Things to know

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).

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, Bro Jo is not a spokesman or authority for the LDS Church. (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.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

What If You're Too Shy to Get Dates? - Part 1

Dear Bro Jo,

I have a question for you, but I think I'll need to explain what is happening first.

Well, I'm a 20 year-old girl, I live in Utah and I don't go on dates. Not because I don't want to. I really do, but guys don't.

There is something about me that don't attract good guys AT ALL.

All I have after me are Salt Lake City creepers.

It makes me very frustrated because I try my best. I try to look good with what Heavenly Father gave me, but it seems that it doesn't help too much.

I try to talk with people and participate (even though I'm extremely shy). I try to go out with my friends and meet my friends' friends.... Nothing works.

Boys get interested in every other girl but me. I don't know what I am doing. And my friends seem to get guys asking them out pretty easily, and they don't do anything. It just happens.

What should I be doing?

Any flirting advice to shy girl?

I kind of wish that boys realize that I'm there, but nothing works.

There's either something wrong with me or something wrong with them. And I don't get what it is.

- Too Shy




Dear Shy,

You know, without knowing you better I can't really say that you're doing anything wrong.

You may want to check out things like:

Bro Jo's "HOW a GIRL CAN GET a BOY'S ATTENTION"


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

and

Bro Jo’s "TEN WAYS a GIRL CAN GET a GUY to CALL"

which might answer some of your questions, but I think you're ignoring a great resource:  your friends.

The girls AND the guys.

Ask them why no one is asking you on dates.

What they have to say will likely be quite valuable.


And let me know what they say.

- Bro Jo

Monday, June 19, 2017

Does He Like Her?

Dear Bro Jo,
A friend of mine told me about your blog and after reading a little bit I was wondering if you could help me out with a recent problem.

So, story time.

There's this boy that I have been spending a lot of time with recently.

Like, we've seen each other daily for the past two weeks where before we hadn't seen each other in a long time.

We flirt, mess around, play with family members, and just have a really good time together.  I've had a thing for this guy for a long time now, but when we met I was in a relationship, then when I broke up with the guy I was considered off-limits because his best friend liked me.

Now we're both single, I dealt with the best friend, and I still like him.  And throughout the last two weeks I thought we were getting along perfectly!  ...and then he killed it by telling me that he was looking for a relationship with someone else... Someone unlike anyone he'd dated before, and I don't fit that category.

I'm your standard Molly Mormon, someone who follows all the standards as best as possible and sometimes I feel like that isn't the most attractive thing in the world to do.  It's considered too "goody-two-shoes."

But anyways, we've talked about relationship stuff over time.  We've talked about what we want in a significant others, life in general, and have gotten to know each other really well.

Time goes on and I had the chance to do something extremely nice for this guy, something he wasn't expecting.

So I take the chance, and do this kind deed.  Well, when he discovers what I've done he tries to give the thing back and I won't let him.  So, instead he asks me on a date.  Did I get a pity date?

Like a date that's only happening because he thinks he owes me something?

I accepted the offer and am really excited for it, but fear being crushed.

Should I keep flirting with this guy and see where it goes?

What do I do?

Does he like me??

How do I know?

I'm not entirely sure what's happening... help?

Sincerely,

- Lost and Confused





Dear Lost,

If you're under 18 you make sure the date is a Casual Group Date, go on lots of those with lots of different guys, and stop worrying about relationships.

For now.

If you're Serious Single Dating age then you go on the date, flirt, be and have fun, and see where it goes.

We guys are just as Lost and Confused as you all are.  Perhaps he said what he did to see if you liked him... perhaps he's discovered how much he likes you ... maybe he's just seeing if there's a possibility of something more, and maybe he's just being nice.

If it means anything, this would be more of a "thank you" date than a "pity date".

Just go out and have fun!

Enjoy the journey.

- Bro Jo

Friday, June 16, 2017

What Does It Mean When He Stops Texting Her?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi!

Thank you so much for making such an awesome blog! Your advice for LDS youth today really is priceless. Every week I look forward to reading the new posts.

But now I have a few questions of my own for you! Some quick background on me though, if it might help you understand my situation better. I'm a junior, and almost 17. I am a member of the VLC, as you put it. I love hanging out with my friends. I'm decent looking, and I'm pretty funny and friendly. I have a testimony and 'm committed to keeping the standards outlined in For the Strength of Youth.

I'm sure you're busy, so I'll make this as quick as I can:

At the beginning of the school year, I went to a group activity with several youth from my ward. While there, I met the cousin of one of my friends from my ward. I didn't really talk to this boy much, but I thought he was cute. Then, a few weeks later, my cousin ended up getting this boy's number from my friend and made me text him. I was kind of nervous to do that and thought that it was unconventional, but as it turned out, we kind of hit it off and texted quite a bit, off and on, for the next few months. (I know that texting is definitely not way the best way to communicate, but since we go to different schools and live about 30 minutes away from each other, it's the easiest way.) Since we started talking, we've gotten a group of friends together a couple of times-one time it was my idea, the next time it was his. I realized I was starting to like him, and I was pretty sure hat he liked me, too. I thought that he might work up the courage to set up a causal group date sometime soon, and I hinted a little bit that that would be fun.

However, during winter break, we stopped talking pretty much completely. I know that we didn't, don't, and shouldn't be talking all the time, but I thought it was odd that pretty much all communication had stopped. I've texted him a couple times recently to say hi and try to carry on a nice, casual conversation like we used to before, but he has seemed to be busy or something every time. As far as I can tell, I never did anything to offend him or turn him off.

Do you have any idea why things would have unexpectedly changed like this?

Did I not show enough interest in him when I was around him or when I was texting him?

My cousin (the same one that made me text him) says that I should tell him sometime soon that I like him.

Somehow, she thinks that doing that would be beneficial in some way. Should I follow her advice?

Should I just straight up ask him what changed?

Or should I just be glad that I got to know him a little bit and move on?

I'm pretty clueless, so any advice for this situation in general would be much appreciated.

PS-just to clarify, I have never intended to have this friendship go any farther than a friendship. Sure, a casual date now and then, but nothing more since we are young and should only be casual dating :)

Thank you so much for your time and advice!!

- Left Wondering




Dear Wondering,

You know . . . I don't think you should read too much into the change in behavior.  He could be busy with something new in his life, or just busy with that stuff that comes up at our age (school, work, family, Church . . . )

It could just be normal boys being dumb stuff.  (Which is not necessarily negative . . . especially at your age.)

Even if he's decided that he wants to spend his time and attention on someone else . . . as painful as I know that may sound . . . that is in no way a commentary on your value, attractiveness, or a negative comment regarding how cool and fun and smart you are.

I don't agree with your cousin.  If you pursue him more than you have at a time when he's backed off it's probably going to come across as annoying or desperate.  The ball is in his court.  You've made an effort, and the next step needs to be his.

I mean, if you see him, say at another gathering or a stake dance or something then by all means you should not ignore him.

Say hi.

Be Pleasant.

Maybe even (in a lighthearted way is best) give him a bit of a tough time for not texting you as much as he used to.  (If he counters with "well you don't text me as much, either" I think your response should be "when guys initiate contact it makes the girl feel special; when girls do all the initiating they come across as desperate".

Wink.  Smile.  Touch his arm.

Valuable lifelong skills you're learning here.


- Bro Jo

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How to Get a Date Instead of Hanging Out

Dear Bro Jo,

So once again I am back here up at BYU-I.

I don't have a lot of dating experience.

There is this new awesome guy that lives in my complex. He just got back from his mission in Australia. I am trying to put myself out there just a little bit. but to be honest I’m not really sure what to do or not do.

I have only ever been on 2 dates.

I have fallen into a couple of "Hangout" situations. I am trying to avoid those, but I’m not sure how to go about this. can you please help me?

- Inexperienced





Dear Inexperienced,

Here's what you do:

1.  Don't invite him to your house, and don't accept invitations to his home.

2.  Flirt, a lot, lest he think that your unwillingness to "hang out" means you're not interested.

3.  Be prepared to spell it out for him when he either isn't getting it fast enough or asks why you're such an enigma.  Tell him that you'd like him to ask you out, and that you know that if you ever cross over into the "friend zone" it's never going to happen.

Good luck!

- Bro Jo

Monday, June 12, 2017

Should She Date the Non-member

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm fifteen and a half, and I was asked out by a non-member. Here is the conversation (on Facebook):

Boy: Hey, I've been meaning to ask you this for a few months now. Will you go out with me? I'd like to get to know you better. I feel like I don't know you well enough for the amount of time I've known you. I'd ask you in person but I have no idea what your schedule is like.

Me: Yeah! I'd like to! But, I can't until I'm sixteen (Sept. this year). Also, it has to be a group date, and the date has to include having dinner with my parents. So, if you don't mind waiting another eight months, yes I will go out with you. And thank you for asking!

Boy: Thank you! I'm willing to wait as long as I need to, and I'll follow any rules your parents set.

After that, we kept in contact to find out more about each other. One of the questions he asked was "What are you looking forward most to this year?" I gave him my answer and then he responded with "I'm really looking forward to dating you"

Later, he sent "I'm gonna be very happy in seven months"

Sincerely,

- Sprite




Dear Sprite,

Is he creepy or do you like him?

Because if you like him and he's willing to follow The Rules, I say Casual Group Date him!

If he's creepy . . . well, that's a slightly different story.  You'd certainly want to discourage him by ceasing the "contact".

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Should Her Friend Be Jealous?

Dear Bro Jo,

I have a friend who is much older than me. (She is 25, while I'm 19) We become close the past few months and even roomed together for a semester.

She recently became friends with my cousin's roommate who is 19 years old. I was also introduced to him much later and we three would hang out once in a while.

He seemed interested in me and even asked me on a date but I don't date right now because of cultural reasons so I told him that and he was okay with that. We continue to talk and text.
Lately my friend has been acting weird, she has been avoiding me and just a few days ago she spoke to me regarding this guy.

She feels that I stole him away from her and that he no longer texts her as much and she’s upset that I as a close friend to her would do this to her. She thought that he and I had something going on which I cleared with her that I don't. We spoke things out, she said a few harsh things but I continued to listen and cleared things out one by one. She says she likes him a little but doesn't want to but is more hurt that he would jump from her to me.

He sees her no more than a friend so there is no mutual connection between her and him and I never thought she would like him because she would constantly urge me to go out with him, etc. So I would've never thought she would be interested.

The day we spoke about it, everything cleared up. Even though I was hurt, I decided to let it go. But the next few days she started to talk about this issue to other people other than me. (My cousins, my sister)

I was hurt that she thought this way about me. She still hasn't spoken to me about it or anything.
He is a great guy and I don't want to choose between people. I want to be friends with both of them. She straight out told me she doesn’t want anything to do with him anymore but I know she still cares.

I don't know how to take this? I'm not really good with talking about sensitive issues like this one. This boy is just a friend which I told her multiple times and our convos are very casual. I told her that it’s not my fault he doesn't talk to her but she feels that I betrayed her.

How do I act upon this? I don't know how to deal with this. How can I make myself feel less hurt and how can I help her as well? I'm just confused and lost.

-A Friend.




Dear Friend,

Don't do anything special.

Jealousy is something that makes people talk and act weird.

Be Kind.  Be Genuine.  And Be Patient.

If you're truly not interested in him, she'll figure it out eventually.

And she is going to have to figure it out on her own.

I will say, though, the one thing that she understands that you don't is that Men Can't Stay "Just Friends" with Women.

And, that said . . . you may want to think about whether or not you do, in fact, like this guy.

I don't think anyone should give up a Great Eternal Companion in favor of someone who isn't enough of a good friend to realize that they have no chance and you do.

Just a thought.

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 29, 2017

Does This RM Want to Date Her?

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you for the time you take to answer people’s questions, you truly have a gift and a heart for helping people. I have a question of my own. For some background information, I’m 19, I go to a non-Church school in the south, and since home is so close, I come home every couple of weeks and go to a YSA ward when I’m home.

I’ve been going to this ward for over a year and have never gotten a date or anything there, which doesn’t bother me because nobody there really caught my attention. But a couple of weeks ago a new guy came, I’ll call him John. John’s one of those guys that I think “oh he’s too good looking and outgoing, he’d never go for me” so he never crossed my mind as a romantic option. We were in the same Sunday school class that day and afterwards John was talking to my friend and when walked up by her to get my stuff he introduced himself to me.

I found out he lives 15 minutes away from my home and just got back from his mission in Mexico two weeks before and he’s 23. Still thought nothing of this, he was so outgoing and he was talking to a lot of people. I got home and Facebook stalked a little and EVERYBODY from the ward wrote on his wall about how excited they were to have him back and that they should hang out. So John’s just a really friendly, really nice, genuine, good guy.

Anyway, I went to a game night activity the next Friday with my friend and John showed up AND he made a point to come talk to me and I just thought he was being friendly to everyone, but my friend said he didn’t say hi to everybody and that he made a point to come say hi.

I think him and this other girl (who’s Hispanic and just got back from her mission, but is going back to school next semester) might have a “thing” because she’s Spanish and he’s kind of still obsessed with Spanish stuff because he just got back from mexico and I know they’ve hung out and saw them talk at church, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, the next day my friend convinced me to Facebook message him telling him that my friend and I were looking for something to do and we heard about another activity that night but was wondering if he knew any details. He messaged back saying he couldn’t come, but told me who to ask about it. It was just a ploy to get to talk to him, I already knew about the activity haha.

At Church the next day he came up to talk to me and was asking if we made it to the activity and that even though he couldn’t make it that we should hang out some other time. So my friends think he likes me and that I should Facebook message him about the next activity I go to, to see if he’s going. I’m not convinced he likes me and I don’t like making the first move!

So, finally my question is do you think he is interested in me at all?

And I really would like this to go somewhere and as cheesy as this sounds, he seems so perfect, like everything I ever wanted in a guy: RM, strong testimony, super nice, kind, funny and way cute!

Should I wait for him or make another move?

And sorry this is so long!!!

-Confused




Dear Confused,

I have no idea if he's romantically interested in you or just, as you say, being a nice guy.

I say wait another week or two (at the most) and give him a chance to make a move and you a chance to gather more information.  Missionaries need some transition time, you know.

If, after say 4-6 weeks of flirting and hinting he hasn't ask you out, you'd still like him to, but you're not sure where he stands . . . ask him.  "Hey, are you thinking about ever asking me on a date?"

It's not as forward as you might think it is.

If you can't bring yourself to ask, you could always get a friend to ask him if he's ever going to ask you out . . . but I think it's better if it comes from you personally.  In person.  No FB messages or texting!

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 26, 2017

Crushes at 15

Dear Bro Jo,

I am 15 years old, and I've never been boy crazy. I've only liked three boys my whole life, including the one I'm going to tell you about.

I am a very smart girl and I'm used to being the smartest or close to that in my classes. However there is this boy in my first period honors orchestra class who makes me feel inferior. I'm not too bad at playing my cello; I'm even the section leader. But I've only been playing since 7th grade, and I don't know everything, especially about theory. He has been playing Suzuki violin and piano since he was 4.

On top of all of that he is in several 9th grade honors class. And just to make it all worse, he’s in 8th grade and I'm in 9th. (For only 15 more days!)

But wait, it gets worse.

When we were both babies, his dad was my parents’ bishop and all of their older kids know my older siblings. But barely know each other because we were babies. There’s another variable in the problem. I have a mild case of Asperger syndrome, which is basically a social disorder. It’s fun.

So, I can’t figure him out. Half the time I think he likes me, and half the time I think he thinks I'm an alien from mars. As if it isn't already hard for me to talk to him, he says the weirdest things to me and I never know how to respond. He’s a very interesting kid, and everyone thinks he’s perfect.

He’s super smart, amazing violinist, great dancer, I guess he’s pretty good looking, and he’s always right, (in the eyes of others.) examples of times we've kind of spoken: once my friend and I were in the orchestra room standing by the stand rack, talking about how my mom was a cheer leader and boy crazy and how I'm not anything like that. He came up in the middle of our conversation and said "sounds like you've got a reputation to live up to" with a weird look on his face and weird tone of voice.

Then he grabbed a stand and walked away. Another time on tour we were setting up and I was carrying four chairs. I was looking behind me while I walked, when I looked forward he was right there, and I thought he spun, and then he grabbed two of the chairs and kept going without saying anything. In orchestra I would be playing and then glace of at him, and he’s looking at me, (because he has it all memorized) then he smiles and keeps playing.

Weird things like that.

Once we were tracing little kids’ hands and telling them what instruments they should play based on their hands. He walked up to me and said" my hands are bigger than yours and I play the violin. Then we put our hands together and measured and he looked at me, it was way weird.

They aren't ever really conversations, just weird short things like that

I can’t decide if he likes me or not and if he does, I have no idea what to say or how to talk to him.

What’s your impression?

- The Cellist


 
Dear Cellist,

Now, see, I would say that three crushes by 15 is a little boy crazy...

And being this hung up about a guy at your age is also a little ... nuts ... too.

I'm sure he likes you at least a small amount  ... and as you say, why wouldn't he?

Look, there's nothing wrong with how you feel or having a crush.   Enjoy it!
But other than writing about it in your journal and practicing your flirting, there's not much else you should do.

And that means you can worry about whether or not he likes you a lot less.

- Bro Jo





Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks for writing me back. when I wrote you, I could not really explain it the way I wanted to, see the whole thing about all of the details and being confused and wanting really badly to figure it out, is part of Asperger’s.  Kids with Asperger’s tend to fixate on things and want to know everything about it. I did not think I was boy crazy; all of the others seem to like that many boys a month, not in the past few years.

I'm kind of quite most of the time, I'm not the typical social life obsessed gossiping super dramatic teenage girl.

Because of Asperger's, I really dislike a lot of social situations, and am kind of socially immature I guess, but in all of the other areas of my life I'm smart, and good at the things I do. I’ve always just kind of been aloof to all of the social stuff going on around me, and now I want to be able to clue in and be able to talk to people and understand them and their facial expressions and body language.

I guess that's why it all sounded "a little nuts" my life is kind of crazy, as I'm getting older I realize that not many people think the way I do, and I'm trying to learn to make it work, and am trying to understand the way most other people communicate and what things mean what to them, because for me, everything is different.

I think very thoroughly through everything.

Anyway, I kind of have a naive childlike understanding of social things; I'm not sure if you've dealt with people like this before, but could you explain a little bit about flirting since you mentioned it before?

Now that I know I have Asperger’s, I really want to get better at being social.

Thanks again (especially for the time),

- The Cellist




Dear Cellist,

Asperger’s or not (which you mentioned in your first email, btw.) I think you're pretty darn normal when it comes to being your age and socially awkward.

And I don't think you're nuts, but like many of us you do and think some nutty things.

Being flirty starts with smiling and looking and progresses to talking and touching.

For now, just focus on talking to guys, being nice and listening to what they have to say.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What If Your Friend is in a Relationship Too Young?

Dear Bro Jo-

I am in need of some advice.... shocker right?!

I have a friend that I am really worried about.  She is a great girl, but she keeps getting into these really serious relationships that move very fast.  Then, they break up and she plunges into another intense relationship.

She is only 16 and her current boyfriend is 18 but they are already talking marriage and kids even though they have only been dating two months.  They even had a photo shoot "just for fun" at the temple...

She's also planning on going on a mission, but the choices she is making aren't exactly leading down that path...but she won't listen.

Whenever I talk to her about it she just says "I set my boundaries, and he knows what they are" and changes the subject or talks about how great he is for "accepting her boundaries."

How do I help her understand that she is making the wrong choices?  I don't want to see her get hurt or in trouble because that is where it is leading.  I know she is going to regret the choices she is making one day.

She has had a pretty tough life and her family situation isn't exactly ideal, so it's possible that she's turning to these relationships to find some sort of fulfillment or to make up for something she is lacking at home.  But obviously she should find her value from God!  Not some boy.  How do I get that through to her??

I know I can't make her decisions for her... but I want to help!!  What do I do??  I don't to seem too pushy either...

-Anonymous




Dear Anon,

Nothing.

There's nothing you can say that will change what she's doing.

She hasn't asked for your help or interference and she hasn't asked for your advice.

Let me teach you something about "young people in love":  . . they're pretty closed off to anyone telling them that they're making a mistake.

Every single one of the Jo Kids knows that I think being in a "relationship" before you get out of

High School is a bad idea.  To date every one of them that has gone to high school has been in one.

Or more.

I've written a lot about why that happens, and why I think it's a bad idea . . . but the bottom line is that once the Jo Kids' "relationships" have ended, they agree that, while it had fun moments and they enjoyed it at the time, it really wasn't worth all the hassle and drama.

But while they were in them?  Nah.  They all thought they were the exception.

As does the one that's in a relationship right now.

And there you go.

If she asks your opinion, give it.  Gently.

For now love her, show her support, be her friend, and suggest them as a couple when the guys who ask you on Casual Group Dates are looking for dating buddies.

Set the example.

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 22, 2017

Are They Dating?

Dear Bro Jo,

So here is another of my dilemmas: 

So I've known this guy for quite a while now, we used to go to seminary together but then he graduated and didn't see him as often.

Now we are both in YSA and we just currently volunteered at a youth activity. Before that, we had been talking for a while on Facebook about random stuff. Most of the time he will initiate conversation and I will just respond because I'm nice (well I Friend Zoned him a long time ago, and I think he did the same, mostly because he used to like one of my close friends a few years ago, it was reciprocal and sincerely I never had a romantic interest on him) he just recently suggested to hang out (he also said that it was very sad how little he saw me, and my friend the one from above and my sister). 

I was going to just ignore this since I've decided I won't hang out with guys. 

Only dates. 

But a few hours later he mentioned it again. but since he included the whole package(sister and friend) then what should I do? 

Should the four of us hang out??? 

(Just for the record, I thought it was weird he mentioned my sister since  she is younger than me and they were not really friendly to each other, they were more like acquaintances) I don't want to use one of the get-a-guy-to-ask-you-on-a-date lines (I could but what if he just really want to hang out?) and as I said before, I don't really see him in that way, although I never reject a first date, but as I say before, I barely see him so what do I do? 

I don't want to seem rude or anything. Besides, he is leaving for a mission pretty soon.A part of me tells me that this hanging out will just be friends catching up but another part of me tells me there is something off. 

Please help! :)

Thanks a bunch!

- Em




Dear Ember,

Sounds to me like he wants to get out of the Friend Zone.  I think including your sister is either a sacrifice he's willing to make because it will get you there.... or he has a thing for your sister....

I say stick to your standards when it comes to not hanging out.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Does She Love Him? Or Just "the Idea" of Him?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi!

I am the one who sent you a message on Facebook. As what you've said better to send you an email. :)

Uhh, I really love this man. I do not know what to do.

Before my best friend told me everything that they'd converse but they had one left secret that she didn't tell me... I'm really saddened these past few weeks because of this. Because a friend of mine saw this missionary at the Manila Temple during a Temple tour and he asked that missionary if my best friend and him were close with each other?

And did they exchanging emails?

And that missionary told them the opposite that my best friend hath told me...I want to know the truth behind both story... but I do not know how?

I sent a text message to my best friend about this... and she responded: "Come to think of this... I wouldn't even benefit a thing if I give you false hope...I still have one last thing to tell...Told you it's meant to be untold in due time...”

I really want to know the truth. If only I could talk to that missionary I already did but I don't want to be a cause of distraction and I really want to be worthy enough for him.

I do really love this man...

He really influenced me to become more a better person and a better latter-day saint.

I kept on striving to become worthy enough not just for him but I have this strong testimony because I've been born and raised in the church through my parents...

I do always include him to my prayers even his family...

There's a time that I really want to give up but as I knelt down and cry unto the Lord I received an instant answer... sometimes in the scriptures and mostly through my best friend... that was really the time that I almost want to give up because I was thinking that it would went vain..

But she told me everything except to that last secret... am willing to wait for this missionary... in fact, he'll comes home soon...

What am I going to do Bro. Jo?

Thanks for help in advance!

I'm 21 years of age.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

I just don't see any reason to worry about this at this time.

You have no way of knowing if you love him or simply love "the idea" of him, and won't know until he comes home and even then if And Only If the two of you actually date.

As I have said, until then, you should continue to gain dating experience by going out with any decent guy that asks.

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 15, 2017

About To Graduate and Never Had a Date?

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm a Senior in high school, I'm 17 years old, and I've never been on a date.

I am on my stake's youth council, and while I was getting my ecclesiastical endorsement from my stake president for BYU, he asked me if I date. It was a little mortifying to say that I've never been on a date, in fact, I haven't even had an actual crush since 8th grade, but I had to say it. It was especially bad since in my stake they push dating so much, in the casual setting of course. I haven't been telling boys that I'm not interested in dating or anything, and I many of my girlfriends go on dates frequently, but I just can't seem to get one.

Honestly, the closest thing I have had to a date, was going to dinner with my good friend since 3rd grade, my other girlfriend, and his 14 year old brother. I mean, I know this isn't a date, but it was the closest thing resembling a date I can count. I also don't count my Mormon Prom, considering I hardly saw my date the entire time, and I don't count Mormon Winter Formal, because for that I brought one of the boys I am friends with in the Special Education class I work in.

I guess my question here is, are guys this generation less willing to ask girls on dates in general, or is it that I am just not dateable? I feel like I am disappointing my parents and stake leaders by not dating, because they are so concerned that if I don't date now, I will have a hard time getting married later. I guess I just don't know what to make of this whole situation.

Sincerely,

A Dating Virgin




Dear Dater,

First of all, it sounds like you've been on at least three dates, whether you count them or not.

Secondly, I think you need to reign in the drama a tad.  I doubt your lack of dating experience is a disappointment to your stake leaders.  Trust me; no one is in a meeting saying "how can she ever amount to anything if she doesn't date in high school?"  Because it’s not like you have opportunities and you’re shutting them down, right?

Right???

Finally, while I'm flattered you asked (and I thank you for reading and writing in), the truth is I'm not the person you should be talking to.  Sure, I can help with things like:

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

but you've got a great collection of girlfriends who are dating and know you much better than I do.  Ask them.  Ask them why they think they're getting asked out all the time and you're not.

Because, little sister, Information Precedes Revelation.

Once you know, then you can decide whether or not you need or want to change anything.

Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, not having a "crush" since 8th grade isn't a big deal.  Just be you:  a great girl whose value comes from God, not from boys.

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 8, 2017

Graduating BYU and Still Single?

Dear Bro Jo,

I recently just graduated from BYU-Idaho at 21 and just turned 22.

I feel like almost everyone lately has an opinion on my non existing dating life. I attended BYU-Idaho for a little over 3 years in which I completed my bachelor’s degree.


While I was at BYU-Idaho I went on a total of five dates.

I attended my singles ward and was very social but I simply wasn't asked on very many dates.

I did have a crush on one boy while I attended school but that ended up with me getting led on for almost a year.

I had a love/hate relationship with one of my best guy friends from high school that lasted on and off  for five years and that just ended recently in us  no longer being friends.

One of my first problems is everyone doesn't understand how I graduated with going on around five dates when you are at  one of the "dating capitals of the church".  

I never really dated in high school I didn't go to homecoming or prom the only dances I went to were girl choice dances.

I think I went on a total of three dates that were not dances.


Now that I've graduated I've currently moved in with my parents, for the next year until I attend graduate school.

I'm attending a family ward with my parents and teach in the primary.

I attend the single ward activities whenever I can which mainly includes FHE and occasionally institute.  I feel like my family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, parents) and friends are constantly asking me if I'm dating.

When I respond that I haven't gone out recently they explain how dating is something that I need to be doing, and tell me how important it is.


Obviously I know that dating is important.

The Brethren of the Church emphasize dating, and there was a big push on it at BYU-Idaho.


But I don't know what to do when I don't get asked on dates.

I'm being social I go out to the single ward activities.

I have many friends that I hang out with whenever I can.

I currently have a job though which is at an Elementary School which keeps me busy as well.

I've been set up once but there wasn't any more interest there than the first date.


I'm sick of being told that I need to go to the singles ward. I do what I can but I also have a calling and I love being with the youth of the Church.

I don't know how to respond to these questions anymore either.  These questions bring up sadness and frustration.

I admit that it makes me sad I can't get a date but I don't want to dwell on it either. I try to move forward and be happy with my life and not worry about dating.  I would rather have a happy attitude than dwell on the fact that I can't get a date to save my life.


I always say  joke and say I'm done with dating but if you never really started then how can you be done with it?

I know that I'm only 22 and I still have plenty of time in the world. But why doesn't anyone else see it that way?

I know that I obviously can't please everyone.

But how do I get everyone off my back about dating?

I figure that eventually I will start dating it just hasn't happened yet.


Don't we always say there is a time and reason for everything.


I would really like to stop being asked every time I see someone how my dating life is going and why I'm not dating.  

Please any help and advice that you have I could seriously use!


Thanks,

- The Dateless 22 Year Old




Dear Friend,

Yours is not an uncommon story . . . but please allow me to explain what's happening.

Your friends and family look at you and see the beautiful, fun, smart, talented young woman that you are.  They see all that you have to offer and they know, much better than you do, that you would be a great Eternal Companion for many young men; perhaps some they know.

They don't understand how you're not married yet, not because they think anything is wrong with you or that you're a failure in some way . . . but the truth is that they have NO CLUE when it comes to what the Real Dating Culture is . . . even at a Church school.

Yeah, you could be more open to going on dates than you are . . . Sure, you would have more prospects if you were attending the Singles Ward . . . Yes, they are seeing something you don't when they express concern because they know that the longer you wait the more difficult it may be to find someone.

BUT . . .

They also can't accept that any of this is their fault.  As parents and youth leaders, Bishoprics and Stake Representatives, they failed to teach Young Men to date.  They may have complained, but they taught no skills.

You could get more dates.

You could widen your circle . . . hangout less . . . be less afraid of getting married (let's not pretend that's not at least a small issue here, my friend) . . . learn to flirt better . . . learn techniques that get guys to ask girls out . . .

And that stuff might indeed help . . .

Typically does.

Sure, at 22 you still have time . . .

But I'd like you to consider just how fast the last 5 years have gone . . .

The next five aren't going to be any slower . . .

And if you think finding a Good LDS Man to date is tough at 22 and just out of college . . . just talk to the many great sisters that are still single at 27 . . . or 32 . . .

You can choose to be sad and frustrated . . . but I will not sit here and agree that you CAN'T get a date.

I'm sorry, but that's just not true.


I have a problem with my weight.  I don't get to work out much (which might be more excuses than reality), and I love food.  Add to that I get depressed whenever I feel like I'm having "a fat day" . . . and . . . well, let's just say it's a constant challenge.

But the truth is, if I really wanted . . . I mean REALLY WANTED . . . to drop 10 pounds I could change my lifestyle.  More walking.  Fewer cookies.  Less time at work.  It honestly wouldn't take much.


You could date more if you wanted to.  We all can.


If you need some advice with that, I can help.


Whether you're okay your dating life with the way things are (nothing wrong with that, it's your life after all) or not, don't let the concern that others have for you affect you in a negative way.

They mean well.

They think you're awesome!


Let that help you stay more positive.


A positive attitude, by the way, is one of the most attractive features in the world!


Cheers,

- Bro Jo

Friday, May 5, 2017

When Everyone Else is Getting Married

Bro Jo,

I'm a 22 year old returned sister missionary living in Provo. Which means I'm in that grand time of life where everyone around me keeps getting engaged and married.

Except for me.

My love life is a bit lackluster, I go on a few first dates a month that never turn into second dates, even if I want them to.

But believe me, this is definitely not the state I want my social life to be in,

I'm actually really working to meet new people and work towards relationships and marriage! With this holiday season just passed and the influx of engagements on my Facebook newsfeed,

I've noticed a trend in my thought process.

I am catching myself being very judgmental and negative about seeing people in relationships or getting engaged- and these are people that I know and want to be happy!

A lot of it stems from feeling really behind because I've never been in a real relationship despite my best efforts while I see other people (sometimes a lot younger than me) find success so quickly and easily.

So I guess my question for you is: What can I do to change my mindset and just be happy for them?

How can I get it into my heart and not just my head that their success doesn't mean I'm a failure?

Sincerely,

Unlucky in Love




Dear Friend,

It might help you to know that the truth is that MOST people who attend BYU do not get married before graduation.  If they did, there'd be more Married Student Wards than YSA Wards . . . and that's just not the case.

Sister Jo says, and I think she's 100% right, that the best way to feel better - regardless of what's going on in our lives - is to be of service.  Perhaps make it a new habit that whenever one of your friends announces their engagement that you do something special and nice for them . . . something where you can use your talents to make their lives a little brighter . . .

Feeling judgmental and negative from time to time doesn't make you a bad person . . . it just means that, like the rest of us, you've got something to work on.

You're certainly not a failure.  Look at all you've done and accomplished!

Look at all with which you've been blessed!

Now, you haven't asked me to help with your dating life, but we Old People often exercise our prerogative to give advice even though we haven't been asked . . . so here you go:


Bro Jo's List of What to Do If You're Not Married Yet

1.  Don't be in too much of a hurry.  Treat First Dates very casually . . . in attitude; I'm not saying to dress super casual or to be cavalier, just not to make them into too big of a deal.  No pressure.  You're just there to get to know someone better.

2.  Don't hang out.  Not until you're in a relationship, and even then you should be formally going on a date at least once a week.  We like to hang out because it's comfortable, but the thing is that the frequent hang-out often leads to nothing happening . . . ever.

3.  Don't be negative when you're talking to the other opposite sex, especially on dates.  Being down or complaining is a surefire way to kill any chance of a second date.

4.  Always look your best whenever you go out.  No one is impressed with sweats and sandals.  Those of you walking across campus looking like slobs have no idea how many people you're turning off.  There are times to wear causal clothes, but instead of being lackadaisical look for opportunities to take your ensemble up a notch.  How we dress is an outward reflection of our inner attitude, and people pick up n that.

5.  In addition to your regular studies, find a hobby or class or opportunity where you can learn a new skill or grow an underdeveloped talent.  Take a ballroom or swing dancing class!

6.  Find ways to lift others, in conversation or deed.  Helping them feel better will help you feel better.

7.  Don't settle for being someone's buddy, pal or back up.

8.  Don't pass over good choices because they don't seem to match your list, or ideal, or expectation.  And never allow someone to make you think you're "settling" by being with someone you like.

9.  Flirt.  Laugh.  Compliment. Touch.  Kiss.  A guy will never be a boyfriend nor a girl a girlfriend if he or she is never treated like one.



You're not behind.  Trust me.


At your school you're not in last place . . . you're not even in the back half.


It's all going to be okay.


- Bro Jo

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Should You Date Before Your Mission?

Dear Bro Jo,

Is it okay if you never go on a date before your mission?

I'm thinking I won't.  Think I'll be okay?

I feel like now is the time to go so I won't question the Lord.  Just wondering if I  am missing much, or if dating after will be really difficult without prior experience.

Thanks,

- Just Wondering




Dear Wondering,

I think Casual Group Dating helps to prepare one for a mission.  So if you haven't gotten your call yet, I think you should go on some dates if you can.

And, yes, dating is a little more difficult when you come back and it's time to Serious Single Date and you have zero dating experience.

Not impossible, and not a difficulty that can't be overcome, but certainly more difficult.

That said, if you try and it just doesn't happen, don't worry too much about it.

- Bro Jo

Monday, May 1, 2017

Followup to "He's Ready to Give Up Looking"

Dear Readers,

I thought you might like to read this followup to "He's Ready to Give Up Looking" from March 31st, 2017.

- Bro Jo



Dear Bro Jo,

Hey, I recently noticed that you posted my letter to you on the blog. I thought you might like an update on my life.

I don't know if I took every thing you told me to heart, but I definitely did take another look at what I was doing with my life so that I could focus on what I could control.

I've learned a bunch about myself and realized that I had many things to work on before I was ready for dating seriously or marriage. I really feel like I've grown and matured a lot over the course of these last two years.

I'll be graduating with my master's degree in May. Have been dating that girl I talked about in my first letter for about a month and we'll be getting married in July.

And I don't think I've ever been happier. She recently told me that she initially rejected me not because I wasn't enough, but because she knew that if we dated we would get married and she wasn't ready for that yet.

If you add this onto the original letter, I just want to let anyone who reads it know that Heavenly Father truly does have happiness in store for all of His children. It may not seem like in the moment, but the blessings do come and there won't be enough room to receive all of them.

The windows and doors of heaven will be open to those who are ready and worthy to receive them. And the blessing come according to His timetable, so a little bit of patience can go a long way.

-(Maybe not so) Undesirable

P.S. I always thought it was funny that you suggested I attend a family ward, because there's not a YSA ward or even branch in the area where I live so I've been attending a family ward this entire time.




Dear Brother,

How great to hear from you!

I believe in your original email you told me that you were in a regular ward and I missed that.  I've wondered why.  My best guess is that was at a time when I kept thinking that YSAs would be helped by occasionally attending family wards . . . which I still think is a good idea.

Anyway, congratulations to you and your companion!  Happy for you both!

And thank you for sharing your testimony.

Cheers,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Power of Flirting

Dear Bro Jo,

I have been reading your blog recently, and first wanted to say I think you are going a great thing for the Youth/SA community who read your blog. Thank you.

I'm writing to you because I feel like I'm in a kind of unique situation and want some outside advice.

First, some background. I'm in my second year at BYU. I'm currently on a study abroad in Jordan (the country in the Middle East) studying Arabic. I absolutely love it here.

Part of the BYU rules for study abroad is no dating other people on the program. And it makes sense; they don't want to deal with any drama that could come from it. And I totally agree. Especially here in the Middle East with such a conservative culture, that's especially important to not look like the stereotypical "easy" Americans, and to keep the reputation of our program held high for future groups. I've got no problems understanding or supporting or upholding that.

Around the first month or so, I started spending time a lot with these two guys. They're both super recent RMs, and served together for about 9 months and then were in the same area with different companions for another 9 months until the first one was released. So they know each other super well. I'm not the best at socializing sometimes, but I've found it's been really easy to spend time with these two. At first I think it was because they're just such good people there was no way they would ever not include anyone. But now we're actual friends,at least I think so, and have a lot of fun. Of course, because of the nature of the program, we are all friends and get along and all that nice stuff, but naturally there are some we talk to more and some less based on the size of the group (about 50 students), and these two are probably the ones I talk to the most.

Another thing about the rules here, in order to go anywhere but the small radius that my apartment and school are in, we are required to be in groups, at least two during the daytime, and at least three after dark, and after dark one of those people needs to be a guy. So I feel lucky to have a couple of friends I can ask for help if I ever need to go somewhere. Especially now that it's dark by 5 every night. And of course, the girls have to be walked all the way to their building doors, and our buildings are around the corner from each other. These guys, and all of the others too honestly, are so nice and so willing to help us girls with these rules and safety precautions, and I've never had to worry for my safety, for which I am truly grateful.

I digress. Here's the thing. One of these two is engaged. (Coming back, this is going to be easier with names, so, M is engaged, S is not.) So there have apparently been rumors, people are talking about S and I. I guess it makes sense for them to assume, really why would they assume any different given how much the three of us talk, and each of our relationship status, one guy engaged, one guy and one girl completely single. I hadn't actually heard anything about it until about a week ago M asked me about it privately (nothing inappropriate, there's a room a group of about 6-7 of us do homework in every day, and because some were out getting lunch and at appointments and things like that we were the only two in the room for about 10 minutes) I guess they've been asking S when he's going to ask me out and things like that. Nobody has said anything to me though, which is interesting. And I'm not actually opposed to the rumors. I do kind of like this guy. I mean, right now we're just friends, but I certainly wouldn't mind going on a date or two with him after the program ends and seeing where that goes. But when M told me this, and I asked what they thought about it/what the response to it had been, he said they both just laughed about it. Then he told me that S was writing a missionary, the little sister of his best friend back home, not seriously, but had written a few emails to her. I think he may have been trying to get a reaction from me. And then he said something about how S "wasn't set in stone about anything." M told me this all in the context of asking "my opinion" on it, obviously trying to play matchmaker a little. Which he admitted to. But I know I'm not going to try and say anything now, because of the appearances in the culture, and I'm sure neither would Seth, if there even was any feelings there on his part. I think there could be, or at least maybe I hope they do, but I don't really know for sure at all.

We only have two weeks left in this wonderful country, and then will spend two weeks touring the West Bank/Jerusalem/Holy Land before returning home right before Christmas. So after M told me about the rumors, nothing else has been said, and I don't want to say anything about it directly that might complicate anything, and nothing else has been said from him again either. And nobody has said anything to me. So things are still as they were a month ago. It's not awkward, and I'm happy about it.

But I guess my question is, how do I try subtly try to hint to S enough that he might ask me on a date when we return to BYU where dating culture is not only allowed but encouraged? I don't even know completely if he has any feelings for me. Other than normal talking, and of course being willing to be an after dark bodyguard, I don't have much of a chance to tell anything. And because of the nature of the program and how nice he is, I don't actually know if I'm being treated any differently. I've almost convinced myself that it's completely one sided, and if I didn't make an effort to talk to him, we wouldn't talk any more than he does with most of the other girls in the program.

I'm also not the best at the whole relationship/dating stuff. Since I've been at BYU I've gone on exactly one date, and to say the least, I did not enjoy the date or the guy, and though he tried I did not go on another with him. In high school I had a relationship (I've read your opinions on those, I know, but I don't regret anything, it's over, and he's a great missionary right now) but it happened so naturally from our friendship. And for the most part this is the same, but because of the situation, I know that if I actually want to see him after we leave the Middle East I'm going to make some sort of effort, and I don't know how. In a way I kind of feel like it's high school again, "you can date after this, but now you can't" and so there's not really a point in doing anything about any possible feelings that may or may not exist anyways.

Thanks,

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

This really isn't as complicated as you're worrying it is.

Sometime between now and the time you go home tell M that you've been thinking about what he said, and when all of you get home if S asked you out you'd say yes.

And then let it go.

That's it.

I promise you M will tell S.

If he wants to, and has the courage, he'll ask you out.  And telling M, his good friend, will help with that because he'll encourage S to make a move.

If you are all on the flight home and S still doesn't have, nor has asked, for your phone number, write it on a piece of paper and go up and give it to him.  Say something simple like "I hope you feel like you need this", touch him on the arm, and walk away.

No one, little sister, is too inexperienced to try a little flirting.

Have fun!

- Bro Jo

Monday, April 24, 2017

The "Out of the Blue" Breakup - Part 2

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you so much for your words of wisdom; it seriously made me feel so much better about this situation!

I have a couple of things to ask about though (sorry) but when the guy mentioned me coming on really strong I thought long and hard about what that might mean..

I'm not the type to come on strong..ever..I really should work on coming on stronger actually, or else most guys think I'm indifferent to them.

The only thing I could think of was that other people were kind of pressuring him in a way. One of our mutual friends told the guy that I was really awesome and that he should put a ring on it (I know this sounds presumptuous) but several other people (his baseball coach, some people in the ward, one of my friends) said the same thing while I was with him (and I'm not sure who said what while I wasn't with him) I didn't ask them to say this either!

The bottom line is that how is it my fault that he was being pressured by others and not by me..? Is it wrong to be like-able? (k I'm really not a brat I promise.) but for real. How does a girl fix that?

I know this is a little desperate but I really like this guy. A whole lot. And I'm not asking him to fall in love with me..(I can't predict the future! Who knows maybe its not meant to be..) I'm just asking for a chance.

Is there anything else I can do in this situation?? (I mean besides show up to all the FHE activities and Sacrament meetings looking ravishing;)) ha.

Help..?

- Confused




Dear Confused,

We can't "fix" people; we can help them, but even then only if they want our help.

And let's be honest with ourselves:  you absolutely want him to fall in love with you; if you didn't there would be no reason to write me about him.

You could try talking to him and asking him what happened; I think that's a fair thing to do, but I don't know that you should waste your time.

Sister Jo is a HUGE advocate of showing up, looking ravishing, and making him regret he ever blew it with you.  But she's also right when she says that even if you didn't come on too strong (and I believe that's the case), the response to someone who has freaked out about feeling pressured is never positive if you pressure them more.

You had a chance, and so did he.  As great as he may be, he wasn't smart enough to realize it at the time, so you need to move on and make him regret it.

Then and only then will there be a chance he'll come around.

And if he does, you frankly may not care.

And THAT'S the position you want to be in.

- Bro Jo

Friday, April 21, 2017

The "Out of the Blue" Breakup - Part 1

Dear Bro Jo,

Hello again!

So, I have a bit of a situation. There’s this guy (oh how cliché)..he's wonderful, interesting, and smart.

We have been in the same ward for quite some time but haven't really been able to talk much (I've been spending time out of the country) but he's the same age as my older sister and so I kinda know him, but had never really talked to him.

But now we are both back, and single. So we started talking and eventually went out on a few dates, just to clarify I'm 19 and he's 22 (R.M.) so they were fun, one on one dates. (He invited me to his basketball game, then we got hot chocolate and talked at the temple for a few hours, he came over to my house and played games/watched a movie, and we went to a hot air balloon festival) plus we had been texting/calling quite a bit..this all happened in the space of about a week and a half.

I liked him immediately and surprisingly very intensely, (I haven't felt that way for a guy so fast in a long time..)I have a missionary whom I really like, (but we both decided that it would be good to date other people) so I've been on quite a few dates since he's been gone--and have liked a few guys, but some of them were preparing for their own missions, or I'm not really into it or vice versa or whatever (something always happened)--and frankly I haven't really been heartbroken about it.

Anyways, back to this guy. We went on those few dates and afterwards he came back to my house to watch a movie and we started talking, he said that he had just gotten out of a long term serious relationship (he had been with his ex for a year). So, I asked if he still liked her (not wanting to get into anything if he still had feelings for her) and he said that breaking up was mutual and they both saw it coming, he only sees her as a friend, he wants what’s best for her and all but doesn't see anything romantic. Earlier in the week (right after our 2nd date) his ex texted him and he said he was confused about it.--I have no idea what he or she said. But, I mean, if you date someone for a year and you aren't sure if you should be together then you probably shouldn't be together, am I right...?

Anyways, after him telling me all this about his ex and everything he said he wanted to "take things slow" and "be fair to me" and he "didn't want to hurt me". I of course not wanting to lie to him told him about my missionary and that I'm not waiting for him, but I also like him too but I wanted to give the current guy a chance and "not hurt him" either.

So..naturally I thought taking things slow meant being casual and dating others, but he surprised me with a kiss. (we ended up making out on a couple occasions) which was awesome/confusing.

So I was trying to be cool and casual about it but he sure didn't kiss me very casually. I ended up going on a couple of dates with other guys during that time to try to protect my heart buy I felt nothing for them and could only think about this current guy. I also didn't want to play games so I told him that I had gone out with those other guys and if he was ok with it and he said that yeah he was cool with it and that we should keep on trying to be casual. I really started to develop feelings for this guy though, but I kinda felt him start to back off a bit. I was super confused about where his head was so I decided to be brave and tell him my feelings.

So I said:

 "Hey so I just wanted to clear this up and be real with you..and let you know that even though I've been on a few dates with other guys I can't stop thinking about you! Gosh what is it about you (name withheld)!? But I wanted to let you know that I really feel like there could be something pretty great between us. I don't want to make you uncomfortable, but I would really like to see where we could go. I would rather let you know how I feel and possibly be hurt -- than to never take a chance.."

To which he replied:

"Yeah I've been wanting to talk to you. (name withheld) you're a really great girl and its been so much fun hanging out with you! I think we are just in different places in our lives. I've had fun with you but you've just come on really strong. And with where I'm at in my life I don't want that. Things just got moving really fast and it freaked me out. And I needed time to think and pray about things. I want to still be friends but I think I just need my space for now. Are you okay with that? I really don't want to hurt you and just want you to be happy and I don't think I could give you what you deserve."

So, I was pretty sad and a little humiliated. I just said okay with a smile and that was it.

Ok, I know it seems like I'm a crazy girl who just wants to get married, but that really isn't me. I just wanted to date him and see how things went! (I still don't feel ready for marriage just yet)

I really don't feel like I did anything wrong. But I'm not sure how to handle this now.

I saw him in church today and it was hard for me to even look at him, let alone talk to him..so I didn't. I would still be ok with being friends with him but I don't want to come off as intense or anything.

What should I do?

And uh, why did he kiss me?! Again. He kissed me. Not the other way around. Sure if he was like most guys I'd say that's just how they are..but this guy is different, he's honest and spiritual, he's a really great person.

Any advice?

Thanks.

- Confused




Dear Confused,

I'm guessing that he kissed you because
A) Kissing is fun
B) He finds you attractive
C) The timing seemed appropriate (and I'd argue that it was), and 
D) He wanted to kiss you (and you let him).

All of which are good things.


I don't think you came on to strong, I don't think you were out of line to think this was going somewhere (and I agree that it probably should have), and I think he may have made a big mistake.

But the bottom line is that he broke up with you; and as I've said often, while you two can be friendly, you can never really be close friends.  You either end up together or apart; he either becomes your best friend, or someone else will.


So I think it's best to move on.

I know that may be difficult.


But consider this:  him breaking up with you doesn't mean that you're not great; it means that for a period of time he was smart enough to realize how great you are . . . and then he wasn't.  Some other guy will figure it out, and that guy won't be dumb enough to change his mind.  So keep dating!


And, who knows?  Perhaps if you continue to be nice to this guy he'll figure it out.

And, if so, maybe . . . Just MAYBE . . . you'll let him crawl back and beg you for another chance . . .

But that will be your decision to make.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Will Breaking the Law of Chastity Prevent Her from Serving a Mission?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro Jo!

Let me begin saying I've been a reader for years and I really Like reading your blog.

I want to tell/ask you something very personal...

The thing is that I have the desire to serve a mission, but time ago I broke the law of chastity, I feel sorrow in my soul and in my heart and I'm about to confess it to my ward president.

What I would Like to know is if it prevents me from serving a mission

Looking forward for your answer,

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

That is a question you should ask your Bishop / Branch President when you meet with him.  I encourage you to have that conversation right away.

Regardless the answer, I promise you that if you follow counsel given towards mending your relationship with the Savior and continuing to do what you know to be right, you will be blessed.

I am proud of you for your faith in the atonement and your willingness to repent.

God bless,

- Bro Jo

Monday, April 17, 2017

How Do You Know If You're In Love?

Dear Bro Jo,

How do you know you're in love?

- S




Dear S.,

When the other person's needs and happiness are more important than your own.

And in a healthy relationship, especially a marriage, that needs to go both ways.

- Bro Jo

Friday, April 14, 2017

Does He Regret Breaking Up?

Dear Bro Jo,

I will be honest I have ready many of your blogs and letters to other young adults and have disagreed with so many, but I do believe this comes from a cultural thing rather than a difference of opinion,

So I am living in the United Kingdom.  About a year ago I dated a girl from the same stake as myself although she did live around an hour away.  We dated and we were happy.

Sadly after the "honeymoon period" I realized that despite the fact that I cared for her (and I still do) I didn't want her to become my eternal companion, so I did what I believed was the decent thing and broke it off.

We discussed it for a long time and we agreed to part ways and still remain friends.

Well since then I have had a few girlfriends and I have still remained friends with this first girl, we will call her "Jenny".

Jenny remained a constant part of my life even while I was dating these other girls. we would text and remained pretty close friends. She would talk to me about the guys she would date and I would talk to her about the girls I would date.

We were pretty close. I always knew this was unhealthy but I still chose to participate.

Well I got a girlfriend who did not like the situation I had with jenny, and after discussing it I agreed to limit mines and jenny's friendship. Jenny and I talked it over and she left the conversation pretty mad, and I really was trying to be decent. I believe she is mad because she was still holding on to the idea of me and this was me picking another girl over her. I felt awful. I really did.

So for a while she wouldn't come to any stake activities and events because she didn't want to be in the same room as me, she removed me off Facebook and other social media and just cut me out of her life. she constantly and publicly moans about how horrible I was to her on twitter and Instagram and we broke up a year ago. It got to the point where she had to rearrange her whole stake conference attendance just so we were never in the same room..... our stake does it complicated.

The worst part is I have now been called into stake YSA, which means I have to organize events and institute for the Stake, and I can see that many on her side of the Stake have become distant from my YSA.....  It really is split in two sides.

It’s awful.

I believe she is a massive source of negativity and is draining many of the YSA, I see the advice she gives to people and it’s just so awful. It makes me cringe.

I believe that if she and I established a friendship again (albeit a limited one) that really could help improve the relationship of the YSA as a whole.

I never say anything negative about Jenny, or at least I try not to.

The whole situation makes me feel sick, I never meant to hurt anyone, and I constantly re-evaluate my past decisions to see if I made the right one, I still believe I have.

Drama and problems come with being a YSA, I get that, but as a leader in it I really don't want to be the source of it.

I really don't like that you are only hearing one side of the story from me as I can honestly say I have not been the best of people in this situation.

What should I do?

- Confused Leader




Dear Confused,

Somethings are universal, despite differences in culture.

We often think that avoiding pain now will lessen or even eliminate the possibility of pain later . . . but life rarely works that way.  Getting a vaccination to stave off disease or infection is not too much different than breaking up and pretending we can still hang out and be friends.

As long as you were hanging on to "Jenny" she thought there was a possibility you might come to your senses (her opinion, not mine) and get back together (or at least want to, thus making her feel desired and not rejected)  . . . and, let's face it . . . that's one of the reasons you held onto her friendship.  You weren't ready to let her go until you found another woman to replace her.

Jenny got mad because it was in THAT conversation that you began the end of the break up process.

Relationships can be complicated, especially if we make them so.  Has nothing to do with which Stake we're in.

Saying you "try to" never say anything negative about Jenny means that, well, you do.  And saying that you still believe you've made the right decision breaking her heart but that you keep re-evaluating that decision means . . . well, you're afraid you didn't.

That's why you have hung onto her as a "friend".

Keep her or let her go.

Make a decision and stick to it.

That's called leadership.

Whatever you decide, continue to be kind towards her.  That's called being A Good Christian Man.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

When Friends Wander

Dear Bro Jo,

So before going off to college I met a friend at youth conference and EFY.

We were just acquaintances, then I moved into her ward for college. We got really close, and I consider her to be like my sister.

She is 19, just finished her first year of college. She was active at Church. Her dad is in the bishopric. She was supposed to go away for college, but due to family circumstances ended up staying home for school.

Her mom and her brother have been living a state away over the past year as they are setting up a business. Her dad will be joining them in the next couple of months.

Last September, she started dating a boy of another faith. He was still in high school. I didn't think too much of it, but eventually she stopped coming to Church. She said she had always questioned the Church, but when I asked her what she believed she could never really give me a solid answer.

One particular night she said she wanted to talk about beliefs but it ended up her boyfriend just responding on her Facebook account a ton of scriptures attacking our beliefs.

Did not go well.

I just bore my testimony and let it stop.

I've seen her a couple times since then and she knows that I will be her friend no matter what.

Well...apparently she just got engaged yesterday. And I think she's making an incredibly bad decision.

Her boyfriend just turned 18, she has only finished a year of college. And I just feel like if she goes down this path she will really regret it later.

I was just married in the temple 6 months ago. I know just how important a Temple Marriage is.

She has been taught just as I have, and I can't understand why she thinks a marriage outside of the temple would ever make her truly happy.

Here's my question: I know she has her agency, and it's not my decision but do I say anything or just butt out?

Do I say congratulations I'm so happy for you when I don't see this being a smart decision at all?

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

If she doesn't ask you for your opinion, don't give it; she's not your child, nor is she someone you have stewardship over.

Do you say congratulations when you don't mean it?

No.  I don't think you lie just to make her feel better.

But maybe you can find a way to mean it.

She can be truly happy.  Not eternally.  Not yet, anyway.  But happy.

Can you congratulate her on that?

Remember, being LDS, being sealed for Time and All Eternity, does not mean you'll never make decisions you'll regret; so try not to judge too harshly or let your disappointment show.

If you drive a wedge between you now, she'll never turn to you when she wants to come back, or they're ready to be sealed, or when this relationship dies and she needs a good friend.

Everyone questions their faith; what we can't do is allow those questions to fester or talk us out of what we know is true.

You're right not to engage in Scripture Wars with the boyfriend; or anyone, really.  Never goes well.  Not because Latter-day Saints don't have solid scriptural ground to stand on (quite the contrary), but because contention drives out the Spirit.

Lastly, I have my own suspicions as to why a 19-year old inactive girl is marrying her 18-year old just out of High School boyfriend . . . rather than writing here what I'm sure you'll figure out, let's just say that your friend may have even more reason for her need of your love and support right now.

Likewise, we could come to some conclusions regarding why she feels the need to distance herself from her faith, but confronting her with those will not help.  Her, or you.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I've simply told her that I love her,

I hope she is happy, and that her wedding is everything she ever wished for!

And I do want those things for her.

It just breaks my heart knowing how much more she could have.

But you did remind me that this doesn't mean she will never get sealed.

The Church is true and the gospel is all about second chances. I just have to remember that.

Thanks,

- NW




Dear NW,

That's excellent!

And me too, NW.

Me, too.

- Bro Jo

Monday, April 10, 2017

Should She Get Additional Piercings?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hello!

So, recently I've been thinking . . . I've always wanted to get a second piercing. I think fashion and accessories are such wonderful ways to express yourself, and I think a small stud wouldn't do much harm at all. I dress modestly, live the word of wisdom, and I do everything to try and better myself every day. So how could a little stud change that?

I do know that prophets have recommended no more than one piercing, however.

I've read about it and prayed though, and I just can't seem to find the answer to if it's ok to get one or not. I know the temple would still accept me if I had an extra piercing, and as far as I know I don't think it would keep me from entering the Celestial Kingdom or anything...

So my question is, what is your stance on piercings like this? Would it be stupid for me to get one?

I'm sorry if it's a stupid question or anything, I just feel a bit confused.

Thanks!

-Considering Piercings




Dear Considering,

Does additional piercings keep one from the Celestial Kingdom?

No.

But attitude might.

You know that it is recommended that women only have one piercing per ear.  And yet you're looking for an excuse to do it anyway.

That's the problem.

There are several things that people are doing with their faces and hair and bodies right now that are trendy that, while there's no "law or commandment or handbook rule" against them, they are against the Spirit of what we're taught.

The Lord is very clear that for us to be commanded in all things is not His way.  If you think about it ... not only should we not have to be commanded in everything, it's actually very impractical.

Remember these three things:
1.  Our bodies are our Temples.  Like the House of the Lord and our homes, we should keep them clean and in the best condition we can.  They don't need a lot of extra embellishments; doing that would make them Less Beautiful.
2.  Rather than follow the trends of the world, we have been admonished to "be a peculiar people", meaning that those that have not yet joined the Church should be able to look at us and by our demeanor AND our appearance  (which of course includes modesty) know that we are members of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints.
3.  One way in which we need not be commanded but can still no the direction to follow is to look at Church leaders and those whom He has chosen to represent Himself as examples.  General Conference is coming up soon.  Look closely at those chosen as general officers of the Church and note how they are dressed, note what they wear as far as jewelry.  And then consider how missionaries are told to dress and what jewelry they wear as they encircle the world representing the Savior.
While some trends are more disfiguring and permanent that additional ear holes, the Spirit of why we choose them is the same.

Whatever you choose, I will not love you less.

And, no, I don't think Heavenly Father or Jesus will love you less, but I do think it will be tougher for others to see you as a Disciple of Christ.

Including, and I know young people have a tough time seeing and thinking this far ahead, your children.

So just trust me on this one:  it's much harder to hold your children to the rod when they know that you've let go from time to time and wandered a bit.

(That, by the way, is why it's a mistake for parents and other adults to brag to and share with their children about their past sins.)

My opinion?

No, little sister, don't get the extra piercings.

With love,

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you very much!

The reason I was wondering if its ok is since my 16th birthday is coming up, my mom was thinking she could take me to the mall and maybe get an extra piercing or something. (She isn't in the Church anymore, but I think that kind of goes with what you were saying)

I know I want to be a good example to my future children though, and I realize now that I probably should've stopped wondering about if I should or shouldn't when the prophet said not too. (Which I feel silly typing, because that should've been obvious.)

Deep down I don't think I was ever actually going to go through with it, but I think I was trying to rationalize that it was ok because it was something my mom would be fine with, and I always liked fashion statements anyway.

Thank you for being there, and thank you for giving me a bit more perspective!

- Considering




Dear Considering,

I'm here anytime you need.

Sometimes we miss the obvious.  That can happen to anybody.

I think that's why it's so important to keep seeking spiritual things.  The more we put the Spirit in our lives the easier it is to hear and feel the Spirit.

Don't be too hard on your mom.  Show her the love and respect she deserves, but never drop your standards or stray from what you know is right.

Happy Birthday!

God bless,

- Bro Jo

Friday, April 7, 2017

Making Friends

Dear Bro Jo,

 I have two friends in the church. We talk, maybe hang out. We don't do much more. I thought that that was fine. I thought that it was okay to wave at all of the girls at the stake dances and firesides and have them ignore me. I thought that it was normal for all of the other girls to have scripture reading parties, and not invite me. I thought it was normal for the leaders to invite all of the laurels except for a few to get ready for Mormon prom. I tried to be accepted, but I wasn't upset because I thought that friends are just for some people, and I don't need any.

But then I joined a swim team. They didn't make me feel less because I did experiments and enjoyed them. They didn't make me feel less feminine for liking superheroes. They didn't make me feel weird for graduating early, because they were too. They didn't ostracize me for quoting Shakespeare because guess what we do during land workout? We go through the death scenes of LOTR, HP, and Shakespeare's Tragedies.

I realized that I not only benefited from having having friends, I needed them. I looked and I saw that I didn't have what the leaders to tell you to have in church- friends. Over the past six years, that I have been where I am, I have tried to organize activities at church, join things in the stake, talk to people about their interests, open up about myself, and everything that the church says to do to make and strengthen friendships. It hasn't worked. I just don't connect. Is there some extra advice that you can give me about making friends? So far I attend mutual regularly, I go to youth activities, I go to the dances, I go to seminary, I participate in class. Is there anything else that I can do without changing myself? or should I accept the fact that these girls will never be my friends, and move on?

- Tonks




Dear Tonks,

(Interesting name, btw.)

Everyone needs friends.  President Hinckley said that.

Every group has clicks; small groups who are more likely to associate because of the things they have in common.

Where I live it's the girls at Church you would fit in with and the swim team that would make fun of you for loving the things you do.

The best way to make a friend, of course, is to be a friend.  Unless someone's behavior is bad one should not change who they are.  And even them it's best to make that change for yourself, not for others.

Will you ever be part of this particular click at Church?

Probably not.

But as people get older their interests change and along with that their group of friends can change, too.  You may find one day that you and some of these girls have much more in common than you once did.

At that moment the best thing for you to do will be to be forgiving and open to new friendships.
Right now I think you should ask these leaders why you didn't get invited to Group Scripture Study and to get ready for the Prom.  I think the answer could be quite educational for both them and you.

In fact, I hope you'll let me know how that conversation goes.

There's power in moving on, but there's even more power in information ... and even more power in inviting your new friends to Church.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I have decided to stop worrying about having friends in my word for a few reasons. I'm going to college next year, these girls aren't going to be there, and even if they are, it's highly unlikely that I will see them if I don't really want to at BYU. Contrary to what my Young Women's leaders say, Friends aren't necessary for a strong testimony. If I focus on Christ, and less on how other people treat me, I'll still look forward to church. I just have to try harder.

Lastly, I talked to two other girls who attend BYU and BYU Hawaii. They had the same problem as I'm having now. One girl even left our ward 2 years early to go to the YAG. It's unlikely that I will find a solution where they didn't, and the search for one will only frustrate me and stand in my way of growing closer to Christ.

I talked to my leaders about inclusion, and how there were so many cliques. I don't think that they realized what they were doing. They probably thought that all of the girls were really close because the clique encompassed so many people. They have decided to look at their rosters and invite everyone if they're having a YW sleepover, or makeover night, or something like that.

As to inviting my friends to church, all of my friends are my friends because of what kind of people they are. They all act like Mormons, even if they aren't. They're even more rigid on dress codes, keeping the Sabbath day holy, and their intake of media than most Mormon families are. Because they are so active in their churches, they decline going to our church. Some of them have been interested, but their families have said no, so it isn't the right time in their lives to accept the gospel. I can only hope that when they're older, and they question their religion, they will remember me and our church.

Even though I have given up on befriending the girls in my stake, I know not everyone is like that. However, a lot of people are. These people will be with me throughout my life: the kind that are so insecure that they manipulate their world to make people like, or act like, they like them. How do I handle and deal with these people effectively. I will likely have these people as roommates in college, as visiting teaching companions, as coworkers, as mission companions. How do I handle them so that it's a pleasant experience for everyone.

Thanks,

- Tonks




Dear Tonks,

I believe in killing with kindness. You'll never regret it and will always have a reason to feel good about yourself.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks, I've actually been made secretary of the class. That has helped a lot because I'm able to talk to the leaders more, and I actually know how to serve and what needs to be done.

- Tonks




Dear Tonks,

Wonderful!

- Bro Jo