one night of holding hands (at FHE, none the less) that he initiated. I realize that I was stupid about the entire situation... my expectations and hopes for what would go on between us were unrealistic and paradoxical, and there was hanging out, so the relationship was never actually defined.

Toward the end of my break, it became clear that he wasn't just in a flirty relationship with me, but with another girl, too. I was upset, but I knew I couldn't fault him. I mean if we had actually been going out on dates, that's what casual dating would be, right? We said goodbye when I went back to school assuming it would be for more than two years, since he was going to leave on his mission in May.

This past semester, I have retained this ridiculous crush on him. We've talked a few times, although I haven't heard anything else about his mission, I don't even think his papers have been turned in. It's June now, and I'll be going back home soon. And his Facebook status has just changed to "In a Relationship" As much as I know that I have no reason to be sad or upset, I am. I was getting excited to see him again, and entertaining romantic fantasies...

I suppose what I'm asking is how do I get over this huge, irrational crush on him? I mean, he's obviously unavailable, and even if he wasn't seeing anyone, I guess he's still planning on going on a mission so there is obviously not no kind of a future with us. I need to get over him. I'm just not sure what I can do to get him out of my head.

Here's hoping you have some advice and thanks in advance!

-Obsessed



Dear Obsessed,

I'm sad, too.

It sounds like this guy is putting off missionary service because of a girl. I wish he wasn't. But I am glad that you're not the girl!

The way to "get over" someone is to be social with other people and let time pass. Put away all the things that remind you of this "relationship" that isn't going to (and shouldn't) happen.

Spend your time focusing on guys that present possible relationships that might actually lead to the Temple. Going to a Church-centered school, or at least a school where a strong institute program exists, will help.

Be Patient.

And Be Smart.

- Bro Jo

Monday, July 9, 2012

Heartbroken at BYU (Dateless at BYU - Part 2)

[Readers - Do you remember the letter from "Dateless at BYU" that I published last March 19th? Well . . . this is the letter she sent me 8 months later. She went from no dates to meeting lots of guys to dating to a boyfriend.  I think the title above gives away how that turned out.  - Bro Jo]




Dear Bro Jo,

My boyfriend and I recently broke up.

I understand why it didn't work out and I have learned a lot from the experience.

I have learned more about what I want and need in a relationship, and more about myself by being with someone.

We only dated for a month, but were pretty serious. The night before he had talked about how he could see our relationship going somewhere and maybe even marriage, but neither of us were ready to think about that. He kind of freaked himself out and felt we were going too fast and broke it off the next night at the temple.

This really has been hard for me because the one place I need to go for help and comfort will now always remind me of him and that night. I understand that it wasn't meant to be and I deserve someone who will be able to give me what I need in a relationship, but it’s still so hard.

He is in my YSA ward, so I see him all the time and last night we talked for the first time after the break up. It was so hard for me to see him and talk to him after he broke my heart.

Everyone keeps saying it'll get better with time and I'll be okay, but right now I just don't see that happening. I have lost my appetite and I know it is really unhealthy for me, but I just don't seem to care anymore.

It is hard for me to focus on my classes and work and want to do anything. He was the one person here I could talk to and tell everything to. I have lost touch with friends back home and don't have any really close friends here. I don't know what to do. I know that it will get better and I'll be okay, I just don't see it happening anytime soon.

I hate being so upset and depressed all the time and I know my friends are worried about me. Do you have any advice? He was such an amazing guy, it has been really hard for me to lose him and constantly be reminded of that every time I see him.

Please help,

Heartbroken




Dear Heartbroken,

I waited to answer your email because the truth is that time does heal. It's been almost two weeks . . . how's it going?

- Bro Jo



Bro Jo,

I am doing pretty good.

Some days are still pretty rough, but we've talked a few times and I've been okay.

Time definitely does heal.

I am not completely better by any means, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Healing



Dear Healing,

Hang in there. It gets better. And some time you'll find someone new . . . and that will help a lot.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you so much for your help. It has gotten a lot better. I can see him and talk to him with no problem and am interested in some other guys. Things are definitely a lot better.

- Healing



[Readers - Well? What do you think? A week from today I'll publish part 3.  - Bro Jo ]

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Hesitant Boyfriend - Part 3

[ Readers - This is Part 3 of this series which began on Friday, June 22nd. How do you feel this situation turned out? Is it what you expected? What do you think will happen to this couple? Do you agree with me that it he "doesn't seem willing to follow" where she wants to go?   - Bro Jo ]



Dear Bro Jo,

Update: Something else he mentioned the other day, that maybe we should date other people got me thinking, and today he told me that he thinks he was inspired to say that.

I hadn't even thought of it as an option, and when I first read your response that you think we should break up, I completely dismissed it.

I'll be honest. I wanted to find a way for this to work without having to be without him.

I told him that we should take a break for a while and date other people and not see each other.

I think that would help us both to see how it's like to be on dates with other people because we both have no experience outside of each other.

But it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Once we realize that either we can't live without each other or we're better off without each other, we can decide what to do from there.

- Impatient



Dear Impatient,

Thank you for the update. I think it came before my last letter to you.

Perhaps you should look at this situation as though it's not as if you're leaving him, but that he's not willing to follow where it is you want to go.

I think you're absolutely right in your assessment. Perhaps his love for you will motivate and inspire him. Whatever the result, I wish eternal joy for both of you.

No one should ever be completely written out of our lives because they're struggling with addiction, but marrying someone who has not overcome their addiction is never a good idea.

We all have stuff to work on, improvements to make as we travel down this path of life with the goal of returning to live with our Heavenly Father. As we journey we should offer a helping hand to those that need it along the way. But like the rescue diver, in our attempts to help others we can't allow ourselves to be drowned.

Let us know what happens, would you?

God bless,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

When Texting Borders on the Inappropriate

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm back. This time - I hope - not with a silly question which I already know the answer to.

So I could tell you a long or short version of this story. I'm gonna stick to short unless you need more details. Basically there's this guy (non-member) who I have gotten into a habit of texting quite regularly. He's nice and everything. But I'm thinking it may be bordering on inappropriate. So I guess my question is - how can I politely decrease or eventually stop this? Is it the right thing to do?

Oh and I'm seventeen. And I'm thinking that maybe you might need some more background but we'll see how this goes.

~ Trying To Text Tactfully




Dear Texter,

You say you're "thinking it may be bordering on inappropriate"; I say that's a prompting of the Spirit telling you that it most certainly is.

You don't mention what your prior relationship was with this guy, nor you discuss the nature of your texts, but to be honest neither really matters.

Stop making excuses, stop looking for reasons to do what you know is wrong. You know you're supposed to stop, so stop.

Look, not all texting is evil. It can be a quick and quiet way to deliver a message. When Sister Jo and I are apart, like when she's at a football game and I'm at a orchestra concert, we'll text each other; "They're playing this song", "he just threw for a touchdown", stuff like that.

I personally think it's . . . (dare I say?) . . . PATHETIC when people choose texting over talking. You have the phone in your hand, they have the phone in their hand, there's no reason for you to be quiet . . . dial the darned number and actually TALK to each other. Sheesh!

The next time this guy texts you, if you want to talk to him, text him back THIS ONE LAST TIME, and say "I'm giving up texting; if you want you can give me a call".

After that, or if you don't want to talk to him, just stop responding to his texts. Cold.

He'll probably get mad, but that's his problem, not yours.

Just because someone texts you, there's no law that says you have to respond.

- Bro Jo

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Conversation About Serious Single Dating

Dear Bro Jo,

I was reading your blog about how girls can suggest that a guy take them on a date. I would really like to do this, but don't know how to proceed.

I want to suggest to a quiet shy guy to take me on a date, but how do I do this? I've done this once with another guy because by sheer luck the guy brought up Tron and I said "I want to see it, but I was reeeeeeally hoping some guy would ask me on a date to see it." But I want to suggest a first date that isn't a movie for this guy. What should I do?


- R


Dear R,

The same basic principles apply. Check out:  "Bro Jo's "HOW a GIRL CAN GET a GUY to ASK HER on a DATE".


- Bro Jo



Dear Bro Jo,

But what if he's really shy and easily intimidated by too much boldness such as saying "When are you going to ask me out?"?

A lot of those techniques are very bold and demanding and I'm afraid the guy might think I'm high maintenance for using them and I'll scare him away.

To the question: "So, what does a girl have to do to let you know she wants to ask you out on a date?" I could easily see him shyly going "I don't know..." to which I have no idea how to reply.

- R




Dear R,

The truth is that a lot of LDS guys need some Serious Single Dating education. I can only get to so many; you sisters are going to have to help out.

Be bold.

When he says "I don't know" you reply:

"Well, let me help you with that. When a girl, a great girl that you should date, like me, touches you on the arm like THIS when she's talking to you, it means she's interested in you. It's called flirting. You should take that as a hint and ask her out."

If he asks "how?", you respond "you say 'hey, would you like to go to dinner with me' and I ask 'is this a date' and you say 'why yes, it is' and I say ' great!' and then you take me out to dinner".

See?

She who hesitates is dateless.

- Bro Jo



Dear Bro Jo,

I'll take your advice on that, although I'm often afraid of being too bold and scaring off guys only because I am very flirtatious and have an overwhelming personality.

I assume that since I asked him to go on the group date with me, he knows that I'm interested and if he doesn't ask me on a date knowing this, then he is not interested.

- R



Dear R -

The problem is that you're being bold . . . wrongly.

And you're assuming . . . incorrectly.

Asking a guy on a date says "I'm desperate (or easy) and think you're unmanly" (1. What are you doing going on "group dates" at your age, anyway? and 2. This is where I get "you're too old fashioned" comments, but the thing is that at our core guys and girls have been the same since the Garden, so it's not "old fashioned", it's historical); teaching a guy how to ask you on dates says "I'm interested and worth the effort". The Church is full of guys who are "interested" but don't know what to do about it, and I'm pretty sure you've got yourself one of those.

So . . . are you going to keep making excuses and trying to debate me on this, or are you going to make a move?

The RIGHT KIND of move.

- Bro Jo



Dear Bro Jo,

If he ever decides to contact me again, I will definitely make a move.

I would like to put a word in for guys, though, and say that a lot of them actually like being asked out (it's not necessarily a good thing, seeing as it makes them lazier, but most of my guy friends are like this - whether they are shy or assertive).

Usually I do just as you say to do and suggest they ask me out. However, I only know how to do this by means of sneakily slipping it into a casual conversation. When my roommates come up with a group date and I have limited communication with the guy (who I never see in person, doesn't like texting/IM conversations, and doesn't like the phone either) and limited time, I usually just ask a guy directly.

However, I'm trying to break this habit.

And I absolutely promise that if he asks me to hang out, I will tell him to ask me on a date instead :)

- R



Dear R,

Good for you!

GUYS liked to be asked out. MEN do not.

Men go to work, set goals and get married. Men romance women, and honor and cherish them.

Guys sit around all day. Guys are too pathetic to get dates on their own. Guys like easy women who value themselves so little that they require no effort.

Men talk.

Guys text.


No need for you sisters to be sneaky. Come right out and say "hey, buddy, be a man and have the courage ask me out".

And tell your roommates for me to stop enabling the pathetic losers. If they don't stop doing all the work, the best they can hope for is a bunch of lazy Guys.

- Bro Jo

PS: If he's TOO shy, and just won't take a hint (or act on a hint) then find someone else. Too many great guys out there for you to waste your time with a Dating Couch Potato.



Dear Bro Jo,

Hm, good point. Thank you for your advice. And I'll make sure to tell the roommates. Although to be perfectly honest, they do come up with some fantastically fun group dates :) I will miss those...

- R



Dear R,

Dating should still be lots of fun!

Turn those fun Group Dates into Ward Activities.

Drawing a clear line between Serious Single Dating and the Ward Social will help these guys to learn how to date properly at their age, help you be seen as someone worth dating, worth the extra effort.

- Bro Jo