We’ve all been there. We see someone, whether in the library, in class or just on the route to school, and we do a double take. This person is intriguing, beautiful and somehow we end up seeing them more often than not. They become someone so close to being a reality in our lives, but they’re so far out of reach that they don’t even know our names. This is our unicorn.
A unicorn is someone beautiful, practically magical, but not yet ‘real’ in our lives. The task to make a unicorn realize not only our existence but also our potential can be daunting. Persistence, a good attitude, and unwavering dedication can turn a unicorn into a reality – a friend and potentially even more.  
The first step is the hardest and the most important: make your presence known. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, blonde or brunette, your unicorn has to know who you are. This can be done by small and simple or even more extreme acts.
“I saw a boy in the library and automatically knew I wanted to get to know him,” said Madeline Ballard a sophomore majoring in finance. “I walked past him and saw he and I were taking the same accounting class so I looked on Learning Suite and found every boy in the class and then searched on the BYU directory until I found him. I then looked at the assigned seating and sat by him in the next class. We became best friends and still are three years later.”
Not all moves have to be as dramatic as Ballard’s, but take action to get acquainted. Get the courage to sit by them when they’re sitting alone or asking them a question casually, they have to be familiar with who you are.  
Step two is to fake it until you make it. After the initial introduction, make your unicorn not only remember who you are but know who you are. Consistency is key. Be confident by regularly saying hi and starting a conversation, even if it’s short.
“Always acknowledge them, even if you feel nervous or awkward,” said Max Drollinger, a junior majoring in psychology. “Be confident and make them realize how awesome you are by that confidence in starting conversation.”
The final step is to be bold but chill. By this point you and your unicorn should be familiar somewhat. Without being overbearing, casually invite your unicorn to something fun with a group of people. It should be an activity they want to come to, and invite your unicorn to bring their friends.
 “I wanted to break the ‘only friends on campus’ barrier so I organized a bonfire night with friends and invited him to come,” said Alexis Nilson, a senior studying illustration.
 “I figured if he got to know me more than just at school maybe he’d ask me out, and he did.”
No matter how beautiful, talented, smart or funny unicorns may be, they’re still just people who want to be treated well, have fun and be happy. Once you realize you may have put your unicorn on a pedestal the easier it is to recognize that they’re just as human as you and your quest to know them better can more easily become a reality.

Heartthrob or Homewrecker? Controversy Surrounds BYU’s Most Eligible Bachelor

PROVO, UT- An unusual campus hero has got hearts fluttering. This year, TWO Magazine’s Most Eligible Bachelor award goes to a dark horse candidate: Harold, the BYU Library.

“I basically spend all my time with him,” says Lupita Martinez, a Sophomore studying Humanities, “He’s just so comfortable to be around.” Other students agree, adding that they are attracted to Harold’s intelligence and eagerness to help. “I love smart guys,” says Jillian Forsythe, a Junior majoring in Industrial Design. “Harold has always been there to help me out when I have research questions. It’s kind of amazing how much he knows.”

Harold has also won hearts via his charming social media channels, checking into Twitter (@hbll) multiple times a day to engage in witty banter with students and other libraries.


Like all truly irresistible bachelors, Harold has his critics. “I kind of hold a grudge against him,” says Chemical Engineering senior Daniel Patton, hesitantly. “Last semester I was dating a girl, and it was going really well. All of a sudden Finals Week hit and I couldn’t get ahold of her. Turns out she was spending all these late nights with the library. I never really got over it, you know?” Several jilted boyfriends and husbands have confessed similar frustration, noting that for some inexplicable reason their significant others prefer spending time with Harold to watching sports highlights on ESPN.

When contacted, Patton’s lost love Melinda Beckstrand was eager to discuss her new beau. “My relationship with the library is really fulfilling,” she gushed, “Harold actually thinks it’s fun when I come over to his place wearing sweatpants and study all night without interacting.”

Whether you see him as a heartthrob or homewrecker, it can’t be denied that Harold the library is a powerful personality on BYU campus. TWO Magazine offers a warm congratulations to Harold, 2015’s Most Eligible Bachelor!

Stop hanging out and go on a date

Interactions with the opposite sex at BYU tend to fall under three stages before a committed relationship is established.

Hanging out

Casually gathering in a group for an unplanned activity. Members of the opposite sex have no commitment to one another (i.e. are not paired off and do not have an obligation to leave with a specific member of the group).

Reciprocal affection (aka “Do you want to share a blanket”): This is the informal stage where one member of a potential couple tests how interested the other person is. A common way to do this is to ask if someone wants to share a blanket while watching a movie. If the other person accepts, then the touch barrier is broken and you can assume there is at least a basic level of romantic interest.

Dates

A paired off and planned activity where the couple is either alone, or together in a group of other couples. In this scenario there is a temporary (for the duration of the date) commitment to each other.

Hanging out is the most common type of social interaction at BYU. According to a 2002 research survey by Bruce Chadwick, 28 percent of men and 23 percent of women hang out in a group at least six times a week. Elder Dallin H. Oaks addressed this practice and the “demise of dating” in his May 2005 CES fireside.

“Knowledgeable observers report that dating has nearly disappeared from college campuses and among young adults generally,” Elder Oaks said. “It has been replaced by something called ‘hanging out.’”

Elder Oaks referenced four opportunities young single adults miss out on when they shun frequent, casual dating in favor of hanging out:

The ability to “‘shop around’ in a way that allows extensive evaluation of (one’s) prospects.”

More opportunities for conversation

The chance “to see how you treat others and how you are treated in a one-on-one situation.”

More “opportunities to learn how to initiate and sustain a mature relationship.”

After his fireside, it became apparent that young single adults need to reevaluate how they approach their social interactions with the opposite sex and break down obstacles that may be hindering the dating experience.

“I think we know in the back of our heads that we need to be dating instead of hanging out because that’s what our leaders (like Elder Oaks) tell us to do,” said Mitchell Boberg, a sophomore studying psychology.

One perceived obstacle to dating that young adults need to overcome is the assumption that a date implies significant commitment.

Date means commitment?

“As soon as you put the label ‘date’ on it, it becomes an eternal companion interview,” said Wes Curtin, a junior studying computer science.

Many young adults choose to hang out instead of going on dates to avoid this appearance of serious interest.

“I know people who are afraid to call a date a date (even though it is) because they’re not sure about someone and they don’t want it to seem like it’s moving towards a relationship if they don’t know,” said Austin Anderson, a junior studying supply chain management. 

Elder Oaks encouraged young adults to avoid this obstacle by not reading too much into a date in the first place.

“If we are to persuade young men to ask for dates more frequently, we must establish a mutual expectation that to go on a date is not to imply a continuing commitment,” Elder Oaks said.

Another obstacle to dating in today’s culture is the practice of hanging out with someone too much and not transitioning into casual dates.

Too much just hanging out

You’re together all the time, you text constantly and one of the best parts of your day is being with that one “friend.” But the thought of dating and having it end badly (and therefore losing your original friendship) keeps you from progressing out of hanging out.

Elliott Miller, a senior studying economics, said he understands being afraid to take the relationship to the next level because you might lose a friend or hurt someone’s feelings. However, it’s important to consider the big picture before you rule out the risk, he said.

“If you try it and do lose them as a friend, you probably weren’t going to be best friends for the rest of your life anyway,” Miller said. “It’s worth the risk (to try now).”

In the end, neither of you will know if it can work unless you try. Leaving the hang out zone is a risk, but so is staying where you are and looking back with regret when your friend walks away.

An additional obstacle to dating at BYU is the assumption that a date needs to be a formal, lavish affair.

Dates should
be simple

One of the allures of hanging out is the informal, low-pressure atmosphere it fosters. But what BYU students don’t realize is that dates can (and should) have this atmosphere too.

You don’t need to ask a girl on a date with flowers, you don’t need to spend lots of money (or any at all) and you don’t need to act like a different person just because you’re on a date. All you have to do is follow the three ps:

“A ‘date’ must pass the test of the three ps: (1) planned ahead, (2) paid for and (3) paired off,” Elder Oaks said.

Those are simple guidelines to help you create a good time for you and your date. They aren’t there to constrict you or make you follow a rigid pattern; instead they aim to help you have the optimal experience for getting to know someone.

“Just make it light,” Boberg said. “If you’re laughing, being social and having fun, it won’t feel awkward or serious.”

Hanging out has its place

Hanging out can be a great way to meet people and enjoy your friends’ company; it is not inherently bad. When mixed with dates, hanging out can help you develop healthy social relationships.

“I don’t think it makes sense to feel like you can only go on dates or only hang out,” Curtin said. “Why not increase the dates and the hanging out and just be social?”

Hanging out only becomes a problem when it begins to replace regular, casual dates that allow you to get to know someone. 

“My single young friends, we counsel you to channel your associations with the opposite sex into dating patterns that have the potential to mature into marriage, not hanging-out patterns that only have the prospect to mature into team sports like touch football,” Elder Oaks said.

Develop those healthy patterns now. By doing so you’ll avoid falling into the hang out-only trap that can keep you from achieving your potential in relationships.ww

Move On

Breakups are a messy business. From the discarded chocolate wrappers under your bed to the emotional carnage, the end of a meaningful relationship can turn your life upside down.

His song comes on the radio and suddenly you’re back at his apartment, slow dancing in the kitchen. His favorite sports team is on Monday Night Football and you find yourself watching it because you know somewhere he is too. It can feel like everything you do is tied back to your ex and you’re worried your constant thoughts about him are borderline obsessive.

You know you’re obsessed with your ex when you frequently …

Check your old Facebook message thread to see if he’s online

Make excuses to bump into him

Stalk the girls who like his social media posts

Read through his old texts

Walk/drive by his apartment

Refresh his Snapchat best friends

Listen to music that reminds you of him

Stop yourself from texting him

Life moves on, including your ex, but you find yourself stuck in the past. If you’ve realized you’re in a bad emotional state, don’t despair. Things will get better if you’re willing to take the time and have the self-control to finally move on.

Step 1: Grieve

Give yourself time to grieve. Coming to terms with the end of a relationship is difficult. It’s natural to feel sad about a breakup, no matter how long or serious it may have been.

“It’s natural to feel sad because you’re mourning a real loss,” said Macie Bayer, a senior studying sociology. “Whether or not you were talking about marriage, you were thinking about the future and you’re mourning a future that no longer exists.”

Utilize your coping mechanism for a little while, be it running, eating ice cream, watching romantic comedies or spending time with friends and family.

Take the time to process your emotions and don’t try to brush the hard and uncomfortable feelings under the table by moving on too quickly. Doing this won’t allow you to properly confront the hurt, thus you will never fully heal, Bayer said.

While sorting through your feelings, it can also be helpful to recognize you will not always feel like this.

“Acknowledge you are not your emotions: you’re not sad, you’re feeling sad,” Bayer said. “To say you’re sad invalidates all of your other feelings, especially the good ones. You’re feeling sad today, but (eventually) that will pass.”

Step 2: Get busy

While you do need to take time to sort through your feelings, you also don’t want to let yourself slip into a state of endless wallowing.

Whether it’s throwing yourself into schoolwork, joining a club or intramural team or learning a new skill, commit to something that will take your mind off of your ex. While you don’t want to overschedule yourself, it will be easier to move on if you have other people and activities to occupy your thoughts.

Freshman Mackenzie Wagner, a neuropsychology major, said getting busy helps you move on because it gives you less time to dwell on the past.

“When you’re busy you have less time to sit at home and think about him,” Wagner said.

Now that you’re unattached you have time to go do the things you might not have been able to while in a relationship. Change your look, go on a study abroad, apply for a new job or earn your black belt. The sooner you start filling your life with positive activities and habits, the sooner you will start to feel positive again.

Step 3: Recognize

It can be tempting to take the breakup personally. Don’t give into those thoughts, don’t Facebook stalk his new girlfriend and compare yourself and don’t read through your old texts and beat yourself up over what you should’ve said.

“If someone breaks up with you, don’t get too worked up about it and just remember things are going to work out,” said Nick Smith, a junior studying business. “Be optimistic and get back in the social circle and put yourself out there.”

As time passes, you will also slowly but surely be able to look back on your relationship and realize things weren’t perfect like you might have thought at the time.

“When you’re fresh after breakup, you feel really emotional,” said Justine Carre, a sophomore who is undecided on her major. “But after some time away from it, you can look back and see your mistakes and their mistakes more clearly.”

Recognize these mistakes, write them down and learn from them for your future relationships. People tend to either be blessings or lessons in your life. Your ex can be both if you use your experience with him to grow and prepare for your next better, healthier relationship.

Step 4: Accept

Just because you and your ex didn’t work out doesn’t mean things won’t work out with someone else later on. Dean Busby, the director of the School of Family Life, said breakups are a natural and necessary part of the dating process.

“Dating is supposed to be a challenging process with failures and difficulties because you’re getting to the one person you’re eventually going to marry,” Busby said.

Once you understand that the end of this relationship, while painful, is an important step on the road to your eternal companion, it will be easier to accept the breakup.

Stay strong and know you are going to be fine. Have faith in yourself and in Heavenly Father’s plan for you. By going through the healing process, you are moving your ex out of your heart and making room for someone new. If you never let go of the past you will never be open to the future. You deserve the joy that’s coming, you just have to let go and move on so it can.

It’s important to remember these steps are not all-inclusive and may not fit the exact pattern of your personal healing process. You also may experience the steps in a different order or multiple times; many people heal in a cyclical way.

For example, you may have a really great day or week or month and then something may happen that leaves you feeling sad again.

That’s OK.

Returning to those feelings doesn’t make you weak, nor does it mean you’ve lost progress in getting over him.

“You might think you’re over someone then something hits you and you’re sad,” Bayer said. “You don’t have to grieve all over again but you can acknowledge you’re sad and that that’s okay.”

When those rough days come, don’t cave. Don’t call him, don’t text him and don’t go over to his house and beg him to try again. Call a friend to come over then turn off your phone. Re-read the lessons you wrote down in step three. TWO maintains a Heartbreak Therapy Pinterest board with relevant quotes. Visit two.byu.edu for the link.

By Miranda Facer

TRUST: Avoiding The Top 10 Ways To Break It

Top Ten Trust Breakers

1 Exclusion: Excluding your love interest is a sure-fire way to break some of that trust. Whether you’re telling private jokes around them without explaining them or not inviting them to movie night at your apartment, your love interest will feel like you don’t want them in your life.

2 Secrets: Being secretive is not advised. It may annoy you that your love interest wants to read your text messages (that might seem like they don’t trust you), but when you lock your phone and won’t share the password, it looks like there’s something you’re trying to hide.

3 Jealousy: Most people are going to get a little jealous if their love interest spends their free time with somebody else — especially someone of the opposite sex. Acting jealous might lead your love interest to think you don’t trust them, and you’ve got to give trust to receive it.

4 Stalking: Keeping tabs on your love interest by following them around campus, or sending friends out to spy on them will go south when they find out what you’re doing. Like jealousy, this displays lack of trust on your part.

5 Not sharing your feelings: You don’t have to wear your heart on your sleeve, but just like you, your love interest needs to feel needed. If you aren’t willing to share the way you feel, you aren’t displaying much trust in your love interest. Your love interest’s feelings are his or hers to share, not yours. It takes trust to share the way you’re feeling. Don’t violate that trust by sharing with others what you’re told in confidence.

6 Lying

…duh.

7 Not doing what you say you’re going to do: Integrity is trust’s middle name. Do what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it. Otherwise you’ll lose credibility, and trust crumbles soon after.

8 Cheating: This one should seem pretty obvious, but cheating is more than just hooking up with someone other than your love interest. Remember: “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath (cheated) with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) Words to live by.

9 Hostility: Trust is about feeling safe with someone else. Abuse of any kind is never OK.

10 Having low trust: This has already been mentioned, but trust is a give-and-take process. Give your love interest the benefit of the doubt. Listen when they have an explanation for an offense. Treating their behavior as suspect doesn’t instill trust.

Earning trust back

Professor of family life Rick Miller said, “The way to build trust in a relationship is by both partners being trustworthy. … With this pattern of consistent honesty, integrity and dependability, partners develop a trust for each other. They don’t expect each other to be perfect, but they learn that their partner is dependable and worthy of their trust.”

Professor of family life Jeffry Larson cautions not to merely grant trust to a person—they should earn it first.

“Trust is on a continuum:  zero to 10 — not black and white.  And, you may trust a person in one area (e.g. being true to me) but not trust them in another (e.g. staying to a budget like agreed).”

You may have noticed that you or your love interest have stubbed your respective toes from time to time with one or more trust trashers. Maybe your love interest’s trust in you is waning, and maybe you deserve it. Fortunately, there is a silver lining: you can get trust back.

Miller said that trust can be regained. If you violate your love interest’s trust, it’s your responsibility to earn it back, but you don’t have the right to demand it.  You’ve got to work for it, and that may take some time.

“Trust is developed by a consistent pattern of dependable, honest behavior,” Miller said. “Consequently, rebuilding trust requires the patience of both partners.”

Larson agrees. “A sincere apology starts the process, and a commitment to be trustworthy in the future.”

by Joseph Moxon

Your Best You

Are you stuck in a dating rut? Are you not sure what you’re looking for in a relationship? Are you uninterested in dating in general?

Before you can love someone else, you have to learn to love yourself. In turn, you can’t love yourself if you don’t know who you are. What are your passions? What makes you feel alive? What brings you joy?

Being single grants you the time and opportunities to explore your interests. You can go out and have experiences that will shape you as an individual. You can also personally cultivate the skills, traits, and habits you seek in a potential spouse.

Miranda Facer

What He Doesn’t Notice

Women go to so much more trouble and spend so much more time getting ready for the day than men do, and most men don’t even notice. Case in point: hair. When guys talk about what they’re most attracted to in women, they don’t say, “Oh my gosh! I just love it when their hair is really shiny!” But guys miss more than that! Here are some other things that men and women around campus identified as things guys just don’t notice:

I don’t ever notice whether or not my girlfriend is wearing that eyelash makeup stuff.

Andrew Manwaring, Seattle, Wash. (Yes, he was referring to mascara.) 

I have to admit: most recently, when my wife dyed her hair the exact same color as it already was, I didn’t notice. Sue me — she lasted a few hours before she finally burst, and told me she had colored it.

Scott Libutti, Provo 

They can’t always tell whether or not I’m wearing makeup. I had one guy tell me that I looked the same as I did on a normal day, even though we had just played ultimate Frisbee in the mud.

Lauren Ehlen, Los Angeles (Just to be clear, not all guys are that dense.) 

Guys don’t tend to notice when girls don’t like each other, or when there is tension between girls in the room.

Lauren Ehlen 

Boys don’t notice when we drive well, they only notice when we are bad.

Jenessa Cherry, Provo 

They also don’t notice when their apartments stink, and they bring us over anyway.

Jenessa Cherry 

And sometimes, they just don’t notice when we’re there.

Jenessa Cherry 

I don’t notice eyebrows, and if they are large, small, thin etc.

Jacob Shuss, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Guys don’t notice when a girl is interested in them.

Cassandra Freeman, Saint Charles, Mo.

Men don’t notice when women are trying to make moves or hit on them. For example, a girl tells a guy, ‘Hey you’re cute we should hang out sometime.’ Then five seconds of silence go by when the guy says, ‘Hey you’re adorable we should go out sometime.’ Like did you not notice I said the exact same thing? Psh, men.

Peyton Cram, Orem

Girls seem to always notice when other girls have split ends. Guys wouldn’t see a split end even if you tried to show them!

Justin Calvert, Parker, Colorado 

I don’t notice when there’s a chance to get out of the friend-zone.

Mckay Jones, Sandy 

Guys don’t notice how much work, thought and effort girls put into their appearance. That is, until they get married.

Aldina Rosdahl, Austin, Texas 

Guys don’t notice how much effort girls put in to look good for them.

Kelson Wheeler, Dayton, Ohio 

I don’t notice when girls have split ends in their hair.

Steve Clarke, American Fork

The Thoughtful Plan

There are four main questions to consider when choosing how to be thoughtful:

1. When is it appropriate?
2. Why are you doing it?
3. What would make them happy?
4. How are you going to carry it out?

 

As Marilyn Brodeur became absorbed in “The Soloist,” a movie about a homeless man who had a passion for playing the cello, tears slowly streamed down her face. Brodeur had played in symphonies most of her life, but three years ago her cello cracked down the back and she hadn’t played since.

“Grad school kept me really busy and I didn’t have time to get my cello fixed,” Brodeur said. “Playing the cello had always been a part of my life since I was in fourth grade. The movie caused a flood of memories to come back and made me a little emotional.”

Her husband noticed her damp cheek and knew why she was crying. A few days later, he went out and researched cello repairers and found a good company. He had her cello fixed for a surprise gift on her birthday. Brodeur was completely surprised and felt cared for; in turn, she cared for her husband more. She said it meant a lot to her because he paid attention and made her feel like her talents were important.

Everyone has different preferences on what they would appreciate most as an act of service, but almost everyone will appreciate any thoughtful action that shows they are understood and cared for. As shown in Brodeur’s situation, her husband knew to fix her cello because he paid attention to her and knew her talents.

When is it appropriate?

Depending on where you are in a relationship determines how extravagant your thoughtfulness should go.
For someone you are interested in and haven’t gone out with yet, just getting to know them and giving them your undivided attention is the first step, said Marty Erickson, a Marriage and Family therapist and BYU professor. You can also do nice little things for them like helping with homework.

After you have been on a few dates with someone and you notice there is mutual interest, (see page 28) being thoughtful to your crush may increase the chance of forming a relationship. Listening and being observant are the main keys to learning what the person would appreciate.

Erickson explained a few tips for someone of interest. “Talk to them about them, be cautious and don’t assume too much, be interested in them for who they are, and not who you want them to be.”

iStock_000019333456Medium

After talking to them and you realize they love tennis, take them on a date to play tennis. If you find out they love chocolate chip cookies, make some together. But offering things like foot massages when they don’t feel comfortable around you yet is probably not a good idea.

If there is mutual interest, find out if they appreciate creative dates, small gifts, hand written notes, hugs, etc. You will find these things out the more you talk and spend time together.

When in an exclusive relationship, many of the same concepts apply as when you weren’t dating yet. Really get to know the person and apply what you have noticed they enjoy.

A great time to do something for someone is when you recognize they are going through, or about to go through, something hard. Here are a few examples of people who experienced the thoughtful acts of their significant other during a difficult circumstance:

Why are you doing it?

There are many occasions to do something thoughtful for someone, but you really don’t need an actual reason to be nice. The main reason people do thoughtful things is because they care for the person they are doing it for and want them to be happy.

“The key to being thoughtful is to really be interested in the person,” Erickson said. “By being interested and digesting the information you learn, it is easy to be truly thoughtful.”

If you are doing it to make yourself look good or to make the other person do nice things for you, you may want to reconsider your priorities.

Now that you know you want to be thoughtful, how do you go about making your special someone feel cared for?

iStock_000023568608Large

What would make them happy?

After getting to know the person you’re interested in, it’s time to get creative. What are their favorite things? In the beginning of this article, Brodeur’s husband knew she missed her cello so he had it fixed for her. What could you do that would make your significant someone smile?

Service encompasses almost all acts of thoughtfulness. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines services as a contribution to the welfare of others.

Service is a way many are emotionally touched; here are a few real examples:

[quote align=”center” color=”#0E742E”]“When Eric and I first started going on dates, I had to go study for a big test and couldn’t hang out with him. I told him I had no idea how I was going to get everything done plus laundry (I didn’t have quarters). After spending hours in the library I came home to a bag of quarters and a gallon of my favorite chocolate milk. After that I really liked him.” (Meg and Eric are now married, so it worked for him!)
—Meg Mena, BYU-Idaho alumna[/quote]
[quote align=”center” color=”#0E742E”]“I had gone to my boyfriend’s house (who was just a friend at the time) to hang out one winter night, but we decided to leave to get food and then go to my house down the street. We ended up taking his car to get the food, so mine was left at his house. I didn’t bother getting my car that evening. So the next morning when I walked over to go get my car at his house I saw he had cleared all the snow off my windshield and windows. It was very sweet.”
—Kayla Abilez, BYU alumna[/quote]
There are many self-help books that give different suggestions about how to know what your significant other will most appreciate. One book that is widely used is The 5 Love Languages. Languages is written by Gary Champan, a marriage and family therapist, who noticed a reoccurring theme in his clients. Many of them received love in certain “languages” and not in others; he discovered many spouses had different primary languages that didn’t mean the same thing to their spouse. His theory is everyone has a primary love language of touch, gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation or quality time.

Consider taking the free love language test at www.5lovelanguages.com with your significant other to find out about their preferences then adapt the way you show love to them accordingly.

How are you going to carry it out?

Just go for it! Try to make sure your act of thoughtfulness will be something they will enjoy. If you are doing something extravagant, check with one of his/her friends to see if that is something they would appreciate. Also if you need help you might want to ask some of them to be in on it.

It is important to know you don’t have to do something outrageous to be thoughtful. Being helpful (doing the dishes, looking up the movie schedule, etc.), giving a hug or taking time to actively listen to the person you care about are all great ways to show your love.

Becoming Your Best Self

In Greek mythology, there is a story about
soul mates. Zeus feared how powerful humans would be so he split them in two, forcing them to roam the Earth until they found their “other half.” In the story of Cinderella, the Prince loved the glamorous version of Cinderella. She feared that he wouldn’t love the real her, even though she was the same kind person he met at the ball, but with uglier clothes. In Grease, Sandy and Danny both changed the way they acted and dressed to please each other, when in reality, they liked the person they met on the beach at the beginning of summer. Summer loving had them a blast. (Stuck in your head yet?)

Becoming the best person you can be is going to get you a lot further in life than “becoming the person you want to marry.” When you really examine yourself, your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, you are able to better understand yourself and then extend that understanding to others.
Girls, you are not a princess that needs to be rescued. Guys, you are not a punk that needs a woman to reform you. You are you.

Why is self-improvement important?
Self-improvement is not just a buzzword created to sell books. Self-improvement and reflection are a vital part of becoming happy and comfortable with yourself. When you work to improve yourself, you can have higher self-esteem.
Aimee Heffernan, a licensed marriage and family therapist, describes self-esteem as having a warm regard towards yourself. It’s not thinking you are perfect and great at everything. Rather it is being able to recognize your weaknesses but still believing you are a good person and are of worth. Sure, you may need to work on your gossiping problem (who doesn’t?) but that does not mean you are a bad person who deserves to be unhappy. But self-esteem does a lot more for us then just giving us good feelings.
“When you have self-esteem you make better choices,” Heffernan said. “In order for you to be happy, married or not married, you need to have self-esteem so that you make good choices no matter what. I see that on so many levels, every day, all the time.”
Without self-esteem, people often look outward to gain the recognition and worth they crave. This can often put them in danger of having dependent, abusive and generally unhealthy relationships, according to Kristin Hodson, a therapist specializing in sex and intimacy therapy at The Healing Group in Salt Lake City.
Another reason to work on self, echoed by many, is that when it comes to dating, you are the only person you can control. You cannot control other people’s thoughts, feelings or even who you meet.
Marty Erickson, a counselor in BYU’s Counseling and Psychological Services, said, “So much energy goes into being angry or frustrated about not being in a relationship. Put that energy into becoming a better person.”
Josh Weed, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, echoed that sentiment. “We can definitely fine tune ourselves and our own spirituality and our own sense of self,” he said, “so that when we do encounter that person that feels right and it feels comfortable and it’s working, we’re able to recognize it for what it is.
By becoming your true and best self, you put yourself in a better place to meet someone. And whether you get married or not, you will be happy and comfortable with yourself.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself
Popular culture often tells us that you need to change to get the girl or have a happily ever after but according to Weed, changing yourself just because you want to get married is not going to help you in the long run.
“When I see people that are trying to improve themselves in order to achieve a relationship or something having to do with interactions with others I find that self improvement work is less genuine and it’s not really them improving themselves,” Weed said. “It’s not them taking an assessment of their own personalities and traits and trying to improve those things. Instead it’s usually someone trying to fit a mold or somebody else’s expectations. That can work for a little while but it’s bound to crumble over time.”
People often say that they need to be worthy of the person they want to marry. But Erickson said, not only does that perfect person not exist; it’s going to be incredibly difficult to live up to that person.
Heffernan also explained that we undermine our personalities and ourselves when we act a certain way because we think we are supposed to as opposed to because we want to.
“If you fake it and you put on a facade, you’re doing yourself no favors at all because then you are married and you realize, this person doesn’t love the true me,” she said. “And it’s a really painful place to be. You have to show up 100% yourself, imperfections and all. You have to realize that your spouse will have imperfections too.”

Just do it
The best way to begin the process is to hold an honest inventory of yourself. What are my strengths and weaknesses? What makes me happy? What makes me uncomfortable? Am I surrounding myself with good people?
While this can be done on your own, it will be more productive with a little help. Of course, prayer is really important.
“Heavenly Father is amazing in that He helps you see your strengths while showing us our weaknesses so that you’re not discouraged but you’re able to want to improve and want to become your best self,” Weed said.
He also said that listening to feedback from those that you love and that love you will help you see strengths and weaknesses. Most people will see a pattern in the feedback and that’s what we need to embrace.

Ask the therapists; they can help you
If you don’t feel comfortable talking about it with friends and family, you can also see a counselor. Counseling is not just for people who are depressed or have a mental illness. Just like you go to a medical doctor just to check up on your physical health, you can go to a counselor to check up on your mental health. It can be very beneficial to anyone who genuinely wants to start this process. A counselor can help you with the process of self-discovery. Any full-time BYU student can receive free counseling services through the Counseling and Psychological Services office in the Wilkinson Center.

A few things to remember
No one is perfect. You have weaknesses and that’s ok. By accepting your weaknesses, you will become more comfortable accepting weakness in other people. On the flip side, when you see your worth, you are more likely to see worth in others. You will also be more comfortable accepting when you are wrong in a situation, instead of placing blame on the other person, according to Hodson.
There are parts you won’t be able to fix. Some things are just part of your personality. When you do a self-inventory, you will be able to find these areas. However, according to Weed, no matter the problem, you can always find “negotiation corners.” If you are sarcastic, your “negotiation corner” may be to not use sarcasm to belittle others.
It takes time. I once heard someone say he wanted to find a girl just like his mom because she is just perfect. He did not realize though that his mom had been working on becoming that way for 50 years. Neither you nor your partner is going to be and remain “perfect” when you turn 24. Weed said self-improvement is not something that should only be a priority while single but also while dating, engaged and married. It is a continual process as people and situations change and grow. And remember, things will change.
Expectations. All us girls have those lists we made at sleepovers of the traits we want in a husband. Throw those lists away. While we should have a basic set of values we want (kindness, spirituality, respect etc.) things like “well-dressed” or “intellectual” are not as important. We should be focused on values, not behaviors.
“The marriages that I see work are marriages that are people that are pleasantly surprised with who they ended up with,” Weed said.
Whitney Lawter, a BYU graduate living in Kansas City, Missouri remembers getting ready to start the next chapter in her life and meeting the right person.
“After thinking about it way too much, I decided to give up,” she said. “I actually wrote in my journal ‘I’m just going to focus on my goals, be the best Whitney I can be, and let the Lord take care of the rest.’”
Two weeks later, she met the man she eventually married. So while it probably won’t happen that fast for you, when you are working on yourself and trusting in the Lord, good things happen.

Should I Ask Them Out?

Asking someone out sounds great in theory, but can be difficult when the moment arrives.

Situation 1: You can’t tell if she is interested.
“I think girls need to show if they are interested in guys,” Brian Parkinson said. “Guys won’t likely ask girls out who show no emotion toward them.”
Ladies, it’s hard enough for the guys to work up the courage to ask you out – don’t make it more difficult by acting indifferent or detached around them. If you like the guy, show him.
Guys, one way to avoid this problem is to specify that you are taking the girl on an actual date. Girls often feel confused if the guy invites them to “hang out” or come along on a group activity; should they act like they came with you or should they just act like a friend?
It’s hard for girls to show emotion if they don’t know if the guy is interested, just like it’s hard for the guys to ask a girl out if they don’t know if she’ll say yes.

Solution: Act how you feel! If you like someone, show them. If you don’t like someone, tell them.

Situation 2: You want to get to know that cute guy or girl you see around campus but don’t know how to introduce yourself.
The key here is to make sure you come across as friendly, not creepy. If it seems like the other person notices you too, introduce yourself the next time you see them and invite them to get a Jamba Juice or study together sometime. If your first real interaction goes well, proceed with asking them on a real date.
However, if the other person avoids eye contact, seems to be in a hurry, is with another person or looks worried when you approach, abort the mission.

Solution: Introduce yourself, but respect the other person and read their body language. If they seem uninterested, gracefully end the conversation and move on.

Situation 3: You don’t know which method to use to ask someone on a date.

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The unanimous response to an informal survey of BYU females found they prefer to be asked on a date in person.
“Every girl wants a guy who makes them feel wanted,” Jessica Alessi said. She went on to explain that when guys ask girls out in person it makes them feel appreciated and special.
If you need pointers on what to say, see situation four.
If you’re uncomfortable asking someone out in person, the next best option is over the phone. By calling. NOT TEXTING.
Facebook, Gchat, Twitter, etc. are not preferable outlets for asking someone out. It takes courage to ask someone out using your own voice, but it’s always better to hear from you than the impassive silence of technology.

Solution: Ask someone out in person if you can, and if you can’t call them on the phone.

Situation 4: You’re asking someone out in person but don’t know what to say.
When you ask someone out face-to-face, don’t feel like you have to go up and ask him or her on the date then walk away. There are ways to bring up going out without making it awkward or putting either of you on the spot too much.

Solutions:
Ways to ask them out:
A. Find a way to do something alone after a group activity:
“Do you want to grab a milkshake after the football game on Saturday?”
B. Follow his or her lead:
“Oh you like MGMT too? We should go to the Twilight Concert Series next week!”
C. Invite him or her to a school event:
“Hey I’ve got this extra credit lecture I have to go to but I don’t know anybody who will be there – do you want to come with me?”
D. Look for interesting activities:
“Did you see the poster for the Dating Game activity this week? We should go!”

Situation 5: You are under the impression that asking someone out needs to be an extravagant spectacle.
No. This is not prom; this is real life. Please do not feel like you need to make a big deal out of asking someone on a date.
All this will do is put pressure on both of you, which will make it difficult to really get to know your date.
When you ask him or her on the date, don’t try to be someone you’re not. Don’t think you need to buy dozens of flowers, ask them to a super expensive restaurant or write their name in glitter on the front porch.
You want the person you ask on the date to say “yes” because they like you, not because they feel like they have to go because you asked them in such an elaborate way.

Solution: Show the person you are asking out that you are interested, but don’t make them uncomfortable when you go about the asking.

Situation 6: You believe girls can’t ask guys out.
Ladies, most guys we surveyed said they love it when girls ask them out. Sometimes they don’t know if you are interested, but when you ask them out they know.
“I asked a guy on a date a while back and it was really fun and I would do it again, but I’d plan better,” Brittany Hiatt said.
Some guys may not like it if you ask them out, but you won’t know until you try. At the worst they say no, at the best you have a wonderful time together because you took a chance.

Solution: Go for it!