4th Ask Josh Inquiry: How to Get a Guy

In Uncategorized on July 23, 2008 at 7:30 pm
what can i do to improve my standing towards the opposite sex?


Dear [blank],

I assume you are a girl because no guy I know would ask me how to get a girl. And guys who know know that I am a guy who does not know. I can also assume that you have read a lot of Jane Austen novels because you may be like one of those girls who assumes that if a young man moves in, it must be for the purpose of marrying you.

I get this question about once a year. Usually during summertime when it seems that everyone is getting married except you.

Now, getting guys is in many ways like spraying weeds. There is no one solution for everything because there are so many dreaded types, I believe it goes without saying that when I say dreaded I mean both the number of types and the types themselves. But the correct mixture can often give you the desired results for the kind you are focusing on. But of course, there are no guaranteed results, my backyard can attest to that, and my frontyard too for that matter.

Before I get into the bulk of my musings, I very much hope not to make you question your worth. The way the world tells us to improve ourselves via shows like “America’s Next Top Model” and “The Swan” and “What Not to Wear” and “Fashion Police” and so on, and so on, we are made to think that despite our best efforts, even the best of us will never be “enough.”

Jeffrey R. Holland said it better in his address to the females of the Church, “Frankly, the world has been brutal with you in this regard” (“To Young Women,” Ensign, Nov 2005, 28).

I don’t speak for all men. But here are a few items that I have been looking for since I heard them. I have made these into something of a checklist that I try to live up to myself.

Elder Holland in the same talk cited earlier mentioned an anonymous author who said “the loveliest women she had known had a glow of health, a warm personality, a love of learning, stability of character, and integrity. If we may add the sweet and gentle Spirit of the Lord carried by such a woman, then this describes the loveliness of women in any age or time” (Ibid.).

Elder Russell M. Nelson gave this advice to an audience of BYU pre-med students. “Pick a good wife, one who loves the Lord and you second,” he said. “If she loves him first, she will have more capacity to love you” (qtd. in Daily Universe, Feb. 22, 2008. p. 1).

At the risk of sounding preachy, may I suggest that you not let your hunger for companionship now cause you to forget eternal principles. Remember who the first Man in your life is. And trust that He knows what He is doing if for some reason you feel that all this working and waiting just isn’t worth it. And it says that as you love Him first, as Elder Nelson pointed out, you will have more capacity to love others and therefore be more lovable.

Elder Earl C. Tingey said this, “Be willing to sit down with a trusted friend and ask this question: What would you recommend I do to improve my physical appearance? Listen to what he or she says. Do not be offended, but take to heart his or her counsel. If necessary, joyfully and happily improve yourself, whether it involves having a smile on your face, losing weight, or changing your hairstyle, grooming, clothing, mannerisms, personal hygiene, or anything else” (“The Simple Truths From Heaven–The Lord’s Pattern,” CES Fireside for Young Adults • January 13, 2008 • Brigham Young University).

Some Bible scholars will say that we live a gospel of misdirection, of counterintuition. We are told to put off our natural man tendencies. To find our lives we must lose it. We are told to love our enemies. When smitten, we are told to turn the other cheek. While I do not necessarily agree that we believe in the gospel of misdirection, I still find the idea interesting. May I suggest that an irrequisite amount of focus on “gettin’ a man” may actually cause the opposite to happen. If your all-encompassing obsession is getting men, you may very well end up attracting the men you probably were trying to avoid in the first place.

If your all-consuming desire is to attract men, you may find yourself doing the things that attract men you would be better off not associating with.

It also shows when anyone comes off as perhaps a little too eager for commitment. I am sure there may be a handful out in the world who just love the feeling that they are completely needed by their significant other or they’ll die, but for the rest of us, neediness is not attractive.

When we go months, perhaps years without going on any dates we naturally would assume that there is something wrong with us. This is a false notion, one of the hardest things for me to see when I attend a Singles’ branch is that there are far more great women than there are good guys, and most of those good guys are too shy to ask girls out on a date. When girls assume that all the good guys are out on dates with a girl every weekend, there may be a tendency to think “the body of men have deemed me ‘not good enough'” A terrible idea for anyone to have about themselves, and a false one at that. The truth is that many great women just go overlooked by no fault of their own. There just aren’t enough guys to go around. Many missionaries can attest that women are often more receptive to the message then men, they often have fewer vices to overcome. This trend has been almost universal throughout the Church.

In a political science survey I conducted in October 2007, I surveyed about 200 LDS singles, primarily those living in the Provo/Orem area. I found the results interesting, men went on 50% more dates than did women. I thought to myself, “This is impossible, something must be wrong.” No, the data wasn’t wrong. On average, for every two dates the average girl went on, the average guy went on three. Why? Think of it this way. If you lived in a population that was %60 women and 40% men (and the BYU student body really isn’t that far off from that), or reduce it to a population of 5 people: 2 guys and 3 girls. Even if every guy took out one girl on a given night, one third of the female population would still be sitting home alone. One third of all girls would not be going on dates even if all men had mustered up the courage and the funds to go out that night.

I know, that isn’t so encouraging. You may be thinking, “Gee thanks for the data, Josh. But the numbers don’t put a ring on my finger.” That’s true, but I hope that at least helps you realize that it’s not like you have a problem or something. There are only so many guys to go around, and they almost always manage to marry someone out of their league because there are simply more potential mates to choose from. The ease by which many men have found ways to “marry up” as it were, has perhaps lead to the steady decline of the quality of men you see around you. Too often men realize that they can get a girl without having to improve themselves much.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, then member of the presidency of the Seventy expressed my concern in his own way. He said, “Over the years, I have visited members of the Church in many countries, and despite differences in circumstances and cultures, everywhere I have been impressed with the faith and capacity of our women, including some of the very young. So many of them possess a remarkable faith and goodness. They know the scriptures. They are poised and confident. I ask myself, Do we have men to match these women? Are our young men developing into worthy companions that such women can look up to and respect?”(“Let Us Be Men,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 46–48).

I share a similar sentiment. Women, on the whole, have far surpassed, as if they were ever behind in the first place, men on this planet.

Perhaps rather than focusing on all your weaknesses, which we all have and of which we are all so painfully aware, keep improving what you are already doing right. So often when we receive suggestions we may think to ourselves, “How about something I don’t know for a change?” It’s an attitude all too common among Church members after Conference. Well, quit looking for new bad things about yourself and keep improving what you have already been just starting to do well. Don’t settle for just better health, go for optimum health. Don’t just be a passing student, be a great student. Why be happy with musical adequacy when you can strive for musical expertise, and that goes for whatever talents you are simply “okay” at. I carefully say don’t be content to look better, look your best.

In all cases, seek to raise the bar for yourself always. When the Church raised the bar for prospective missionaries, the message was directed primarily to the young men. But the same principle applies to everyone. Times are changing, and we have to compete with a world that is looking for ways to pay you less and less for your current worth. Our choices, then, are to stay where we are and blame the world for not accepting us the way we are, or we can choose to constantly improve and appreciate in value. This applies to everyone because we all can improve something, so there is always something to do.

With all this, I cannot promise you’ll find a dream guy and you will say, “Gee, I’m sure glad that I listened to Josh.” But dating or not, married or not, at least you’ll be someone that you can live with.

  1. Brother Guest,This is possibly the best written explanation a single young adult could give to another. I very much like and appreciate your desire to pursue an education in medicine, but I belive our lord and savior has blessed your particular spirit with the gift of writing. “Do what you love and someone you can love will love what you do.”

  2. With the principle of misdirection, are we supposed to turn the other cheek (hehe) to guys, and just ignore them? for it seems that this tends to work. but what if we aren’t that kind of person? what if we are enthusiastic in most aspects of our lives, especially socially? are we supposed to change our character for just the chance to attract a guy? somehow that doesn’t seem honest. what is your advice?

  3. As I said in the article itself, I don’t necessarily believe in that principle, but it poses an interesting point.I am not saying that trying to repel men will get them to come to you, but I certainly know that showing too much interest will certainly repel them.You need not go on a manhunt as it were, but living the best life you can, remaining enthusiastic and sociable as you said, seems to be more conducive to letting romance occur naturally.The main point is, love doesn’t come by force. It just sort of happens. That may be the root of the frustration because you may feel like it is out of your hands. As I said earlier, just keep doing what you know to be the best and you will find yourself attracting both males and females who will desire your company.

  4. don’t really want to attract females. hahahaha! i know what you meant. lol. 🙂

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