How to write a Dear John/Jane letter


Imagine falling in love with someone and sending them on a mission. But then someone new comes along and this new person is so much more mature, experienced and educated. It seems there is no other choice but to worry the missionary and spend the reminder of life madly in love.

This dilemma is all-too real for many BYU students. They’re forced to face a terrible task: writing that Dear John/Jane letter. How is it done? They want to be careful. They don’t want to hurt the other’s feelings, but they know they need to get their point across. Here are a few tips on how to let the missionary off with ease.

1. If dating someone, don’t keep writing the missionary

“If you are consistently writing a missionary and start dating someone else, don’t keep writing your missionary until you are engaged,” said Eliza Smith, BYU student.

Students should not lead the missionary to believe they’re interested in them when they’re busy dating someone else. The same courtesy should occur in the reverse situation. It isn’t fair to a student’s boyfriend or girlfriend to be writing a missionary behind their back. Be honest about current relationships.

2. The sooner the better

“Don’t wait too long to Dear John,” said Becca Dudley, a BYU student. “Be honest, upfront and don’t be the girl that sends the ‘Suprise, I’m getting married’ letter, but be the girl that says, ‘I’m dating someone else, and I just don’t know if this is going to go anywhere.'”

If the person waits too long to write off the missionary then the missionary will feel like the person writing is attached when really that’s not the case. Don’t lead people on; it’s best to be frank and honest.

3. Start the letter out with a lot of gratitude and sincerity

Start out the letter by expressing thanks for their friendship. Express gratitude for what you learned from your relationship and for the time well spent together.

“Explain that life takes its course and the people in our lives are there for different reasons and different seasons,” Smith said.

4. Be firm, and leave no room for interpretation

“It is important to be nice but also to be honest,” said Cameron Rohde, a BYU student. “Don’t leave room for interpretation. It is important to be firm and straighforward.”

When writing a Dear John/Jane letter, it is best to be honest with the missionary. Make sure to not be too nice, because it is important not to give them the impression that things could work out when they get back. If it is coming to an end, let them know.

5. Or just forget it and send them that wedding invite; they will get the picture

Sometimes it’s easiest to just rip the band-aid off fast.  For those who are agonizing over how to be tactful and sensitive, just send them that invite. Don’t worry; they will get over it sometime sooner than later. They are on their missions; they should be focusing on other things, right?

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