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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.


- 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

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