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.)

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Will They Still Be In Love When the Missions Are Done?

Dear Bro Jo,

I normally wouldn't do anything like this but I've reached a very confusing point and a man's insight would be great.

There's a guy I know who just left on his mission.

He's a bit older than most missionaries because he's a fairly new member to the Church.

We met at school through an organization where he was an advisor type of a person to me.

My first year we went on one date and it was terribly awkward, but a crush started to form.

My second year we became practically inseparable.

We spent about 85 % of our time not in classes together.

This summer I moved back home and I began preparing for my own mission.

We received our calls pretty much at the same time and we still remained in almost constant contact through it all.

I know he's serving The Lord, and that I will be soon.

I'm not too worried about marriage, but I've got to know if there's some chance we might end up together.

I'd love for that to happen.

I've tried asking what he thinks and he's said things like "look forward to what will be" but he just won't tell me any straight answers.

So, my question is:  does it sound like there's a chance?

And how do I keep that going while remaining completely appropriate in my letters and not allowing him to distract myself, or becoming a distraction to him?

You're awesome!

Sincerely.

- Called to Serve and a Bit Confused




Dear Called,

The answer is: you DON'T keep it going.

Focus on your mission and let him focus on his.

That's it.

Whether or not there's a chance you two could end up married is a topic that no one should worry about until you come home.

- Bro Jo

Monday, December 15, 2014

Three Quick Questions

Dear Bro Jo,

I really need help with a few things (actually 3 things) but I don't want to ask my mum.

First before I start, I think I should tell you I'm a fifteen year old girl who lives in Australia (I thought I should say that to explain the different spelling) and I'm LDS.

Ok, here's what I need help with:

Firstly, I like a non-member boy who is the same age as me and he's been in the same form class as me for the past 2 years and is again.
He seems to like me but I don't really know (I know that I shouldn't date until I'm sixteen and I don't really want to date right now).
He seems really sweet and nice but he's a non-member and he has very foul language. I would like to get to know him (yes Know that you say boys and girls can't just be friends) before I turn sixteen, just in case I do want to date. I really care about him but I don't know if he would.
 How can I get to know him?
(By the way there isn't a Tri-Stake dance until April, so I can't get him to go to a Church dance with me)

Secondly, a new school year started recently and there is a new boy who's in my class.
He knows some people at my school and one of those people just happens to be my best friend (a non-member), that wouldn't be a problem if they both like each other and my best friend asked him out (he was going to ask her out but he got really nervous and didn't but my best friend doesn't know that).
I'm afraid that my best friend will be upset if they stop going out which I think might in a few weeks and they've only been going out two days.
She's thirteen and he's fourteen which is a bit too young to be dating as boyfriend and girlfriend.
The thing is how can I tell my best friend that they're too young?

The Last thing hasn't got to with love or dating.
I feel left out in Sunday School and Young Women’s because I'm the only (and I'm not trying be to racist) white girl in my Ward.
Can you tell me how I can try to fit in? 


- From a Little Aussie Sister




Dear LAS,

(That's "Little Aussie Sister", get it?)

Okay . . .

First, I don't say that guys and girls shouldn't be friends, I say that guys can't STAY "just close friends" with a girl and that guys don't become close friends with girls they don't find attractive.
Getting to know a guy better before you date him can be a really good idea, especially as a teen. You'll get to know him better by being nice and asking him sincere questions about himself, just like you would if you were dancing (there's a suggested list of questions in "Bro Jo's Guide to Casual Group Dating" ).
As for the foul language, there's nothing wrong with asking him to tone it down when he's speaking to you. Just be sincere, sweet (maybe even bat your eyes a little) and don't do it in front of his friends.

Secondly, you can't lecture your friend unless she asks your opinion.
Friends almost always chose romantic possibilities over their friends, if you lecture her she may see it as an attack, pick him over you, and then you'll not be able to help at all.
What you can do is, in subtle but not condescending ways, casually mention how and why you're choosing to wait until you're older.

Third, you're going to have to become color blind.
We're all God's children.
Even you.
And learn from these feelings.
Your experience is opening your eyes to what it must be like for others.
Make friends by being a good friend. 
Understand that there may be cultural differences that you can't necessarily relate to or overcome, but do your best to be understanding.
We all need the Gospel, and we all need each other.
Try selecting one or two particularly nice young women in your ward and get to know them better.
Kindness knows no color.


Usually the first part of the bridge needs to be built by those that want to cross it.

Cheers,

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dealing with Unwelcome Touching

Dear Bro. Jo,

In my English class there's this kid, we'll call him Chow Mien (just for fun), well this kid isn't LDS and he is a moocher, he sits in class and texts the whole time, and then takes your answers.

Well now to the awkward part.

Today in English we were doing a spelling bee (I'm in 11th grade so it seemed silly and pointless, which it was) and so I intentionally messed up on a super simple word, and I sat down on a table (not in a chair on the table, and crossed my legs) well he rubs my arm from my wrist to my shoulder, up and down and I shy away awkwardly, but he doesn't stop there, (this whole time we're talking too) well after that I get up to go talk to some friends, and he follows me!

Well I'm talking to my friends, and he goes to my back and starts texting with his hands placed on my back!

This was super awkward for me and he said "don't move" so each time I moved even a little is got more awkward.

THEN I go sit back down, he starts playing with my shoes!

That were on my feet!

And he asks me all these weird questions about my shoes (and I am semi-self-conscious about my feet because I wear a size 11 in women's.)

So I'm still sitting there awkwardly when he starts to tickle my knee!!!

I had no idea what to do and I kind of froze up until he said 'doesn't this tickle?'

And I was like no.

But the rest of the class just got more awkward!

I have him in 2 of my classes and I am afraid that it will go super awkward and I will have to turn him down hard.

I don't know what to do, I'm not looking for a relationship, and I don't really see him as a potential "partner" for dating and such things, because he doesn't meet my standards, and he makes me feel really awkward.

Please help me ASAP (I have another class with him Monday)

Sincerely,

- Weirded Out




Dear Weirded Out,

Unwelcome physical contact is a form of assault.

You have a responsibility to tell him clearly (and preferably with one of your friends as a witness) to stop.

If you don't, he may think you welcome the attention.

(Hormones often override what little intelligence a guy may have.)

You can do it in a nice way, but you'll need to be clear.

Try: "I don't mean to embarrass you, but I don't like it when you touch me. My back, my legs, my arm, my shoes . . . any part of me or my clothing. I don't like it. Don't do it. I'm asking you politely to stop. And I've asked (name of friend who is with you) to be here when I tell you so that she can verify what I've said to you".

When and if he apologizes, simply say "thank you".

And walk away.

In your diary or some other place, make sure you note the date, time, what you said and who your witness is, just to be safe.  (You should be noting when he touched you and what he did, as well.)

And, I don't think you should wait until Monday.

Waiting will just have it sit on your mind all weekend, plus this could get a lot worse by then.

Oh, and if you think that ignoring it will make it all better . . . well, it won't.

Now, the father in me that often writes these things as if I was giving advice to my own daughter would like you to add the phrase "because if you touch me again without my permission I'm going to take this size 11 shoe and shove it through your nasal cavity while my foot's still in it". . . but you probably shouldn't say that.

Yet.

Let me know how the conversation goes.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I told my parents, and they say that its normal and that I shouldn't be weirded out, and that kind of worries me only because my parents are usually super protective.

I will tell him asap about how I don't appreciate it.

Thanks so much!

-Weirded Out




Dear Weirded Out,

Maybe your parents think you need to do a little more flirting in your life . . . I'm certainly not someone who sees problems with flirting, but this is beyond that, and I stand behind my earlier statement that you need to take a stand.  In fact, I think lots of young people should be speaking up and allowing themselves to be pawed less.

Teenage hormones are what they are, but self-control and respect for self and others should not be pushed aside because people think "that's normal".

- Bro Jo