Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published several times a month.

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, "Dear Bro Jo" is not an LDS Church website. (And Sister Jo thinks you should know that he's sometimes wrong, and often way too opinionated for his own good.)

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Friday, August 29, 2014

One Girl's Story - Part 6: The Break Up

Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks Bro Jo!

I AM worth the effort. (Funny side note. I've never been on this end of a breakup. I'm always the one who ends it. So I feel like I'm walking upside down. Not quite sure how to take it. Hmm. Karma. I have a sudden empathy for all my past boys. :))

I guess a week feels long when you're dating someone, but in reality it's a very short time.

I can wait two weeks.

And if nothing happens, his loss.

 - CG

Dear CG,

His loss indeed.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know how it turned out. I waited two weeks and then sent him an email that basically said, "If you don't feel like dating, that's fine. But I have no idea what you're feeling. Come on, man. I'm worth a phone call."

(Not exactly what I said, but that's the idea.)

He emailed me back saying that he was in Hawaii and would call as soon as he got home, unless he was able to catch a flight to Japan.

He did catch a flight to Japan and was there for a week.

He sent me some pictures while he was gone, but he wasn't able to call.

But he did call me as soon as he was back in the states.

(While he was sitting in the Seattle airport actually.)

He told me that he had just needed to take a step back and think about it for a while.

His last girlfriend dumped him just before I met him and she burned the relationship pretty badly, so I can totally understand him being a bit hesitant (although he didn't say that was why he was nervous. I'm just guessing).

So he was distant for that week.

And then the other week and a half I didn't hear from him, he was traveling.

(His friend got him tickets last minute or something. It was very sudden.)

He still wants to get to know me, and still thinks I'm great, just needed some space.

I'm not resentful, so I still want to at least be friends.

He called me last night and we talked for about an hour, and it wasn't awkward at all.

I suppose that means we're still friends at least. I'm a little more cautious now though, because I think every friendship/relationship needs really good communication, and he didn't show that very well.

But it also needs patience and understanding, so I'm willing to be that.

I'm not going to chase him.

He can chase me.

Plus, I'm going back to school in less than two weeks, so I'm certainly not going to lack boys.

However, he's really amazing and pretty much blows everyone else I've dated out of the water.

Right now, I'm torn between totally falling for him again, and trying to hold back because I don't want to be super attached to someone who could drop me without warning or explanation.


Well. That's where it stands.

Merry Christmas!!! :)

Thanks! -CG

PS. I bought a copy of your Casual Group Dating Guide for my brother for Christmas. He turns 16 in 2 weeks. He loves it. :)

Dear CG,

Sounds like things are as well as can be expected.

At some point you may need to come out and tell him what you told me:

"hey, I think you're the most amazing guy I've ever met, but I can't wait around for you to feel the same way about me. If you want this to happen you'd better make a move before I'm no longer available".

When and if the Spirit inspires.

Merry Christmas!

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

One Girl's Story - Part 5: The Older Man

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi, I emailed you a while ago asking about dating a guy.

He's 27 and I'm 18.

You told me to take it slow and be careful.

So I did date this guy.

I went down with my friend/his cousin to see him one weekend, then he came up to see me a couple weeks later etc.

It's a two hour drive, and we've spent about four weekends total together.

Besides visiting, we've had great phone conversations.

Not everyday, but usually once or twice a week.

We both really liked each other, and we got along great.

No pressure, but enough attachment to make the drive every few weeks.

We've never kiss-kissed, just held hands and kissed on the cheek.

So here's where I'm confused.

He came to see me two weeks ago.

We texted a bit throughout the week after that, then I called him on the following Sunday night.

We talked for 3 hours.

That was the last I've heard from him.

Not a single text, phone call, or email.

I texted him twice to tell him something (and to hint that I wanted to talk) but the conversation didn't go anywhere.

So I'm assuming that he's moved on and doesn't want to date me.

Which makes me sad, but I'm not torn up over it.

I just feel like we were close enough (and mature enough) to merit at least a text or call that said he didn't feel good about dating me and the always cliche and unrealistic offer to "be friends".

So here's where I'm stuck:  Do I totally let it go and not contact him at all, or do I ask him about it and try to stay on friendly terms?

And if so, what should I say?

- CG

Dear CG,

You've contacted, he responded, just not in the way you wanted.

I say wait a little.

Let him come to you.

(You ARE worth the effort, aren't you?)

 He could be very busy, or forgetful to the point of being inconsiderate, but I agree with you: he's acting like it's over.

At the very least he's unsure.

Either way he should talk to you about it.

If you don't hear from him for two weeks, it will be time to call and hold his feet to the fire.

If he doesn't answer and won't respond, write him off as a coward and, sadly, move on.

Relationships sometimes need a little time and space.

Be patient.

- Bro Jo

Monday, August 25, 2014

One Girl's Story - Part 4: He Broke Up with Her

Dear Bro Jo,


I have a question.

- CG

Dear CG,


- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Ok, so you might remember that I emailed and about the guy in the class etc. Remember?

- CG

Dear CG,


You said he asked you out multiple times and you were "exceptionally happy".

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Yes, he did.

And then again and again and again.

We seriously dated for two months.

I can't even say how wonderful it was.

I could not have prescribed myself a better guy.

But then he broke up with me (the day before finals week, jerk.).

He is going to Jerusalem to study for a year, which I think was a big part of it.

And he said he prayed about it and all that.

I did not get the same impression and was mildly devastated.

Okay.  A lot devastated.

- CG

Dear CG,

Sorry to hear that when does he leave?

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

He said he still wanted to be friends.

He leaves the 29th of this month.

- CG

Dear CG,

Does your "friend" know that you're going to be dating other people?

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,


So what does "friends" mean? I haven't heard from him hardly at all.

- CG

Dear CG,

It means "I want to break up, I'm probably an idiot, and I want to make it seem less painful".

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,


I was afraid of that

- CG

Dear CG,

I'm sorry.

I wish he was smarter.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

It's alright.

If the train doesn't stop at your station, it's not your train.

Stills sucks hardcore.

- CG

Dear CG,

That's why, when a smart enough guy comes along, you'll appreciate being married even more.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

You're right.

I'll be okay.

I just miss him still.

Not even the relationship.

Just talking and laughing together.

Oh well.

Any suggestions for moving on?

- CG

Dear CG,

Time and . . . dating others

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,



That's the truth.

I've got to get into a singles ward or institute or something before I go crazy.

I'm having dating withdrawls.


I've read no less than 8 books and learned Mozart's 3rd violin concerto in three weeks trying to stay busy and sane.

I know I'll be ok.

I was supposed to date this man and I learned so much from him about myself and the gospel. and I did pray for the spirit to guide our relationship. but I forgot to pray for the humility to accept the answer.

If nothing else, dating teaches me patience and trust in the Lord. which is the most important thing from any experience.

Plus. I'm a writer, and every legit author has to experience a certain amount of pain and emotional trama.

So it's just future novel material, right?

- CG

Dear CG,

Well . . . it is right, but the saying that you must experience stuff to write well or write about it is garbage and who knows, CG, maybe he'll get a clue and change his mind and when he does, maybe you'll be available . . .  and maybe you won't.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

It was said with an hint of sarcasm.

Trying to make myself feel better.

That's right.

Either we need to be apart to learn a few things, or we've learned what we were supposed to and we should find someone else.

Thanks for the help, Bro Jo.

Even just for listening.

- CG

Dear CG,

No worries!

It's what I do.

- Bro Jo

Friday, August 22, 2014

One Girl's Story - Part 3: She's Exceptionally Happy!

Dear CG,

You know . . . if the teacher says "no dating until the course is over" you could always plan to tell this guy after the term ends.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Hmm, except I won't be on campus taking classes next semester. Which I suppose would mean I'm out of luck. 

And do you mean I should tell this guy to take me out after the semester ends? 

That seems really presumptuous. 

I'm pretty good at getting guys to ask me out without being that forward

- CG

Dear CG,

Problem solved, then.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Good news!! 

Today after class, he asked me out! 

I talked to the teacher later, and he said it was kosher. 

I'm very excited! =)

- CG

Dear CG,

That's great! 

Have fun, 

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

I thought you'd like to know that after our first date, we went out 7 times in two weeks. 

Now we're "official". :) 

I'm exceptionally happy. 

- CG

Dear CG,


- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

It really, really is. 

We're so happy. 

I'm brimming over with it.

- CG

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One Girl's Story - Part 2: Getting Stood Up and Dating One of Her Students

Dear Bro Jo,

Here's my dilemma:  I'm working as a TA this semester, and I have a crush on one of the guys in the class.

I work with the teacher in the classroom every day.

How can I flirt with this guy without being unprofessional?

So far, I've stuck with more eye contact than necessary, smiles, and very brief conversations.

As a second problem, I got stood up yesterday.

I had plans with a guy (I've been out with him 3 times) to go to lunch.

He said he'd call me so we could meet up, but he never called. I didn’t call him, because I never call guys.

But should I call him out on his flakiness?

I certainly don't want to go out with him again, but I think he should know that flaking out is not attractive. 


- CG

Dear CG,

Failure to call isn't standing you up; that's when he makes a plan to meet you and fails to show. 

None-the-less, he clearly was flaky. 

Unless of course something happened . . . it would be awful to call him out only to find that he had a family crisis to deal with. 

I don't think you should call at this point. Instead check with a mutual friend to make sure he's okay. 

When the friend asks you why you're checking, tell the truth: he was supposed to call to take you out and didn't. 

That will get back to him and if he realizes he's made a mistake or that he owes you an apology or explanation, he'll call. If he does you might want to listen; perhaps he's worth another chance. 

As for the guy in class, I have a firm "no dating students" policy with the college instructors I supervise. 

They're not allowed to date anyone that they might be teaching now or who is enrolled elsewhere in our same program. 

If someone is in a teaching or grading position as a TA, that applies to them as well, but that ends for the TA once the semester is over. 

If the student of interest is not in the course being helped by the TA, or if the TA is a non-grading, non-instructing class assistant, then dating is okay. 

So . . . I don't know if the same rules apply where you're at, you may want to talk to the instructor, but in general I'd say nothing goes until he's no longer in the class. 

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Ah, dang it. 

I really want to go out with him. 

I do a lot of in-class stuff and all the grading, so I guess I'll have to talk to the teacher. 

Thanks for the advice!

- CG

Dear CG,

That's why I'm here!

- Bro Jo

Monday, August 18, 2014

One Girl's Story - Part 1: Serious Single Dating Starts

Hi Bro Jo,

No worries, I'm not in the midst of a dating dilemma this time. :)

Everything's going well. I love school, and I'm working and playing and learning to my heart's content.

I was just reading your blog and looking for the links to "How a Girl Can Get a Guy to Ask Her Out" and the related ones.The links don't work anymore.

Tonight at our ward social, I had a guy ask for my number.

I met him at FHE last night, and we talked a lot at the social tonight and then he asked for my number before we left.

My roommates commented that I seemed to "have it down", meaning getting guys to ask me out.

Two of them are graduating this semester, no boyfriends, rare dates.

They're not desperate, but they'd really like to be married.

They are both beautiful, kind, smart, and funny.

And I really mean that.

They are awesome.

I honestly have no idea why they don't get asked out and I do.

Ok, I'll admit that I could tell as soon as I sat down at FHE last night that this guy noticed me. I liked him too, so I flirted.

But I don't know exactly what I do that makes guys ask me out.

What can I tell my roommates?

I'd love if you'd send me your lists to share with them.

The only things that I can name that I do is more eye contact and lots of smiles, an arm touch, and intelligent conversation.

I also watch a lot of college football, which may or may not make a difference.


College Girl

Dear CG,

I'm not sure what's happening with the links; if you can tell me which ones where, I can check them out and update them.

Most of the links you're talking about go to the Notes section on the Facebook page.

Here are some of what you might be looking for to share with your roommates:


Bro Jo's "HOW a GIRL CAN GET a GUY to ASK HER on a DATE"


And you're absolutely right: the flirting, the eye contact, the smiles, the arm touching, the "knowing things to say about what guys are interested in" (like college football) are all excellent, and I think essential, tools.

No matter how wonderful, smart, funny, attractive, or whatever a girl may be, asking her out can be quite scary for a lot of guys.

In fact, the more of those things she is, the scarier it can be.

And, as we all know (because otherwise this column may not exist) Guys (especially the Good Ones) just aren't getting the training they need from their parents and Church leaders when it comes to dating and wooing women.

So a girl has got to signal that his attention is wanted and welcome.

That's true inside the Church and out, and it's been true FOREVER.

The key, I think, is being able to do that without over pursuit or seeming desperate because that turns Good Guys off.

The answer to that?

Trick him to thinking he's in charge by allowing him to do the asking and think he's making the decisions. 

How do I know?

Sister Jo is The Master.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks Bro Jo! Helpful as always!

- CG

Dear CG,

Any time!

- Bro Jo

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stuck in the Friend Zone

Dear Bro Jo,

The "Friend Zone" is an ongoing problem at BYU-Idaho.

Guys don't ask girls out so we naturally place them in the Friend Zone (side note- to get out all they have to do is ask, if it goes good TADA!!!!)

Yet they complain "every girl has zoned me".

Then on the other hand when we show interest, THEY friend zone US.

I also want to say I know it's hard for guys to ask girls out.

It just seems like a vicious circle.

I am so tired of everyone complaining about this Friend Zone.

What can we do to get this to go away?

To get not only the guys but us girls as well to open their eyes? 

Please help,

- Stuck at Friend Zone University

Dear Zoner,

All you have to do is listen to what you've heard over and Over and OVER again:

1) Guys and Girls Can't Be Just Friends

2) Stop Hanging Out

You have no one but yourselves to blame.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Followup: How Do You Get Your Kids to Go to a Church School

Dear Bro Jo,

Well posting my original letter at this time made me reflect on the last two years and the journey to a decision.

I let my daughter make the choice.

After researching every state and school for her major she applied to the state university, a couple private schools and BYU, she was accepted to all and received generous scholarship packages from all of them except BYU which is subsidized by tithing dollars of course.

I prayed and knew she was headed to NY but I waited and watched her struggle to find her own answer.

I did check out the institute programs and called the local bishops.

I also talked to a parent who sent her daughter to NY for college and listened to her advice.

It is a leap of faith but following Heavenly Father's personal plan for you is the most important thing.

I hope all the high school seniors study and pray to know where they should go:)

PS All the smart young men are going to have to do internships in New York City so they can meet her!

- Not a Confused Parent Anymore

Dear Parent,

Thank you so much for the update!

One of the hardest things a parent needs to do is to know when and how to hold back; it's something I'm sure I could improve upon.

Thank you for your testimony of prayer, and be assured: New York is FULL of smart LDS Single Men.

- Bro Jo

Monday, August 11, 2014

Money and Marriage

Dear Bro Jo,

Firstly, I love the blog. It's very informative and helpful :)

I want to say from the outset though that this question isn't imminent for me- my mission papers are about to be processed, so I'm still a little way off from reaching this stage.

After reading "Pre-Marriage Concerns: Money and Repentance" (7 Sept 2012)", I was curious. In your opinion, how financially secure should a person be before contemplating marriage?

I know the Brethren have long counseled us not to delay marriage in order to pursue financial goals or a career, but to me it just doesn't make sense if both husband and wife are still pursuing their education, whatever form that may take.

I know there are several people in my ward who were married really young (like 18-21) and are very much financially secure now but did struggle in the early days, especially since the education part took longer because the husbands went to uni part-time in order to work as well.

To me pursuing an education and being married are two separate paths (maybe more viable if you're coming to the end of the education period), but we have counsel to do otherwise.

What's your view?


The Future Analyst

Dear Future,

You couldn't be more wrong.

Marriage and education are both part of our progression in life, and frankly each makes the other easier to handle.

They're linked.

And we've been counseled often not to put marriage off for school, either.

It's good for a young couple to struggle through the lean years together. It brings them closer as they work to build something.

I'll bet there are couples in your ward can testify to that, as do Sister Jo and I.

Consider:  I was married in my early 20's and we had our first six children by the time I was 30.  If we go by worldly standards we weren't even close to "financially secure" until I was at least 40 . . . if even then.  Look at all of those things I would have missed out on if we were just now starting our family!

Often the result of "putting things off until we're better prepared" results in "never doing them at all.

Now stop worrying about this kind of stuff and go focus on the mish.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Heads and Shoulders

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro Jo!

So I'm having some issues with this boy I like and I don't know what to do...

First, I'll give you a little background. I'm 18 and a senior in high school, he's 17 and a junior in my stake. I've had a bit of a crush on him for quite some time, but not until a few months ago did we actually ever see each other outside of Church activities.

He invited me to Church Prom with him, and I invited him to my school prom.

They were great!

It really seems like he likes me and I like him too, but I just don't know what to do.

I'm heading off to college at BYU this fall and he will still be back here in high school, but will probably end up going to BYU the year after.

I know that I should just move on and not worry about it, but that's a lot easier said than done.

I can't stop thinking about him and how well we get along, etc.

I know I should just get over the crush, but other than the slight age difference I don't really see any good reason to.

How do you get over someone when they haven't done anything to give you reason to not like them?

Also, I've been after both proms on the ride home I like fell asleep on his shoulder. It seems pretty innocent to me but I just wanted another opinion about it.

Finally, should I ever tell this boy how I really feel before I go to college?

I think he probably can tell I like him, and my friend told me that he likes just seems like a big elephant in the room at this point.

Even though I can't and shouldn't expect anything to come out of it, I still feel like he should know how I feel.

But I don't know if this will just make things more complicated for both of us.

Sorry if I rambled, I'm just so confused about what I'm feeling.

- Conflicted

Dear Conflicted,

No one says you have to "get over" your crush.

Enjoy it!

Write about it in your journal.

Have fun!

I don't see anything too wrong with you falling asleep on his should on the ride home, especially if other people were in the car and the car wasn't "parking".

Don't make it a habit, or take it any further, and don't put yourself in situations where even though you may be asleep, someone else's hands can wander.

And, no, you shouldn't tell him you like him before you go to college. 

There's no point and no advantage.

Enjoy these moments, but keep it casual.

Give him the freedom to date other girls while you're away at school and you go on all the Serious Single Dates (with non-creeper-stalker boys) that you get asked out on.

- Bro Jo

Monday, August 4, 2014

What If This Soon-to-be Sister Missionary's "Boyfriend" Wants Her to Stay?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro Jo!!

It's been a while since I've written to you. I can happily say that I've received my call to the (withheld) Mission and will be leaving in soon.

But before I go I have another question for you.

I met a guy this past year while up at BYU-I.

We were acquaintances for a while and then became friends.

When that happened I had just gotten out of a relationship, and he was in one.

Then he broke up with the girl and Facebook messaged me one night and ever since then we have texted, skyped, or Facebook messaged nearly every day.

We are good friends.

He has helped me some things as a friend, including stressful finals, and is really the best guy friend I've ever had.

Most of the help I've given him has consisted of: telling him how to deal with the girls that he's liked all summer.

He really wants to get in a relationship with this next one.

They have a couple of dates set up for the next few weeks, even though they're in different states right now.

This is great!

He's an R.M., a great guy, ready to start a family and I am so proud of him.

Only problem?

I'm in love with him too.

Now, I know I'm leaving, so my gut says I have no right to tell him, it wouldn't help and would hurt the relationship.

I want him as a friend, and if I come home and he's still single, I don't want anything awkward between us if we pick up where we left off, (except that I wouldn't advise him about other girls any more, obviously).

He's pretty much told me he views me as a sister/friend, whatever.

But there are a few times that he says dumb stuff, like once before I actually got my call when I told him that at one point, I would have stayed if someone had asked me to and he said "I wouldn't have minded if you'd stayed."


Okay, so because I have people telling me different things, I'm right in keeping my mouth shut about the way I feel about him and just being the cheerleader friend, right?

I think I am, but you know these things and I'm curious as to what you'd say.

One reason I ask is that a married guy friend of mine heard me talking about this with his wife and I said it doesn't matter whether I like someone if I'm leaving and he said "It does matter."

And that has niggled in my mind ever since.

Please reassure me that I'm doing the right thing here.

I know that a mission is what I'm supposed to do, and I'm so happy about it.

But "Steve" is really, really hard to leave!


- Lovestruck Hermana

Dear Lovestruck,

I know another Sister who will be serving in your mission . . . congratulations!

The question you need to ask yourself is, given the chance to marry him INSTEAD of serving a mission, would you?

If the answer is close to "yes" . . . at all, then you have some things to do.

(So you know, it is acceptable for a Young Woman to cancel her mission to be married for Time and All Eternity in the Temple.)

That means you need to have an honest talk with him.

And I think that starts with asking "when you said that you 'wouldn't have minded if' I stayed home from my mission, what did that mean?"

You may need to tell him that you have romantic feelings for him.

With just a few months left before you report, if there's interest there then you both may need to explore the romantic possibilities.

Look at it this way: if he does want to marry you, then you need to know before you go; if he doesn't, it will be much easier to leave.

Lastly, before you give up on the mission altogether, should that be a possibility, I don't think you should do so until you're certain and comfortable with the answers to " Bro Jo’s "LIST of STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BEFORE YOU GET ENGAGED"

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm afraid that if I bring it up, he will say "of course I never felt for you more than as a friend" and that that will be the end of our relationship.

I'd rather have him as a friend than not.

Any comforting words for me?

- LH

Dear Lovestruck,

If you bring it up and he says what you fear what you'll know is that it is the end of your relationship.

If you don't bring it up then your relationship will end anyway; you'll only be delaying the time when you find out about it.

I always think that knowledge is a comfort, even if it's not what we want to hear.

He won't continue to be your buddy once he's in a relationship for Time and All Eternity with someone else; nor should he. 

If you're not ready to know the truth, and your comfortable letting him go, then choose that.

And then be happy with that choice.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

I decided that I didn't want him to never know.

You were right, I was going to lose him and I decided I'd rather it be on my own terms.

So yesterday I wrote him an email.

I told him I was in love with him, that I had found that out and finally admitted it to myself and that I was glad I could leave him happy with another girl.

I couched it in terms that were definitely "goodbye" if he didn't feel the same way, but I was hoping he'd at least say something.

It's been a day and a half and no text, email, nothing.

It's the first time he's ever disappointed me.

No, he didn't have to feel the same way, I made it pretty clear that I was sure that he didn't.

But I was hoping for something.

I mean, we have been friends.

No, this isn't going to crush me. I moved recently and now have the opportunity to start in a new place and of course I have my mission to look forward to!

Studying Spanish is actually really fun. :)

Anyway, since I always give guys the benefit of the doubt, I assume that he is being considerate and giving me space.

Or perhaps I shocked him and he had a heart attack right there ;)

Thanks for always answering with good humor and patience.

-Excited Hermana

Dear Hermana,

Happy to help, though I would have advised against confessing your "love" in an email . . . in person you wouldn't have had to wait all of this time.

Still, it does seem like you have your answer.

God speed!

- Bro Jo