So its been a while on here. If you listen to my podcast you probably already know why so no need to rehash. Just saw something that reminded me of an incident from years ago, thus inspiring a tweet. The owner of the story will not know it’s him because there’s elements I have changed or never told him.
I was close friends with him originally but his wife turned out to be an amazing woman to all of us, his friends. We all “abandoned” him after a while and became even better friends with the wife. We used to even tease him that we won’t let him drink too much or womanise because we are protecting “our friend’s asset” for her. So fast-forward to one time when we were all drinking at National Stadium in Surulere and he came to join us that Friday evening not his usual self. Mostly, when guys are drinking nobody gives a toss cos we have all gone through Lagos traffic and just assume that’s why you are stressed so you will be fine after a beer and catfish pepper-soup.
By the end of that night he asked us what to do about a situation at work. His direct boss had refused to promote him for years and kept recommending even newer members of the team for promotion. She had never made it obvious that she fancied him in that way other than some pseudo-weird ‘fine boy like you’ side comments she had made during his final one on one interview with her. He had only noticed that she kinda became super formal with him at work when he got married soon after he resumed with that organization, but she never said anything inappropriate to him.
All was going fine until the latest promotion cycle in their office (which was annual) and a lady that had just been moved to their department from another side of the company, was put up for promotion and got it. This was his 6th year at the company and he had been getting good reviews from this his boss every year. So he asked to see his boss. She was super busy but he waited because her secretary said she was still in the building at some emergency meeting and would be traveling abroad the next day. He finally came to see her as she was packing to leave (even her secretary had gone) and she said ‘is this going to take long?’ he said no but he can come back another day. Cut the long story short she sat down and listened to him patiently and said he was doing a good job but that promotion is about time and chance etc motivational speech. The end. On his way out of her office right by the door he swore he heard her say in Yoruba “be doing like a small boy there”.
That’s when his mind went into over-drive. He couldn’t ask her what she had said because she murmured it under her breath not directly to him, but he also then remembered one of his former colleagues that had also been promoted years back who kept teasing him in private that he was “forming ignorant” insinuating that he was missing the green light that the woman had been giving him. He chucked it down as banter but that night brought all sorts of thoughts flooding back. Naturally he carried this turmoil with him till that Friday night we were all hanging. Boys being boys, everyone (except the pastor among us) advised him to shake body and just free up so in case it was true she would have courage to pursue him. Me I sha said I’m not there o, if in 6 years someone did not fire you and did not toast you and did not give you bad reviews, why would you go and use stick to scatter bee’s nest? Leave well alone and look for another job if you think you are not getting a deserved promotion.
Fast-forward 3 days or so after, I was at work minding my business when his wife calls me. I picked instantly because she never calls me unless to invite me to some event with them or ask something critical. After the usual pleasantries, she then asks me please if she can ask me something in strict confidence about her husband. I prayed it was not domestic abuse and said yes. She then goes on about something eating him up and she can sense he is not himself but doesn’t know how to get through to him. She has asked, cajoled, bribed… nothing worked. So this is her last ditch effort to ask if there’s any chance he told me anything. She even joked that if he has gotten another woman pregnant, she promises not to poison him to death because her father was polygamous etc. We laughed and I, of course, said no, but that if tells us anything concerning I would be the first to let her know. I lied I apologize.
But my last advise to her was what I put on the tweet, i.e. learn to ask him “what’s on your mind?” instead of ‘whats wrong?’. Nothing might be ‘wrong’ per se, things might just be complicated and he’s trying to process it without aggravating the situation or panicking anyone else. Whatever he is keeping to himself till you noticed his fake smile, is probably because he doesn’t think you will react appropriately. If you already call it ‘wrong’, he might hide it more. And if he finally tells you, ask him “so what do YOU want US to do?”. No matter how bad it is, he will appreciate knowing that you will not hijack the reaction & overreact, and will most likely tell you next time by himself. And if he doesn’t tell you, leave it. Whatever it is will ripen at some point or dissipate, plus he already knows that he has triggered your investigative skills and you will find out anyway.
I give terrible relationship advice I know. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.