Friends, Family & Relationships


There’s a popular saying, “when you marry a person, u marry their whole family”.

Yea I know a lot of you might be thinking….“hold your horses…no one said anything about marriage”…but as long as the phrase serves the purpose, cut me some slack.

Whether we like it or not, the reality is that relationships aren’t complete without the (sometimes) unsolicited interference from friends and family. Come on, you know what I mean, those little irksome statements that elicit a lot of eye rolling on our parts.

I remember one time I had this *whoosh fans self at the memory* hot Ibo potential boyfriend and one of my friends couldn’t just stop making comments like “but he’s not Yoruba…”, “there’s no future”, “don’t waste your time”…I mean, honey chill, we are not even official yet, why are you busy planning our divorce?!!! Few months later the question changed to “Does he have a brother?” *shaking head* FRIENDS!!!

Oh don’t get me wrong they aren’t all that bad. Who else do you chat away with when you want to “form important/busy/uninterested” on a first date (you girls know what I’m talking about *wink*). The other day I called up one of my best friends Bukky* whilst she was on a date. After all the necessary info had been passed…I noticed home girl was trying to drag on the conversation. The phone call went something like this.

Me: … OK love I’ll talk to you later.

Bukky: Err wait…which reminds me, have you checked that stuff?

Confused Me: What stuff?

Bukky: That stuff now can’t you remember?

Me: Huhn? Babe speak english my credit is burning jo.

Bukky: (breaks into a giggle) you’re not even serious.

(Thinking to myself “what’s funny?”)

Me: Are u ok?

And then just like magic…TING!!! (Light bulb moment)

Me: You’re out with Kunle* ba?

Bukky: Yes

Before I knew it, she had successfully kept me on the phone for 5mins saying little nothings. The things we do for friends!

And what about those times we (don’t) need advice? Where do friends come in, you may ask? I’ll relate an experience that happened to me a while back.

Scenario:

My boyfriend and I had had a little misunderstanding which resulted in him hanging up the phone on me. In a moment of anger, I told two of my “close friends” here’s what they each had to say.

Friend #1:

Me to Shade*: Can you believe Tunde* hung up on me?

Shade: What? What rubbish? That’s so rude. You can’t be allowing such nonsense o. You need to give him a piece of your mind. That’s how Osa* tried it with me I didn’t pick up his calls for 3weeks. Trust me he never tried it again.

(I later found out that Osa* stopped calling her after 3weeks and never did call again, but naturally she didn’t mention that part.)

Friend #2:

Me to Stella*: Can you believe Tunde* hung up on me?

Stella: Why? What did you do or say to warrant that?

Me: Why does it have to be me at fault?

Stella: Because Tunde* seems like a sensible person. He wouldn’t just hang up on you for no reason.

Me: Who’s side are you on self?

Stella: (laughs) Calm down. Do u want to tell me what happened from the scratch?

There…that’s how a good friend should respond in such a situation.

However, there are situations when we need firm friends to “lend us their pair of glasses” when we are too blinded by love to see that we are being taken for a jolly ride. That one friend that will look you in the eyes and say “Babe..snap out of it!”

And family? Where’s the place of family in relationships you might ask. After all the saying did go “…you marry the family too”.

In my personal experience in the first few months my father’s own is to be formally introduced to the young man that has been frequenting his house in search of his daughter. Of course he knows we are in a relationship but still chooses to refer to homeboy as “your friend” Heaven forbids that he admits his little girl is having boyfriends at 22.

Now my mother…wants to know “where’s he from”. When I reply, “Oyo state”. The next question is “what part of Oyo state?”. After replying her with “Ogbomoso”…she proceeds to tell me all the stereotypes she knows about Ogbomoso people and their traits citing examples to buttress her point of course. But it goes beyond that. Most mothers, mine inclusive, are more involved in their children’s’ relationships. They want to know the family background. They want to hear the “gist of a first date”. They pray for you and give you advice, solicited or unsolicited, and if the relationship crashes and burns, they are there to clean up the pieces and rock you back to decorum.

On the flipside, I’ve often heard of situations where parents bring about untimely deaths to relationships. We’ve heard of the “hot water pouring” types and the extremely tribalistic ones (although if you ask me, the average Nigerian parent is tribalistic to a large extent). We’re probably also familiar with the “possesive/jealous/controlling mothers” and the “iya oko bournvita (I don’t know how to translate this one to English) types”. They are all out there.

Siblings? Truth is the earlier your siblings like your partner, the better for him or her. They hold a degree of influence in relationships. They say things as they see it, sometimes more bluntly than preferred. You’d often hear comments like “He looks unserious” or “she’s just there” if they don’t like your partner. But when they do? The glowing comments can’t roll in fast enough. (My brodas and sistehs don’t be caught dulling. You want his or her siblings to like you? Bribe them! Nothing over the top, just thoughtful gestures once in a while. Trust me, it works…TML)

At the end of the day, family and friends however important they are, are not the actual participants in the relationship and should not hold the reigns in our relationships. Yes, we should be open to their inputs because most times they are done with our best interest at heart, but at the end of the day, it’s YOUR relationship and YOUR responsibility.

Do you have comments or experiences you wanna share or opinions of your own? Go right ahead.

xoxo…  @_Ayaba.

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17 responses to “Friends, Family & Relationships

  1. I was looking for an example situation where the writer went against the opinion of friends and family. The absence of this makes it seem like we should always go along with them. Is this true?

  2. Friends will always chip in..
    Tell them at your discretion.
    I know many relationships that threatened to cave under the influence of friends..and those still standing thankfully for wellmeaning friends

    It often irks me that some girls do not have a mind of their own and succumb to the views of their friends when they have issues with the boyfy… Destruction sometimes..

    I for one have friends I know have got my back..who’ll tell me shit as it is..so I’m glad.

    My girl wasn’t so lucky;she had her girlfriends ask her to chose between them and the boyfriend,out of sheer jealousy ofcourse. Yeah. She made the right choice. Safe to say,she’s getting married in 5 months 😀

    My prayer still remains…”If we get married,his mother has gotta like me”…
    Iya oko bournvitas are the worst!!! If only all the mothers would be like mine 😀

  3. In response to HLBlue, the answer to your question can be found in 2nd to the last paragraph. We should be open to their inputs but not necessarily follow them as they can only make assertions from the outside, they are not the ones in the actual relationship. Their inputs should however not just be tossed aside. If there is some logic to it and it applies to ur situation, then you might take it into consideration, however what ever decision you make in ur relationship should be solely yours and what you think is best for the progress of ur relationship.

    The presence or absence of an example where a person goes against friends and family doesn’t change the above.

    • I asked this because the general advice I’m used to hearing is to avoid the influence of third parties. Communication is the basis of any relationship and it’s difficult enough with just two parties. How simpler can it be with more people involved? But that is for after the decision has been taken to be together.

      Before that decision tho, would you agree to do something long term with someone whom your parents and siblings and friends say is bad for you?

  4. What is an ‘Iya oko Bournvita’?
    This was written from a female’s point of view. I believe that most men go about relationships and friends in a slightly different manner. Family, you can’t rule out. However, if any girl tries to bribe my siblings… You are OYO. They will just ‘chop’ your money and still tell me the koko. I agree with you though, once his/her friends and/or family like you, you’re almost there.
    Again, good job! (Y)

  5. @HLBlue I’m very familiar with that advice, but if you ask me the total avoidance of third party in a relationship is an extreme and is almost impractical. Advice and opinions from friends and family are inevitable whether solicited or not. However the key to managing it is listening to seemingly logical ones but not necessarily acting on it. As you said communication is the basis of any relationship and as much as possible issues should be sorted out between the two parties involved. I’d also like to point out that some advices from friends/ families have saved relationships so they shouldn’t totally be ruled out. Its all in the balance, knowing which to toss out and which will benefit ur relationship.

    Would I agree to a long term relationship if friends n family r opposed to it? Its a risk but possibly if I care enough about the person and I’m absolutely convinced he genuinely feels the same. Should it eventually crash and burn? Well you win some, you lose some!

  6. Lol @slevincalevra an “iya oko bournvita” is a greedy mother in law. A mother that encourages her daughter to siphon or tax her spouse/bf.

  7. What a dilemma!!! At a crossroad of decisions, we can only hope that the road we take results in positive outcomes. I believe that if we ourselves had done thorough research on our potential partners then we don’t need people’s validations or criticisms. What is it about Spectators having better views than Participants? Its also like asking how certain clothes look on us. This is just a tip of the iceberg.

    General Hannibal of Carthage says,

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