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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Expressing Your Feelings" Before You Both Leave on a Mission

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm a freshman guy in college at BYU.

I guess I could just leave it at that.

Anyways, I recently read your article response about how guys and girls can't be friends... and I suppose I mostly agree. The things you say about guys are spot on. I was actually one of the guys that you warn against for young women.

Your advice concerning them is spot on as well.

I suppose I would have been much happier had I treated dating differently.

Anyways, I'm now in a situation where I understand dating better.

The problem is this: I have a mission approaching quickly, and the girl I'm interested has her call as well.

I feel like we're both in the situation where we realize that we can't date, but we're incredibly friendly.

We've both expressed interest in looking each other up post-mission, but I'm having trouble dealing with this crush for the time being.

It's difficult to express how I feel without making things difficult in many ways. I feel like this is a situation where "just friends" applies. What else would you call mutual attraction without dating?

I've held her hand, but A) It was extremely casual, B) We were far from alone, and  C) We were watching April Conference.

To make matters even more complicated, even the optimism I have for things after our missions is tainted.

She's also had plans to attempt to rekindle some kind of relationship with a guy who returns from his mission when she does--while I'll be still in the field for 6-7 months.

What do I do for now?

I feel like the rational response is to not worry about it, if it works, it works, if it doesn't, it doesn't.

If that's what I'm supposed to do, I need help figuring out how.

I'm quite tangled up in this crush, and I can't make out the ends of my rope.

The last thing I want to do is distract her or myself from the work.

I'm sure I'll be able to focus, but I don't want to cut all ties or distract her from her mission or make things worse by fully expressing my feelings. Is it okay to be "just friends" for now?

I've been on group dates that aren't dates with her.

We see shows with a group of people our age with an approximately equal gender ratio.

I'm not paying, we're not officially paired off, and I don't even pick her up or drop her off.

It's a "Casual Group Date" in every other way.

Considering all factors: Imminent missions, mutual attraction, my potentially dangerous history (I severely doubt it will manifest itself, but I can't ignore it), the other guys she's shown interest in in the past, and the consistent, ongoing "casual group not-dates", what do I do?

I've been in and out a fairly wide spectrum of relationships, and I think I can say that this is one worth reviving after 2 years.

My conclusion is to be friends until after our missions, at which point we are in a position to resume on better footing, God willing.

I understand your reasoning with guys and girls not being able to be friends, but I feel like I have no incentive to 'make a move'. (Expressing my feelings more exactly)


- Let's Be Friends.

Dear Be,

Nor should you.

Once a young man has his call, I think he should stop dating all together. After all, what's the point?

And who says you need to be "expressing your feelings"? (Sounds like you've been watching too much Jane Austen.)  What's the point of that?

To make yourself feel better?

To try and hold onto a relationship that doesn't exist?

Or that shouldn't possibly exist for much longer?

Look, there's nothing wrong with liking her; nor is there anything wrong with the feelings you have.

It's just that the timing is off.

(Heck, I'd rather you kissed her than told her you have "feelings" . . .)

For the record, the phrase is "Guys Can't Stay Just Close Friends with Girls".  That doesn't mean you can't be in the "Friend Zone" for now. If that includes a little hand-holding, I think that's fine.

Be Rational.

And, yeah, she may be "taken" before you come back; like you said: if that's what happens it's what happens.

It' ain't like she's the only Great Girl in the Church.

Enjoy the little moments, keep yourself focused on your mission, and save the Expressing Your Feelings for when you come home from the mish and doing so can actually lead somewhere positive.

- Bro Jo

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