13 Honest Ways To View Your Friendships As An Adult.

So we’ve all been there, that moment when a friendship dies, you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you remember the exact day, maybe it was a conversation that became filled with constant awkward silences, or the hesitation to schedule hangouts or invite them to parties or your annoyance with their incessant posting on social media, you feel bad for the way you feel; you do but you can’t help it.

About a year and a half ago, a good buddy of mine unfollowed me on Instagram. Was I surprised? no, I saw it coming, what my intuition had been screaming at me weeks prior, got confirmed at that point. I’ve heard people say, the social media unfollow is the modern-day version of IDFWU.

 I don’t think it hurt me; it was challenging for me to process, but as with all situations I made peace with it and took it in my stride.

Now there may be a lot of reasons this friendship imploded, non I was privy too at the moment but looking back it was inevitable. 

 As you grow older, your views about what friendship means and its purpose will evolve. 

You recognize that humans are fickle, life happens and circumstances occur,breakups are inevitable.

You see people for who they are, it will make you more tolerant of their shortcomings but less desiring of their company. 

You grasp that true lasting we die here friendship is not just built on mutual shared interests and hobbies, but on reciprocal respect, trust and unwavering support. 

You learn how to fight fair, you will understand the subtle art of balancing the need for space and intimacy, which is crucial for any relationship. 

You understand why it is important to surround yourself with like-minded, emotionally healthy and confident individuals. 

You understand that your social media followers are not always your friends.

You become selective, filtering friends into groups, some for fun, some for business and some for secrets. 

You recognize the value in having a large network, but you also see sense in cultivating a close circle of companions. You learn to keep certain details to yourself; you understand that friendship and money don’t always mix well, you also learn that it’s not a good idea to live with your buddies, or date their exes.  

You yearn for friends that expose you to new concepts, philosophies etc. Friends who can help you with career ambitions or business goals, take precedence over those, who just want to gossip about nothing serious all the time. 

You care less about their opinions; you spend more time with one particular friend; you understand that friendships between the sexes work and can be very enriching.

You stop seeking for perfection in friendship, because you won’t find it, you become cognizant of the fact that you should be your own best friend; you learn that, what you get out of a friendship is not always what you put in; you become pragmatic; you demand the best from people, but expect less of them, nothing surprises you any longer. 

You let people earn the right to be your companion; you let go of the ones that no longer serve you. 

You understand that true friends celebrate your wins and commiserate when you lose, but don’t allow you stay down for too long, they want the best for you always, they listen, they criticize constructively and love unconditionally.

How To Live Peacefully (Really) With Roommates: 5 Tips.

 In 2017, nearly 79 million adults (31.9% of the adult population in the United States) lived in a shared household–that is, a household with at least one “extra adult” who is not the household head, the spouse or unmarried partner of the head, or an 18- to 24-year-old student.[1]

I’m not surprised, living on your own can be very expensive, especially as a young person who is pursuing a career in a major city. I have lived away from home since I was 19 . At university; I shared a unisex housing building with 11 other guys and girls; shortly after that I lived  in a self-contained studio apartment, and right now I share a cozy 2 bed with my friend, so you can say, I have experienced my fair share of roommate drama.

Co-living residential spaces are becoming increasingly popular in major cities in the US.
Residents have access to private furnished bedrooms within beautiful shared suites.
Photo Credit: hi.common (Instagram).

”Shared on-demand rental apartments, are viable options for millennials residing in metropolitan areas such as Lagos, Nigeria.”
Photo Credit: Fibrehomes(Instagram)

Truth is many people have a roommate from hell story, some see it as a rite of passage as a young adult. Learning how to share your personal space with another human being is a transferable skill that comes in handy in all facets of your life. Living with a friend, colleague, someone you met on craig list, the first few years out of university whilst you stabilize your finances is a great way to save enough money, before you eventually get your own place with a future spouse or partner.  You can split bills, living expenses, share the burden of managing household chores and make a lifelong friend whilst you are at it, sounds like a win-win situation right?

Well, slow down your horses, there are a few rules that can help smoothen the inevitable kinks and ensure a pleasant cohabitation.if you successfully stick to them you should have no problems living with anyone until you’ve saved up enough money to buy your dream townhouse.

  • Great Friends Don’t Equal Great Roommates

I’m sure this comes across as counter-intuitive, if you can spend 4 hours chatting on the phone with your bestie, enjoy laughter filled brunch sessions and endless shopping trips together, then you should automatically make great roommates, right? well not really. Just because you get along with somebody, doesn’t mean that you guys can or should live together, I will go as far as saying you may end up potentially ruining a great friendship if you do. If you will live with your best friend, I assume you know him or her well enough to know their personality, temperament, habits are. If your friend is a slob and you are a neat freak, I don’t care how much you like each other, you cannot live together,harmoniously.

Most people have this fantasized idea of what living with a best friend will be like, frankly if you are over 25 I don’t advise it. Think about this, most of the time, you schedule time spent with your bestie; mentally you both are in a space where you want to catch up and have fun, laugh and let your hair down, or lend a listening ear. However, you don’t see them 24/7; you do not get to see them exhausted after a long day at work,when all they want is their glass of wine and bed. If you expect that it will always be late night girl chats, your personal live-in entertainer, comedian, chef and therapist you will sorely disappointed and resentful, be realistic.

Not all friends know how to handle conflict in a productive and healthy manner, it’s okay if you have disagreements with your friend, you don’t speak for weeks and when you do, you guys move on as if nothing ever happened, if that works for your friendship, hey I can’t knock it, but when you live together, it’s a recipe for creating an unhealthy home environment (I will discuss further shortly). Disagreements are inevitable when you live with someone, if you and your friend are passive aggressive or overly confrontational, then it’s best to just leave it at sleepovers sis.



” If you must live with a close friend;set expectations about significant others, realize that common areas require boundaries, and discuss introvert/extrovert preferences”
  • Bills Bills Bills

This is one in particular, is for my Africans in the house (don’t shoot the messenger), please do not think it is okay for you to move in with a stranger or even a friend, and think you will “wing it”, “see how it goes” or ” believe that there will be a mutual understanding” regarding paying bills. Before you move in both of you MUST mutually agree and decide on this important aspect of housekeeping.

In whose name will the bills be in? How frequently will they be paid  (bi-weekly, quarterly) and how i.e. by cash or electronic transfers? An established structure of how things work must be in place. There are great apps such as Splitwise and Zently (available for free on the web, Android and Iphone devices) that help you split and pay expenses easily between multiple groups of people. A lot of people get uncomfortable talking about money and bills, especially if they live with “friends” but I think it is better to have these difficult conversations at the get go, to avoid unnecessary complications. It would also be ideal if both of you can be transparent about your respective financial situations going into a living arrangement, i.e  are you both employed full time, students etc

The same thing applies to household chores, there is nothing wrong with creating a roaster, assigning tasks and responsibilities suitable for everyone’s schedule, I know I am making it come across like you are running a military operation but I believe that disharmony will thrive if some form of structure doesn’t exist, don’t say I didn’t warn you. 


‘Try to pay for groceries separately, be direct about who owes what,be transparent, also develop a policy about splitting bills when long term guests are in the picture”
  • Bend It Like Beckham

In other words, you have to throw in some good measure of flexibility and compromise. People differ on what they consider a clean house or a quiet environment. My idea of having friends over is just one friend, for someone else that may be seven, learn to compromise within reason. Truth is, as far as both of you are going 50/50 on the rent, you can’t dictate, how the common areas will be furnished, or how often the house is cleaned.

Take into consideration his/her lifestyle and be realistic, ask yourself does it really matter if they do things my way, and if the answer if yes, then you might have to rent your own space.

Grown adults, are not malleable, if you find an issue unbearable raise it, any reasonable person will make adjustments but do not expect it to get done the way you want it always and be ready to pick up the slack if it is important to you. 

“Work as a team when creating housekeeping schedules and decorating shared areas,be patient, allow time for adjustments to each others habits,dislikes,preferences etc.”
  • Private Matters

Would you feel comfortable living in a space where you had to always log out of your email account, because you are afraid that your nosy roommate would browse through your in-box when you stand up to get coffee? Do you have to hide everything that comes in the post, because it tires you, dodging unwarranted comments from your roommates. Does everything that happens to you become gossip for him/her and their friends?.

Your privacy matters, you must expect it and create an environment that fosters it. If you don’t have a close personal relationship with your roommate be cautious about discussing private matters and divulging personal information to them. Equally, you must allow them the space to take the lead, and do not bring up their own personal affairs, unless they have implied in conversation or otherwise that they are comfortable sharing that information with you. 

Many people have a tendency to feel entitled and take this personally but honestly as long as they pay their share of the bills and fulfill their housekeeping responsibilities they really don’t know owe you anything, the only time you may butt in without their permission, is if you perceive that are involved in criminal or illegal activities that may endanger your well being. Otherwise mind your business.


”Never give away your password for online accounts,set boundaries about bedroom privacy,limit the sharing of sensitive information i.e bank details,social security number,family related issues”
  • Be Friendly Be Nice

Everybody loves to come home to a great environment, and I don’t mean tidy and clean. If you constantly bicker with your roommate about everything chances are that you will not look forward to spending anytime at home. What was supposed to be your sanctuary becomes a negative space for you.

Create a space where you learn how to communicate and resolve conflicts in a way eliminates unnecessary long-term tension, have difficult conversations respectfully, if you are mad at something, it helps to calmly reflect on the issue first, that usually calms you down, instead of lashing out immediately at your roommate. If anytime you come home, your roommate is scurrying to their room or you can barely acknowledge each other in the morning, then there is a problem. You don’t have to be best of friends, but you need to be cordial and friendly, you can establish a relationship by organizing a games night, going out for a movie, to dinner, get to know and understand each other.

Remember that he or she is most likely going to be your first point of contact if an emergency occurs, it pays to be on good terms with them.


“Volunteer to cook dinner some nights,invite mutual friends over for viewing parties e.g the world cup, be cordial when they have family/relatives over”

These are just a few rules, that I think would be great to live by, I have made lifelong friends with absolute strangers, by applying these rules in my personal life, living with people doesn’t have to be a nightmare, it can turn out to be one of the best experiences of your life, if you try.

Ndidi


[1]https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/31/more-adults-now-share-their-living-space-driven-in-part-by-parents-living-with-their-adult-children/

The Love Series:3 Ways I Learnt About Love The Right Way

I was not that into him and I knew it.

It was a hot Sunday afternoon in Lagos, too hot. I knew without a doubt I wanted to end it; I had grown bored, and the distance wasn’t helping; I felt no ounce of remorse as I picked up my phone and dialled his number, in less than ten minutes, I told him; we were done; he didn’t beg; he said if that was what I wanted he was okay with it, and I felt a huge sigh of relief, the relationship had run its course. 

It was time for me to move on to new things, I had lost the “loving” feeling.

Now, I know that paragraph makes me come across as a savage but I’m not one;truth is I realized that I wanted to be single and be by myself. My attention was drifting, my tolerance was wearing thin, and everything seemed to get old, fast.   

You know in various ways there were a series of events that led me to this realization, for one, there was a lack of real connection, I don’t think we were compatible, and I lost interest.

Was I in love? No, I have never been.

I believe what I experience is being present, when it’s good and going great, I allow myself experience the emotions that go with relational attachments, the infatuation, and the euphoria.

But when it ends I’m left questioning the validity of my emotions, because I seem to move on quickly

But does it mean that when relationships end, they have to be rife with endless hours of sobbing, sadness and brooding for them to hold weight and meanings in our lives, I don’t think so. Must we always be in love with everyone we date, be it two minutes or two years.

Feelings, emotions and love are three very different things. We can have feelings, desires and longings for people, who will share portions of our lives but we will not love all or dare I say any of them.

In our modern society, we see romantic relationships as avenues for gaining experiences about what loving means; I beg to differ. They don’t all teach you about love, some don’t even teach you anything at all, dare I say, they can leave you feeling bitter, frustrated and confused. Sometimes they teach us about ourselves, other times we are just young and we want a boyfriend who knows? Sometimes we have these experiences as a rite of passage into adulthood.

My point is we musn’t always look for love in every relationship, it is impossible to find it. 

We socialize women, from an early age to think we must seek for meaning in romantic relationships, no matter how short lived the affair is or how ill-suited you are as partners. 

Real love takes time, connection, and the willingness to put in the work to achieve that, and sadly most of us don’t know how to, shoot I’m only truly understanding what it takes and I am 30.

I will wrap up this series this week with my last lesson over the weekend.

Love

Ndidi

The Love Series:3 Ways I Learnt About Love The Right Way

It was lust at first sight; he was tall dark, and intense in his pursuit, I made the initial move, but he was the aggressor, I attract very direct men. From the first date, there was a strong connection, we enjoyed each other’s company and there was an undeniable vibe between us. I grew attached quickly, looking back now I don’t think it was love, I was just overwhelmed by the attention, and I guess this was my first mistake.

 
Everything went so well in the first few weeks, we exchanged text messages incessantly, we went on clandestine dates; we spent hours talking about every and anything, and I felt I had found the one. He mentioned that he had told his mum about me; I was excited, but soon enough cracks in our blossoming relationship showed up.
 
At first it was the “vagueness” of what it was we were actually doing that made me unsettled. Where we friend with benefits, boo’d up or  companions,I had no clue, I was too busy enjoying the ride to stop and ask myself those questions.

One day, on the way to a wedding,i did.
He said “We are lovers”, “What we have is deeper than being defined as a boyfriend and girlfriend”.
Today I would roll my eyes and laugh at this answer but,I was just too happy to be with this man I had  idolized, that I didn’t care,”as long as we spent time together” I thought, that’s all that matters.

Next came the petty irritations, if I said the wrong thing he was mad, if he asked me to do a favor and I made a mistake he was furious, he complained that I vain, that I didn’t know how to talk to him, that I spent too much money on weaves,(I wonder what he would say now if he saw my collection of wigs lol).
I didn’t measure up, if we went out and I was quiet, he would be uncomfortable with my introversion, if I was jovial with his friends, he would deem me too flirtatious and we would have arguments about it, nothing I did was ever suitable for this man, and eventually I had enough and pushed back.
 
I became verbally abusive, if he started it I finished it a 1000 times over, I was mouthy and took it to some disrespectful places. I would not let any man talk to me like I didn’t have value.

There was a lot of back and forth,we would fight then reconcile, then fight, it was tiring. It slowly devolved from a budding romance to an unhealthy cocktail of one part friendship, two parts lovers and three parts confidants who couldn’t stand each other,sometimes.
 
We both knew it would not work, he wanted a woman he could control and conform; he had his ideal, and I was not it,but I wouldn’t let up,I was in love with an idea of a man that wasn’t reality, I had gotten attached to a fantasy, the looks, his career, the money, I was in love with all that not with the actual person.
 
If I am honest,he became a symbol fulfilling my need to be with someone who looked like a catch; I guess in a lot of ways; he was a catch, but he was a man and just like anyone else had his own flaws too,it was obvious,we weren’t compatible.

This situationship taught me that, love and emotional attachment are two different things. 

There was love there I won’t lie, but I was more so emotionally attached than anything else.
 
Emotional attachment is self-centered, it is all about you and how the person fills a void;it stems from a place of lack,the object of your obsession,because a source to fill your need.

I got addicted to the initial attention because it was so persistent; I was probably struggling with some esteem issues, so the relationship was a way of saying to myself that if I can bag a guy like this, then maybe I’m not as bad as I think I am, he was my crutch.
 
I didn’t really see and accept him for who he was; I saw him for who I wanted him to be, what I wanted him to represent and that is not love.

Sure, he was an asshole in a lot of ways, but looking back now, I feel this was a man who was just looking for a woman who catered to his ego; I don’t think that’s a bad thing each to their own, but I didn’t really see that and to be honest my oversight caused me to act,in ways that pushed us apart,as I was just so focused on the symbol of the man, that I didn’t see him.
 
Approaching romantic relationships from with this mindset is a very dangerous thing, what exactly do you want from this person? Love, fulfillment, a good time, good sex, financial security, you need to always be honest with yourself first even if you don’t like the answer.
 
I also learnt quickly that passion, great conversation and chemistry does not always equal compatibility and is not always a recipe for a successful relationship.
 
Trust me, I really don’t even enjoy writing this but it is what I have discovered to be the truth, I mean if you overlook these, then where really is the fun?
 
Sure, it is a great way to start, but from experience it is really not enough, it could mean you guys would probably be great friends (if sexual attraction isn’t an issue, that’s another blog for another day lol). What we had, was not lacking in that but it wasn’t enough.

We didn’t take the time to know and understand each other well enough; I also don’t think there was mutual respect and admiration for each other and that comes from taking things slow and really getting know the person, so you can learn to appreciate them and their qualities.
 
So it fizzled out naturally, we spoke off and on just as friends for two years, he always tried to get back into just “hanging out” as men usually do, but frankly as soon as I realized this wasn’t going anywhere I moved on, we are no longer in touch, no bad blood or anything, but in life some experiences are just there to teach you then you move on, at least that’s how I see it.
 
Love that “lasts” is really not too hard to find but sometimes you have to slow things down,take as much time as possible there is no rush, be willing to see the person for who they are  and understand nobody will come and fix your problems and make you feel good about yourself, that is your job alone.
 
The second lesson coming soon.
 
Love
 
Ndidi
  

The Love Series: 3 Ways I Learnt About Love The Right Way.

It will be valentine’s day in a few days, and I may spend it alone, I will sit at home and have my glass of Moscato (yes please), but might skip out on the chocolate, I’m on a diet. 

I know many single women, experience anxiety on this day, chances are you will have a serious case of FOMO.

So prepare yourself, fake illness, avoid social media or take on some extra load of work on that day so you are too busy to imagine, the fun other people are having, go ahead, I won’t judge.


 Last year, as I sat on the couch minding my business, my flat mate walked in, and asked me what I was doing for valentine’s day, I looked up perplexed at the question (homegirl knew I was single with no prospects in sight LOL); smiling, I said nothing.

We then,engaged in our usual 30 minutes’ conversation about men, lack of men, relationships, the usual, I don’t like to engage too much in these kinds of conversations, because I sometimes find they stem from a place of a perceived lack of contentment, with being single, and that is fine,but sometimes it gets tiring.

Anyway, with valentine’s day coming up, it got me reminiscing about my love life or lack thereof,the other day someone mentioned that I appeared to be a romantic at heart, I chuckled, they had no clue. 

I have been single on every valentine’s, since as far back as I can remember, well for most of my adult life. I wonder if that’s sad or intriguing haha. 

Long lasting romantic love is something that has eluded me, I’ve had short-lived affairs, a few “talking to’’ but never any real deep bond or lasting connection. 

On one hand, I’ve never had to live with cheating or being scarred by any man, I’ve shed a few tears, had thoughts of what could have been, and berated myself for being naïve but i count it as experience in making me a better storyteller.

I realized it’s because I am emotionally independent, too much so, I don’t say this from a place of the  strong independent woman narrative (that’s not what I am about).

 I’ve never been someone who has always looked outside myself for happiness or fulfillment or at least I didn’t feel like I needed to, but I realize now that love is a gift because it gives you the opportunity to share your life with someone.

I thought about how I would approach my blog posts this month then I remembered the Ariana Grande song Thank You, Next, and the infamous line, one taught me love, one taught me patience and one taught me pain (the memes on social media were hilarious). 

 I will share my experiences about love, dating and the three lessons I have learnt about love . I’ve been on a one post a month tip lately just focusing on the quality and not the quantity of my content, but this month is special, and since it’s more personal, I will share a lot, so I will try keep the posts coming.

I hope you all enjoy

Love

Ndidi.

The F word

Forgiveness

I have heard everybody from Bishop TD Jakes to Oprah say, that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, letting go of past harms and moving forward is beneficial for you, you let go of bitterness and allow yourself the opportunity to move ahead, unforgiveness can be like dead weight you lug around, it weighs you down, if you forgive you empty yourself from an unnecessary burden.

But grace can be tough, when the pain cuts deep, it can be almost impossible. I don’t know if I would regard myself a forgiving person, my approach when I notice someone has wronged me,if I consider their actions to be irredeemable and they are not remorseful is to avoid them. I may not go around seeking to plot my revenge or wallow in a cesspool of bitter emotions and animosity, but instead I will deal with being scorned the best way I understand how by erasing you from my life, it would be as if you never existed. It saves me the trouble of seeking to be the mature one by absolving and letting go, but I also don’t have to carry around the pain of what you did to hurt me. As a word of caution I don’t think this solution is healthy, so that is why I wrote this blog, to tackle forgiveness.

What is the best approach to go about this whole forgiveness business. As a Christian I am expected to be forgiving always (Matthew 18:21) I will be sincere, this not sit easily with me, why? Because It seems as if you are offering an individual, unbridled autonomy to continue being an asshole.But on the other end, what does clinging on to past pains and retaliating do for us, sure it feels good when you act out, but when the blood thirst for revenge quenches does it make us better?We still know deep down inside, we are hurting, vengeance doesn’t loose us from the anguish of having our feelings hurt. It is like placing a band aid on a deep cut from a knife.

Sometimes I wonder, is forgiveness always about being wronged or more about our own ego, there is no excuse for betrayal in marriage, stealing from a business partner, or sharing stories told you in confidence by a friend, but let’s be careful not to let the ego and pride, provoke us to create mountains out of mole holes in situations where a simple, it’s okay never mind, would have solved the problem.

Being offended is becoming common in our society and narcissism is at the root of having an a ruthless spirit. People won’t consistently be perfect, they will mess things up, irritate and will disappoint you in ways that will astound you, and indeed worse still you are just as capable yourself of doing the same actions to them, nobody is above being the wrong at any point in time (Matthew 18: 23-35).Lord knows I have done things that have made a few people angry. 

 Guard against being unforgiving , and save yourself from emotional stress by providing room for grace.

ndidi ndekwu

 I am still learning to temper my expectations on human behavior, I and other human beings are intrinsically selfish at the core,it is our nature and because of this we will often hurt other people willingly and unwillingly, we will fall short.

 Ideally, we should strive to provide for grace for everybody, that might not always be possible, it is  entirely up to you to decide to whom and how much you will give space for forgiveness;  as a general rule of thumb,you must be open enough to do this for everyone you meet.

 It doesn’t make you a doormat, and it doesn’t mean that individuals will have liberty to walk over your emotions, if it puts you in a position of being in total command of your reactions and emotions.

Despite any of their antics you stay the same when people realize you are  unperturbed it makes them feel shameful and embarrassed at their own behavior (Rom 12:19-21). Leave vengeance to the hands of God, he sees everything.

Some people might read this blog and say well what about individuals who have dealt with sexual abuse, domestic violence and other heinous crimes inflicted on them, what business do we have to tell them to give room for grace, and you are right I have none.

 In those cases not as easy as just placing your ego aside and hugging things out, their wounds cause scars that may take years to heal, for them I will be forthright and say lay all that resentment, bitterness and even shame at the feet of Jesus, asides from you only he sees where it pains and how best to fix it, we live in a fallen world where terrible events happen to us beyond our control, but as justified as it may seem emotionally, holding on to that pain does us more harm than good, it can never make us happy in the long run.

Forgiving may not always be easy, it takes a lot of maturity and spiritual growth for us to come to a place where we can truly let go of hurts, but it is a gift that is worth offering to yourself.