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.)

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.

Please like our Facebook page, and check it often for Discussions, Notes, Events and just General Good Stuff!

Everything here is copyrighted. If you're going to quote any part of anything here, please get Bro Jo's written permission. You can reach him at

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dealing with Unwelcome Touching

Dear Bro. Jo,

In my English class there's this kid, we'll call him Chow Mien (just for fun), well this kid isn't LDS and he is a moocher, he sits in class and texts the whole time, and then takes your answers.

Well now to the awkward part.

Today in English we were doing a spelling bee (I'm in 11th grade so it seemed silly and pointless, which it was) and so I intentionally messed up on a super simple word, and I sat down on a table (not in a chair on the table, and crossed my legs) well he rubs my arm from my wrist to my shoulder, up and down and I shy away awkwardly, but he doesn't stop there, (this whole time we're talking too) well after that I get up to go talk to some friends, and he follows me!

Well I'm talking to my friends, and he goes to my back and starts texting with his hands placed on my back!

This was super awkward for me and he said "don't move" so each time I moved even a little is got more awkward.

THEN I go sit back down, he starts playing with my shoes!

That were on my feet!

And he asks me all these weird questions about my shoes (and I am semi-self-conscious about my feet because I wear a size 11 in women's.)

So I'm still sitting there awkwardly when he starts to tickle my knee!!!

I had no idea what to do and I kind of froze up until he said 'doesn't this tickle?'

And I was like no.

But the rest of the class just got more awkward!

I have him in 2 of my classes and I am afraid that it will go super awkward and I will have to turn him down hard.

I don't know what to do, I'm not looking for a relationship, and I don't really see him as a potential "partner" for dating and such things, because he doesn't meet my standards, and he makes me feel really awkward.

Please help me ASAP (I have another class with him Monday)


- Weirded Out

Dear Weirded Out,

Unwelcome physical contact is a form of assault.

You have a responsibility to tell him clearly (and preferably with one of your friends as a witness) to stop.

If you don't, he may think you welcome the attention.

(Hormones often override what little intelligence a guy may have.)

You can do it in a nice way, but you'll need to be clear.

Try: "I don't mean to embarrass you, but I don't like it when you touch me. My back, my legs, my arm, my shoes . . . any part of me or my clothing. I don't like it. Don't do it. I'm asking you politely to stop. And I've asked (name of friend who is with you) to be here when I tell you so that she can verify what I've said to you".

When and if he apologizes, simply say "thank you".

And walk away.

In your diary or some other place, make sure you note the date, time, what you said and who your witness is, just to be safe.  (You should be noting when he touched you and what he did, as well.)

And, I don't think you should wait until Monday.

Waiting will just have it sit on your mind all weekend, plus this could get a lot worse by then.

Oh, and if you think that ignoring it will make it all better . . . well, it won't.

Now, the father in me that often writes these things as if I was giving advice to my own daughter would like you to add the phrase "because if you touch me again without my permission I'm going to take this size 11 shoe and shove it through your nasal cavity while my foot's still in it". . . but you probably shouldn't say that.


Let me know how the conversation goes.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

I told my parents, and they say that its normal and that I shouldn't be weirded out, and that kind of worries me only because my parents are usually super protective.

I will tell him asap about how I don't appreciate it.

Thanks so much!

-Weirded Out

Dear Weirded Out,

Maybe your parents think you need to do a little more flirting in your life . . . I'm certainly not someone who sees problems with flirting, but this is beyond that, and I stand behind my earlier statement that you need to take a stand.  In fact, I think lots of young people should be speaking up and allowing themselves to be pawed less.

Teenage hormones are what they are, but self-control and respect for self and others should not be pushed aside because people think "that's normal".

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

This is a great life lesson. You felt uncomfortable with his actions. You sought a second opinion. You even consulted your parents which is great. But your final decision was to take action based on how you felt and what Bro Jo said. We all need to gather information and we need to follow our intuition (the Spirit) in order to stay safe. He probably was just being stupid and trying to be brave in front of his friends but that doesn't mean you need to be used. No one should touch you with out your permission. Your body is a gift and is sacred not just a toy to be played with. Some day I hope you find a great respectful man and you will feel the difference when he touches you and wants to be close to you. Because this guy is a non member he does not know our standards and I would be a little more merciful. This can be a teaching moment for him. I think some guys believe we want to be touched or desired. But they forget the whole friendship and relationship first part. In order, to let someone touch you there has to be at least a little bit of trust. And trust is earned not automatic. Hopefully he gets the lesson and acts more appropiately when he is around girls. I also hope girls speak up and require the young men in their lives to be more respectful when it comes to personal boundaries. I know it is hard to speak up sometimes but we need to so we also respect ourselves at the end of the day.

Megan said...

Something like that happened to me once. There was this guy in a class of mine that started hitting on me and stuck a pencil down my pants. It made me uncomfortable. I told the teacher about it and he made sure that we sat on the opposite side of the room from then on.

I don't think it is that bad with this girl, but if it got worse, I would have notified a teacher.