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Monday, March 14, 2016

Can You Date Someone You Work Closely with or Supervise?

Dear Bro Jo,

I never, ever thought I would write into an advice column. I recently started reading yours, though, and I am very impressed. Thank you for taking the time to help so many young people.

To give you some background, I am 20 and a student at the Y. I get asked out on a fair amount of dates, or at least I did during the fall and winter semesters when there were more guys around. However, I have a really hard time getting to know someone on a date.

In my experience, it takes seeing people in a lot of situations before I can truly be interested in them, and I don't even want to hold hands or anything unless I know I am interested.

The bigger question for me, however, is what your opinion is about dating people in organizations you are a part of?

I mean in your major, in your ward, etc.

People tell me to get involved in things to solve the problem I have above, and I do. I am very social in my ward, in my major, and in any other organizations I am in. In these situations, you always have an immediate rapport with those who are in the same places as you.

From your blog, I can only conclude that for many of these people, I am automatically put in the friend zone. And we should be friends (but not necessarily the close friends you often refer to), if we are going to be associating often with each other and working together toward some goal, whether it be building the kingdom of God, getting an education, or whatever the case may be.

How then does participating so fully actually put me in the way of dates?

And if I ended up dating someone in one of those places, is that even appropriate?

If we broke up, there could be great chances for awkwardness and lack of progress just because we took a chance and dated. In a certain seasonal organization I am in, I did date a guy in it and it ended rather well, all things considered.

It wasn't awkward too often when we were both in it after we broke up.

But now I am in a leadership position, and I like another guy in the organization who I will now be over (the first guy will not be doing it again because he's doing something else this year).

Maybe part of my problem lies in not understanding how a guy thinks. Do I even have a chance if we've been associates?

Wouldn't the usual bold (and by bold, I mean getting him to ask me on a date and not me doing the asking) tactics you suggest especially risky in this situation? Would it even be appropriate to try and get him to ask me out if we're going to be together in this organization next year, especially since I will be in a leadership position over him?

That was very, very long-winded and contained many questions.

Sorry about that, but these are things that have been bothering me for a while and I've never quite been able to figure them out.

Thank you so much!

- Confused

Dear Confused,

The only "organizations" where I think someone in a supervisory capacity needs to be cautious, even hesitant, to pursue a relationship with someone they supervise are the workplace and school.

Many employers have policies against this sort of thing, or at least guidelines requiring some form of disclosure agreement. So that needs to be considered.

And teachers dating students, regardless of how close they are in age, is (in my book) verbotten, even if the school allows it (and I can't imagine that any do).

Clubs, groups, teams, wards . . . I say those partially exist for the very reason you mention; they're great ways to meet new people and get to know them.

That makes for some excellent dating opportunities!

For the record, Sister Jo and I met working for the same employer. We only went on one date while I was still working there, a date (by the way) that I count and she doesn't, but we never would have met had we not worked at the same place.

 And our experiences there are still things that color our relationship.

It is absolutely possible that being in a relationship, or having broken up, will make being involved in the same organization very awkward. It's worth the risk!

After we had been dating a short while I enrolled in some summer courses at the same college Sister Jo was going to. I signed up for one of the same classes. THAT did not go well. We actually "broke up" for a short time over the whole thing.  Too awkward.

And she felt that I was invading too much of her space. (She was right, as always, of course.)

I think this might largely depend on what your leadership role will be, and how much of a boss this role will make you over him.

I think the chance for romance outweighs any other concerns.

Ask yourself this: would you quit this organization if it meant your eternal happiness with this man?

I don't mean to be jumping the gun here, just giving you a way to weigh the risks.

Once we're married, especially for time and all eternity, no organization should come before our marriage.

I love my job, but if Sister Jo strongly felt that it was ruining our marriage, her happiness would have to come first. Right?

I'm not saying to quit your organization, just asking you to consider it's importance in your life. And I should add here that I married a woman that always said that she'd support me in my vocation.

Of course, I've never chosen a job she'd object to. Not that I would, but I imagine that if I ever took a job at, say, a seedy bar, she'd have a serious problem with that, and I can picture her demanding I quit that job . . . and she'd be right to do so.

You know, Confused, on option for you is to use this whole concern as a way to see if this guy is interested in you. You could go up to him, one-on-one, and say "I'm sure you know I have a crush on you and am hoping you ask me out soon, but I'm wondering if one of the reasons you haven't already is that you and I being in this organization, especially with me in a leadership roll, is giving you cause for concern". THAT would be an interesting conversation!

Good luck.

And stop getting in your own way when it comes to happiness.

Take some risks,

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you so much for your advice!

When I was a teenager I was determined that I would not be one of those people that let their dating lives interfere with other things I participated in. People often get involved in far too much drama that way.

I think that was the main reason for my concern, along with talking to a lot of other people who thought the same way.

However, I do agree with you now, especially after having a day to think about it.

Also, the hope would be that if I already know him as well as I think I do, there will be very few reasons why it would end poorly. If it did end, I know any past relationship can cause some awkwardness.

However, I think that there need not be too much, especially if both people are kind people and not prone to drama. I was going to do something about getting him to ask me out today, especially since he doesn't ask girls on dates often at all, but turns out he's going out of town. I guess I will just have to wait a bit before I take that risk.

 Thanks again!

 - Not so confused anymore

P.S. I was reading more of your blogs today and in one of your responses I noticed you said something about a lot of readers signing their letters with "confused." I laughed when I realized I was one of those people. But I guess if we weren't so confused, we wouldn't be asking for your advice!

- Not So Confused Any More

Dear NSC,


- Bro Jo

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