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

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why Teen Guys Don't Date . . . and How to Fix That

Dear Bro Jo,

I haven't read a lot if your stuff but what I have read, I really enjoy!

You are very wise and give the kind of advice I would give. Props for that!

So I just had a question you probably get a lot and you may not know the answer to, but I am going to ask it anyway.

I am 17 and I feel like guys in my town don't date unless they are into the girl/in a relationship. This really bothers me!

Why should you have to be in a relationship when first, the prophet has counseled against it and second, it isn't worth it!

I have been there and it stinks.

I guess the question is why don't guys ask girls on dates more often?

Why does it have to be a school dance or a major event for a guy to ask a girl?

I hope this all made sense and hope to hear back from you.

Thanks!

- M




Dear M,

Sister Jo and I believe that guys don't ask girls on dates because they don't have to.

Outside of our moral standards, it's the same thinking that keeps guys who are having sex with their girlfriends from proposing to them.

Why put forth any effort or show respect when you don't have to?

After all, if you're getting what you want with no commitment and no effort, why bother?

See, their parents and leaders don't teach them the value of Casual Group Dating when they turn 16. (There are lots of reasons why, none of them are valid.)

They fail to understand that it builds good social skills, helps to prepare for missionary service, and teaches skills that will help them find an Eternal Companion when they get older.

And, let's face it, as a group you girls don't require them to date you. It's a sad circle, really.

See, guys get to hang out with girls, hold their hands, kiss them, even say that they're "dating" . . . without actually taking girls on dates.

And in the long run it's the girls who get cheated.

Not just the girls who are being (yes, on some level) used by these boys, but also those girls who don't get asked out because their sisters let them down.

The next question you ask should be "what can I do to fix it?"

I believe that you have several tools.

Bro Jo's HOW to GET LDS GUYS to START DATING

     1. Ask them. Hold their feet to the fire. In a group setting, perhaps even a Sunday School or Seminary Class, ask the boys (as kind and sincere as you can) "if the Prophet of the Church suggests that we not Seriously Single Date until we're old enough to get married, and we're advised to go on Casual Group Dates at this age, how come you righteous priesthood holders aren't setting up more Casual Group Dates and asking us girls out more often?" (I'd love to know what they tell you, by the way.)

     2. Talk to the Young Men Leaders and ask THEM the same question, this way: "How come the young men in our Branch / Ward / Stake aren't setting up Casual Group Dates more often and taking us girls out on dates? How come they're in exclusive relationships? Aren't you teaching them correct principles?"

     3. Talk to your girl friends about all of this. See if you can't, in a loving way, help them to see your point of view. Teach them that dates need not be a relationship, nor should they say that they're "dating" a guy if he never actually takes them on dates. Help them to understand that a date need not be expensive or complicated, and that a first date is not a proposal. Nor is a second or a third.

     4. Keep your attitude positive and friendly. Though you may feel understandably bitter, no one wants to date, or dance with, a sour puss.

     5. Don't hang out, but do put together some Group Activities. No one says that boys and girls can only do things together at EFY or on Mutual nights. Movie parties, game nights . . . as the boys get to know you girls better they'll be more comfortable asking you out.

     6. Read the Dating Rules. Share and discuss them with your parents and peers.

     7. Teach your future sons and daughters the value of Casual Group Dating. It might be the best thing you can do to change the culture.  Sister Jo, much to my amazement (because she's awesome!) dated very little before I came along. I suppose that worked out very well for me . . . and the Jo Kids, but because she shared many of the frustrations that you have now, that's a large part of the reason why this whole "Dear Bro Jo" think even exists.

Cultural Change takes a long time, and it requires effort on BOTH sides of the situation.  Be Patient, but also Take Action.

- Bro Jo

Friday, April 17, 2015

What to Do When the One You Like is Dating Someone Else?

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro. Jo!

I am a 20 year old girl at BYU, just trying to figure out my dating life and come out as unscathed as possible.

In January I met a boy who I kinda liked. And as the semester came to a close, we began talking a lot more. I started to like this boy more as I got to know him, and we dated some.

Our first date was like magic, simply because I LOVED being with him.

I felt connected to him in a way I've never before, and I have dated my fair share of boys.

He truly is amazing, so humble and caring and gentlemanly, and compassionate.

I knew he was interested in me, and I wanted to be. But I was afraid and I wasn't ready for a relationship at that time, so I pushed him away.

I didn't allow myself to feel so deeply for him because it really scared me.

Every time I saw him I tried to disconnect how deeply I felt for him, until a few weeks ago. I had a dream about him, and I realized when I woke up that I needed to stop pushing him away because I loved him. I woke up happier than I have been in a long time, smiling from ear to ear. I needed to tell him that I was sorry for pushing him away.

I needed to tell him how I felt, and how very sorry I was. I realized then, when I woke up, how much he means to me.

It had been nearly 3 months since our last date when I had this dream.. I wish so badly I hadn't pushed him away because he really does mean a lot to me, but I have grown a lot as a result of my actions.

We have remained friends, but it's different now than it was before.

I have grown so much since that time, and I feel more ready for a relationship, and he means so much to me.

I want to date him now that I feel like I can be a part of a healthy relationship, but last week, he officially started exclusively dating another girl in the ward. I hadn't told him how I felt. I hadn't told him how sorry I was.

I know he still had feelings for me, but because I wasn't reciprocating I think he moved on.

I wish I had told him, because now I fear it's too late, and the man I love may be falling for someone else. I don't know though if he really loves her/likes her/she likes him/feelings are mutual (you get the idea) because they don't spend much time together; today they didn't sit by each other in Church or at ward prayer or at the stake party on Friday.

I don't see them together hardly at all even when they're both at the same events. I've only seen them together at Church last week where they were holding hands.

It's none of my business though what they do or don't do, it's only what I have observed in the past week,

Bro. Jo, I feel as if I made a mess of this. And I really do love him.

What do I do?

He's dating someone else, not me. But it breaks my heart and I don't know how to tell him.

What would you do?

Many thanks in advance!

-E




Dear E,

Go talk to him.

Now.

Until he proposes to someone he's fair game.

He may have moved on, and if he tells you so, then so can you. But if you don't give it a shot both you and he may regret it.

Sister Jo says take a fresh baked plate of his favorite cookies with you. Good luck!

And let us know how it goes.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro. Jo,

So, I talked to him.

I told him I was so sorry and that he deserves to be treated better.

Interesting enough, he's not dating that girl anymore. I'm pretty sure she broke it off. I don't know details, but I know he is sad about it, so I didn't really tell him how deeply I feel about him besides the apologies.

I know, I need to be more brave, but I just didn't want to tell him how I felt so soon after a break-up. I'm going to take things slow, continue to be his friend, and see where things go.

Do you think that sounds like a good idea,

Or should I just tell him already?

Maybe I'm being a sissy...?

Thanks bro. Jo

- E




Dear E,

Hmmm . . . the boy you think you might be in love with but never said anything is suddenly single . . .

(Ever hear of the Lord's timing???)

Yeah, I think you need to be his friend and be there for him . . . but I wouldn't wait very long!

The next time you see him, and I hope it's today, I think you should tell him that while you're sorry he's hurting you're glad he and that girl aren't dating anymore.

And tell him why.

. . . arm touch . . .wink wink . . . eye flutter eye flutter

Be Kind, but don't Hang Out or get caught in the Friend Zone waiting for him to make a move . . . and then be sad when he ends up asking out someone else.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro. Jo,

You're so right. (Like always, of course :) )

Thank you for the advice, and for helping me gain the courage to tell him how I feel.

I'll keep ya updated !

Thanks,

- E




Dear E,

Please do.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How Does a Near-30 Single Have More Dating Success?

Dear Bro Jo,

So I've read through your blog and there's some good advice here and there, but not enough specifics.

I'll just put it out there, I'm 29 and not to boast in myself but I am attractive as far as looks go, I dress modestly, but not still wear flattering clothes and wear a small amount of makeup (enough to enhance but not overdo it) and perfume.

So I'm able to get guys initial attention at least.

I regularly attend Church events and other places where there are LDS single men and I mingle, talk to and otherwise flirt (so I'm not just sitting in the corner pouting).

I always try to be open and have tried multiple flirting "techniques" that you and other relationship advice people have said and all to no avail.

Despite trying for years I have not gotten anywhere with dating.

Guys have no problems being friends with me and seem to always prefer that, but I cannot get a date at all.

It's been 8 months since a guy has even hinted at a date.

I have never said no to a first date and I'm not unapproachable, so I just don't get it.

What am I doing wrong and how in the world do I get a guy to ask me out?

What more can I do than I am already doing?

How does someone become "dateable"?

And yes I have tried to avoid the whole friend zone thing by avoiding just hanging out.

But honestly that has just turned into me sitting at home alone rather than at least having something social to do when there are no activities or other socials going on.

It's more than a little frustrating for me.

I don't like the idea of asking a guy out (and I see you don't either) and I've tried blind dates and set ups (I have yet to have one go anywhere past an awkward dinner) along with online dating (I did not enjoy it at all and found it to be not so fruitful).

I'm running out of ideas here.

 Please help me out

- Looking for tips




Dear Looking,

You're not alone.

Us Old People often say that we have no idea how a great catch (such as yourself) could still be single in their late 20's and early 30's . . . but it does happen.


We blame the guys saying they're too into themselves, too shy or inexperienced, not motivated (though we can't fathom how or why), or holding out for some fantasy girl who

  A) doesn't really exist,

and

   B) would never date them anyway.


We blame the girls . . . typically saying the same things: she scared guys away when she was "marrying age" (whatever that means) by proclaiming her desire to go on a mission or "focus on her schooling / career / whatever", she's too shy or inexperienced . . . or holding out for some fantasy guy who

   A) doesn't really exist,

or

   B) would never ask her out anyway.


Unlike guys girls do seem to be motivated . . . and don't seem to be as into themselves.

See, when you're an Old Married Person it's as easy to look past the garbage reasons that y'all give for not being married (or not even seriously dating) as it is to forget how hard it was when we were there.
In our efforts to understand, and even to help, we can be a bit insensitive . . . even though we're probably correct.


I get PILES of emails from Women Your Age who feel exactly as you do; great sisters who would make a super spouse and just don't seem to be getting pursued the way they should; and PILES of emails from Great Guys, in the 26-37 range who just can't seem to find a decent woman to date.


I look up some of you on Facebook and I think "wow, he's really handsome; hey, she's really pretty; what the heck is wrong here!" How is it possible that these great LDS Singles are still unmarried??? 


And then I wonder "wouldn't it be easier if all of these people could be in the same Stake Center on the Same Day . . . perhaps a convention of sorts . . . (I'll bet we could fill the Conference Center with no problem) . . . and then some old married people who have no biases and nothing to fear or risk could go around interviewing all of you and then pair you off . . . HA!

I've even had people your age write to me with some seriousness and ask me to set it up . . . though I think y'all'd be much better off with someone several levels of revelation above me doing the pairing!

The truth is, little sister, there's no way I know what you're doing wrong.

I do have some suggestions for you, though. But before I get to those, let me invite you to do a little self-examination; I have a suspicion that deep down you do have, on some level, some ideas of what you need to be doing or not doing.

It seems like we always know . . . but we're not comfortable with the answer.

Information precedes Revelation, and in this situation you have more information than I do.

And you could also get some very valuable information from those around you that know you well and love you enough to tell you the truth.

As undoubtedly great as you are, we're very rarely the best at evaluating ourselves and yet our friends and family always seem to have a very good sense of what we could be doing better or different.

So ask them.

Ask the guys you know.

Don't be whiny.

Be Sincere.

One on one or in a group, ask a couple guys "hey, why aren't guys asking me out?"

The goal isn't to make them feel guilty (although it may be interesting to say to one or two, or more, of them whom you'd like to go out with "how come you've never asked me out?"), but to gather information. I seriously recommend trying that.

Perhaps several times.


The other thing that seems to be lacking in your approach is what I call "the push"; you know them, you're friends, you're looking and smelling good, you're flirting instead of being a wallflower, so do what we in sales call "closing the deal".

I've written about it often.

There's a Facebook note called:


that may be helpful, but the point is that I think that at some point in your Flirty Conversations with these guys you need to say something like "so, this is the part where you ask me out on a date" and then touch his arm, bat your eyes, smile . . . AND SAY NOTHING.

You've got to do something that gets these guys to make the move, and I think you're missing that one little but important step.

But I'm curious what the people who know you will say.

- Bro Jo

PS: There are tons of things on the Column Page and Facebook page that speak to your topic very specifically. Check out the Notes on the Facebook page and try clicking on the Blog tags "Serious Single Dating", "Single Adults", and "Getting a Date".



Dear Readers,

I'm not certain what this original writer decided to do . . . but I noticed the other day, as I was preparing this post to publish, that she is now happily sealed for time and all eternity.

Thought you might like to know that.

- Bro Jo