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?
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.
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.
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.)
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.