Although the tongue weighs very little, very few people are able to hold it. -Anonymous
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I have a sister missionary coming home soon. We were in the same freshman ward, and were in the same social circle then. I went on a mission and we casually wrote back and forth, maybe a letter every 5-7 months back and forth (mail didn't take very long to get back and forth...). I came home and became better friends with her and she graduated from BYU. That following summer we started "fake" dating... hanging out a lot, both liking each other a lot, never kissed (yeah, I'm wuss, but I wasn't in a position then to be in any sort of "official" relationship back then)... then she got a mission call and I considered trying to get her to stay, but didn't feel good about doing that. We have written pretty consistently since she has been gone (a letter every 2-3 months... I consider that to be consistent based on her locale and the length of time it takes for letters to go back and forth... plus she's a missionary and it's not like missionaries can write everyone they get a letter from that week every week). Anyway, she's coming home soon, and I am stoked, and not going to lie I am trying not to get my hopes up that things will pick up where they were left, but it's hard to do. Our letters have been cute & fun back and forth, but no mention of our relationship other than "Love, Sister..." "I miss you soooooooo much!" things like that...

So my question is, how long do you think I should have to wait for her to be home before I can take her out on a date? She gets home on a Thursday or a Friday... and I think that weekend might be a little soon... but maybe the next one?

Sorry that was long, and if it was confusing, please accept my apologies... would love if more than writer through in their input, but whatever you answer(s) you can provide will be great!

-32 Days, 21 hours 33 minutes, 47 seconds.... not that I'm counting or anything...

P.S. If this question had a theme song it would be "Falling For You" by Ronnie Day... look it up.

A:

Dear oddly specific countdown guy,

The timetable of asking out RM sisters is something I have recently been discussing at length with others and I'll share with you what I have been told. Regardless of what day of the week she gets home I'd say the first weekend back is too soon. You remember how big of a shock coming home is and the mixed bag of emotions you have for the first few days (along with relearning how to interact with others when you aren't a missionary). Best give her some time to work through all that before you introduce yet another new reality of RM life. And even the second weekend back is probably still too soon for a formal one-on-one date, but you could offer to hang out or go on a group date that has little to no formality/pressure.

There are basically two different ways a missionary can come home. First, they can come home having taken no thought or planning as to what they want to do when they get back (this probably comes from the zealous desire to keep their whole mind, might, and strength completely focused on missionary work). Or secondly, they can return having already done some soul searching and praying about the types of actions they want to take when they return. It would be a good idea to try and get a feel for how this sister has approached her homecoming so you can get a better understanding of her perspective. You don't need to flat out ask her if she wants to starting going steady; you can ask her about living plans, work plans, academic goals and the like to see how ready she is to start living her post-mission life.

My advice can basically be summed up as follows: take it easy, establish communication early, and make sure you are overly considerate of her emotional availability. And with all sincerity, good luck.

-Art Vandelay