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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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Should She Choose the Mission or the Boyfriend?

Dear Bro Jo,

I just want to say I love your blog and Facebook page!

So I would like some advice about things.

First about a mission.

When it was first announced about the age change I didn't think much of it and when people would ask me if I was planning on going on a mission I told them no. My reason was because at that time I was going to (location withheld) to teach English to children.

I am currently here (I have been for a few months) and while here for a while I seriously started thinking about going on a mission.

I don't know when exactly or why exactly it came on, maybe because I have a lot of friends that are on missions and going on missions, but one day while working on lesson plans for my classes I had the thought that maybe I should go on a mission.

I thought a lot about it, talked with a few close friends and my sister and mom about it. They all thought I would be a great missionary and were supportive but I was still unsure.

Well, I thought that I had come to a decision that I would go to school for another semester then go on a mission but then while I was on vacation at the beginning of November I was unsure. Let me explain why.

There is this guy let’s call him E.

Well E and I went on a few dates before I left. He is a great guy, RM, worthy priesthood holder, funny and smart and sweet. He is really into me but before I came here I wasn't sure how I felt about him. I mean, I thought he was a great guy and all but I didn't know how much I liked him.

Well while here E and I have been talking a lot and we have Skyped a number of times too. He asked me at one point to be his GF but I decided not to because I don't want to do long distance right now.

He is supportive of my decision if I go on a mission but he did admit that part of him doesn't want me to go because he wants to see where things would go with me and him.

Well, I am not sure if I like him or not now. I don't know if I like him and want to date him or if I just miss having someone give me that attention seeing as while I am here I haven't dated at all.


There is also this other guy.

We will call him H.

I really like him.

We met during this last summer at country swing dancing. We connected on like everything. The only problem, he was going on a mission.

Correction, he is now on his mission.

I am fully supportive of him and we do email as a missionary and a friend email so don't worry I am not distracting him.

We did talk before he left about possible being together after his mission. We both felt that it could work.

Back to the mission stuff.

E has been kinda wanting me to decide and I have been thinking about it and praying about it but I feel like I haven't really received an answer as to if I should say yes or no.

He hasn't been pressuring me to have an answer too much but I do know he wants me to have an answer. I just want to make sure if I go on a mission it is for the right reasons.

When I first had the desire I thought it would be so amazing to be able to teach people the gospel. I love teaching kids English. The thing is, I am afraid of leaving.

While here I have missed my family so much and I have been able to Skype them and email them and FB message them a lot.

If I went on a mission I would only be able to message them once a week and Skype them twice a year, if that.

I also know that if I went on a mission I would be home probably around the same time as H gets home from his mission.

I want to be sure that I am going for the right reasons and not to avoid anything.

I don't think those are my reasons but I keep going back and forth about the mission idea.

So my questions are:

What is your advice about all of this?

About the mission and about E and H.

If you have any questions or need anything feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer.

- Unsure




Dear Unsure,

Sometimes when we're not certain which path to follow the best decision to make is the one to wait.

You don't mention how much longer you'll be teaching, but perhaps before making a choice you should finish your time there, go home, date your Skype pal a few times and then see how you feel.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I only have about a week before I will be going home.

- Unsure




Dear Unsure

Then I think you're definitely in "wait and see" mode.

- Bro Jo

Monday, January 26, 2015

Transitioning to YSA

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro Jo!

First, I must say that I really love reading your page and have learned a lot from the advice you post.

So, I'm in a situation that is probably similar to many other people my age right now; I'm a senior girl in high school preparing to go off to college next year and fully immerse myself in the YSA social and dating scene.

However, the boys in my stake are not the best at getting group dates together, so I haven't really been on any.

I was wondering if you had any tips for transitioning more smoothly from high school group dating to the single dating that YSA should be doing, when I haven't really even done any group dating before?

Thanks a lot for your time and help!

-In Transition




Dear In Transition,

I ain't gonna lie: it's going to be a touch more difficult for you than those that dated a bit.


The first thing I'd like you to do, please, is read the riot act to your Stake and Ward Priesthood leaders.

It's their responsibility to teach these young men how to date and that each of you young women deserves a few chances to be taken out.

If you've been active, going to Church Dances, being friendly and fun, looking and doing your best, and if they were doing their job, then you should have had a few dates.


Secondly, teach the younger sisters that you're leaving behind what they could do better than you did.
Tell them to host movie parties and game nights, teach them the value of talking to the guys - In A Nice Way - and testify to them of the value of Casual Group Dating.

Tell them that their insistence on "having a boyfriend" is driving Good Guys away and limiting their dating opportunities.

You're not alone; too many great girls never get the dating experience in high school that they should.
We need a major culture shift, and I think it's going to take a long time.


Now, as for you: despite everything I wrote above, don't freak out.

Some of the most amazing women date little or not at all in high school, and they've turned out fine. 

Like anything in life, look back at your experiences and use them to improve on the next go.



Here's a Quick List:

Bro Jo's THINGS a GIRL CAN DO to GET MORE DATES as a YSA

1. Put yourself out there. Go to everything, pursue your interests, be involved. It doesn't matter really which clubs or activities you enjoy, but do stuff. Get involved. Meet people.

2. Show genuine interest in other people. Yes, of course, guys, but girls too; you never know when some girl is going to say "you're so nice, you should date my brother!" The key to that is to Listen to other people when you talk to them. Ask people about themselves and take an interest in what they have to say

3. Be domestic and girly. Don't change who you are, but understand that Guys (in general) like girls that are, well, girls. Especially Church Guys. If you don't know the tricks to Good Makeup, Clothing and Perfume, figure them out. Learn how to make one heck of a cake, cookie or brownie if you don't already, and be prepared to randomly give treats you make to guys that you want to have take you out. My apologies to the neo-nazi-woman-hating-"feminists" out there, but this stuff works.

4. Date every halfway decent guy that asks. You want to be known as the nice girl that is open to dating, not the snob that no one can get dates with.

5. Don't be a buddy. No guys over at your place, and you don't hang out at theirs. Heck, make it a habit not to "hang out" at all. Guys are for dating, not for hanging out with. And you need to know this: guys are lazy by nature. Even the hard-working ones. Guys are the ones that invented drive-throughs, fast food, and the TV remote. If he can have you delivered to his place to watch a video with him while his rear-end is still on the sofa, there's no need for him to ever invite you to go anywhere.

6. Do the best you can with what you've got. Always try to be the "best you" you can be. Pajamas, and that includes sweats, shouldn't be worn outside your home. Not even to the gym. Change into gym clothes while you're there, then shower do your hair and makeup and get dressed nice before you leave to go home. Too many of your sisters are blowing it because they have an attitude of "I don't care how I look" (What the heck is this think with the nasty "jeggings" and sloppy bun???); if you don't care how you look, then no one else will either. And that's bad. There's more, but you get the idea. Have fun!

7.  Don't make First Dates out to be a bigger deal than they are.  (Or second or third dates, either for that matter.)  Guys, especially RMs, often (and correctly so, I might add) take girls out as a way to get to know them better.  Yes, they probably like that girl on some level, but it doesn't mean that they're in love . . . so relax.  Let any relationship that might grow happen naturally . . . but don't expect that anything is going to grow at all.  If it does, great!  And if it doesn't, well . . .  hopefully you had a nice time, a fun time, and got to know someone a little better.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you!

I guess in our area it is harder to date because everyone in the stake lives so far apart, but you're right the guys should be asking more.

Actually, recently I had an experience that proves what you said about getting casual get-togethers planned.

I organized a group of friends, boys and girls, to go bowling together.

A couple weeks after we started planning it, I got asked on a date by one of the boys in the group!

Also, I totally plan on being involved next year, and I think it will really help.

Thanks again for your advice and I'll definitely work on implementing it more!

- Excited for the future




Dear Excited,

Good for you!

I'm glad to hear that the Activity Setup thing worked for you.

Keep it up!

And hopefully others will learn from your example.

- Bro Jo

Monday, January 19, 2015

Questions About Online Dating

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi,

What if you could not bring your boyfriend home to meet your parents what would you do?

What if a girl dated a boy that had been married before do you think this would be a good idea or not?

What if a girl meet a boy that has children would this be a good idea or not?

How much older should a boy be if the girl is age 25?

I'LL be waiting for your answers to my questions above.

From,

Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Can we be less cryptic,  please?

Why can't you take him home to meet your parents?

How old is he?

How old are you?

How long was he married? And how long ago was it?

How old are his children?

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I'm not dating anyone who has been married or has kids.

My Mom signed me up on a LDS dating site and there was a guy that has been married and has kids that is why I asked you what you thought about me dating someone who has been married and has kids.

I didn't ask for my Mom to sign me up for a dating site she did it and then told me I don't like when someone signs me up for a website then doesn't tell me ‘til after the fact.

What do you think is the right age of a guy I should be looking for I'm age 25?

- NW




Dear NW,

Ah. I see.

At 25 I think anyone from 23 to 35 is in your age range.

I don't think him having kids is a deal breaker, but it certainly can make things much more complicated.

I think when kids are in the picture that things need to go a little slower and be a little more casual than they might otherwise.

I frankly think that the first couple dates should be lunches that the kids don't know about.

Not that things should necessarily be kept secret, but premature emotional attachments should be protected against.

And don’t be too hard on your mom.

I agree that she shouldn't have signed you up behind your back, but I can understand her reasoning, especially if you're lacking in experience, training, and or motivation.

Happy dating!

- Bro Jo

PS:  Be VERY careful about who you agree to meet in person that you've met online.  Very rarely is someone exactly who they say they are.  Keep those initial meetings public; eliminate the "pick up" part of Plan, Pick Up and Pay until you've met a few times.