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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).

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Monday, April 4, 2016

So I hear you give advice to "Like-struck" teenagers...

Dear Bro Jo,

First off, I'd like to thank you for all of your wonderful and insightful advice you've given.

My sister just showed me your blog today and I decided to email you my story, because I'd like to hear what you have to say and honestly I don't feel like I can really tell anyone else the whole story because of one complication or another.

I have a situation.

I was about to say a problem, but he's not, he's my best friend.

I first met him a little more than a year ago, in my Sophomore year in high school, but already I feel closer to him than almost any of my other friends.

I'm going to call him Bob.

Now in my circle of friends, Bob has always been "off-limits".

First my best friend had a crush on him, then his best friend had a crush on me, and now another of my friends (a cute little red-head) likes him and he likes her back.

So I've been pushing my feelings for him aside, pretending I don't like him, and making sure that nobody else knows I do.

To set the scene, I live in a small city in Utah, and there are a lot of really good guys here, but Bob is one of the best. He's spiritually oriented and treats me, his family, and all of our other friends with respect and kindness. He has ridiculously high standards for himself and has a strong testimony of the gospel.

He doesn't want any serious relationships before his mission and I'm trying not to be one of those "I want a boyfriend in high school" type girls. He views us as friends. That's it.

We're best buds in his eyes and when people ask if there's anything between us he quickly smothers it with a "No, we're just friends".

Nobody really knows I like Bob, but at the same time it seems like everybody can tell.

People always tell me they think he likes me, but I know that he likes my little red-head friend.

He talks about her all the time, about how amazing she is and how beautiful she is, and how it's great because neither one of them wants a high school relationship so they can like each other without being a couple. (It's weird how that works in Utah because they still date lots of people, everyone just knows they like each other)

They will both talk to me about how awesome the other one is and how much they like them, because they're both really good friends of mine it's hard for me to get angry or jealous, but it's still difficult for me to listen to them.

Bob can also be really confusing.

He always sits by me, or asks for me to sit by him during anything (lunch, football games, riding the bus to our cross country meets, ect.) Plus he flirts with me all the time, and even goes out of his "comfort zone" to put his arm around me for a joke. (which is a really big deal because Bob is not a touchy person)

He also does pretty much whatever I ask him to, and listens to me when nobody else does.

Bob asked me to Prom last year, and was my first date.

To me the night seemed perfect, and while he teased me to no end about every little thing I did, I couldn't have asked for a better date.

So as you can tell, I really like Bob, and I don't really want to be his girlfriend or anything like that, I just want something...more, if that makes sense. I guess I want to know what's in his head.

But I never feel like I can show him what I feel towards him because there has always been someone in the way and I don't want to ruin our friendship or make things suddenly awkward between us. I try to like other guys, but it's really hard to forget about Bob.

I socialize with lots of people too, but I usually am hanging out with Bob and our circle of friends. The little red-head girl is in our circle of friends too, so sometimes it's hard to get his attention or feel like he notices me at all.

Other times I feel like I'm steeling him from her (one of my good friends) and I don't want to hurt her in that way.

What can I do?

Sincerely,

- Small Town Utah Girl




Dear Little Sister,

First of all, "Hi!" And thanks to your sister for introducing you to "Dear Breo Jo".

I don't know how much she's told you or what you've picked up on, but my promise to those that write in is that I will give them straight answers, not insulting them by watering it down, and telling them my honest opinion, not because I'm trying to hurt them, but because I care enough about them to not talk down to them.

So let's be honest with each other here: call it a crush, call it whatever, but (at least for now) you love him.

You think you've found the guy you want to marry in the Temple, the future man of your dreams. 

Sure, other things need to happen first, but you've already practiced writing your first name with his last and day dreamed about what it might be like to be married.

But he doesn't feel the same way about you.

He may someday.

Perhaps after his mission.

But not right now.

 And the odds of that, honestly, are slim.

Which is not to say that you're not a great, fun, wonderful, beautiful girl. You're all of those things! 

And he knows that.

We're not sure if he doesn't want a girlfriend right now (which he shouldn't), or doesn't want you to be his girlfriend right now (which you shouldn't worry about being).

He's a Good Guy.

You went on a Fun Date.

 And that's wonderful!

Perhaps you'll go on more fun Casual Group Dates . . . that would be great, too!

If you've read enough of my stuff, you've found that I don't believe that guys can stay "just close friends" with girls.

Boys can.

But men can't.

Look, there are things you could do to encourage a relationship with him . . . but I don't think that's a good thing for either of you right now.

So I'm not going to tell you what they are.

What I will tell you is that how you feel is normal and good and okay.

Enjoy it!

Write about it in your journal.

When he asks you on appropriate and well-planned Casual Group Dates, by all means, go!

And date lots of other Good Guys, too.

You don't have to push anything aside.

But you shouldn't try to make anything happen, either. In fact, particularly as the two of you get older, and closer, you'll need to be even more careful not to have "alone time", lest Satan use those opportunities to tempt you to change the path that the Lord would have you follow.

Even the best people can make unfortunate (or "wrong timing") choices when temptations come.

So . . . I guess what I'm saying is, bottom line, I don't think you should do anything different than you're doing already then perhaps enjoying all of this a little bit more, relax a little bit more, don't let yourself get permanently ensconced in the "friend zone" (instead make sure that you're seen as a girl worth dating, not just a buddy), don't fuel or get too involved in the drama, and be careful that the two of you don't spend time too alone.

Be Happy

- Bro Jo

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