We’ve been friends for about three years now. He popped the question, “would you mind a relationship with me?” I replied, “no.” Though my reply was not as abrupt as I make it seem, I tried to be a little polite in my approach. Some weeks after this ‘almighty’ JAMB* question, he returned one of my calls, and we spoke for 2 minutes and some seconds. I was worried because this is not the usual us. I tend to speak longer with friends on phone calls. Before we ended the call, since I noticed this somewhat abnormality, I asked, “Do we now speak for 2 minutes?” He said, “yes.” Hmmm . . . Oh, la la . . . Really! These were similarly my expressions that day. I understood where it was coming from (though, I might be wrong).

By interpretation, this begs the question: if you cannot be in a relationship with me, why are we friends?

Why this summation? If you don’t mind asking me this. To answer, I will start with a past experience. In 2017, I met a guy on Facebook, whom I informed that I was in a relationship and would not ‘date’* him. He added, “what about in the future, is there a possibility of we being in a relationship?” I replied, “for now, I cannot say.” The moment I told him this, he stopped chatting with me and blocked me on Facebook. This shocked me as a ‘newee’ to the youths’ and adults’ friendships. Lols . . .

Why was I shocked by his actions? I was shocked because we never started our conversation based on a relationship or on an ‘I like you’ level. We had been talking for over 3 months when he asked these questions. I also do not often jump to the conclusion that every man that speaks to me wants a relationship. This incident thus set the precedence for my understanding of male psychology as regards friendships and relationships.

How do men think? To understand my experiences better, I went further to narrate my experience with my friend of three years to my girlfriends. Some of them affirmed that it was normal for young men to stop relating to ladies once they tell them they are not interested in having a relationship with them. How come? How did we get to this? Why should it be this way? Why can’t a ‘NO’ lead to building a good, sustainable, and healthy friendship? Must every lady you ask out on a date or for a relationship positively respond to your demands? Must every friendship lead to a relationship? Must a rejection of a relationship proposal mean an end to the good times? I understand the general saying that “you should date your friend, or your friend could be your wife.” After all, you won’t marry your enemy. ‘Bhet,’ we can do things differently.

Some also gave the excuse that some men cannot get over a lady’s refusal of their proposal, so they’d rather stop being friends with such a lady than maintain a relationship.

One thing that we need to know and understand is that being friends with people is of a greater essence beyond just the amorous connection. Of what value is staying connected to people? I understand a case of a lady you just met on the street of Lagos and within a week you asked her out. (Though, this is not an excuse.) What about friendships you have built over the years? Why should you ruin it with your self-interest? Should it end at the altar of I cannot be in a relationship with you?

In close, I understand the part of the Bible that says, time and chance happened to them all. Time and chance might put an end to friendships but do not allow “I can’t be in a relationship with you” to be one of the reasons why you will stop being friends with that female friend as a man. We will not all marry our long-term friends or someone we recently met but keeping friendships alive would not hurt or be a bad idea.

Live and let’s live!

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You can take a glance at these crossed-out words?

I am discussing this from the males’ psyche because this is my experience. I would like to ask, do you know, or have you met ladies who stopped being friends with men because they would not ask them for a relationship or they ignored their winks?

Meaning of Words

JAMB: This is a Nigerian tertiary institution entrance examination that is organized by the federal body which is also known as JAMB. The full meaning of the acronym is Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board

Date: It means to go out either to restaurants, cinemas, and other places of choice. This happens between two people who hope to be in a relationship. But in Nigeria, dating often implies that one is in a relationship with someone.