No matter what type of relationship you’re in, telling someone “I love you” can be a pretty scary experience. While those three words are common among families and romantic partnerships, most men still struggle with translating their feelings into words, especially when it comes to their male friendships. We recently spoke with 6 Nigerian men to talk about the dynamics of their friendships and whether or not they’re willing to say “I love you” to their male friends.
I used to be very weird about “I love you” in general, but yes, I’m now the guy that at least says it back. Those three words weren’t tossed around in my nuclear household a lot, so for me to say it back, I’d have to figure out If I actually loved that friend.
I remember the first time a friend of mine said it. I can’t remember if I said it back, but I did cry because it felt genuine. It felt too real, like I could believe and trust he would never leave my corner. I think men find it hard because society has convinced them that they can’t be vulnerable, soft or emotional. Even our fathers equate being there financially to loving us. This father-son relationship has no emotional depth, and it’s the same with most male friendships.
Saying “I love you” to my male friends doesn’t come naturally to me. I’d much rather use substitutes like “nice one” or directly express appreciation for something they’ve done for me. I can’t recall any of my guys saying it to me, but I would feel weird if a guy told me that he loves me. It’s just one of those statements I’d rather hear from the opposite sex.
While I’m open to men evolving when it comes to showing emotions, I’m not open to it being in the expressive ways women do it. I think love can be expressed in many different ways that are not necessarily verbal.
I started saying it to my friends during my time in the university. I realized it was odd not to tell my male friends how I felt about them. A lot of them were amused at first, and many have since reciprocated. From being unsure about what to do with such information to being afraid of doing what is “reserved for women”, I believe there’s a spectrum of reasons why most men find it weird.
There’s also the fact that most of us never had a reference point for this “love thing”.
I remember the first time I said it to a particular friend – I was sleeping over at his and we were high as hell,having a long winded conversation that drifted to how our friendship had impacted me when I said, “Man, I love you so much.” I wasn’t looking for a response when I said it, so I just carried on talking. Anyways, he thought I meant it romantically so I had to clarify that I didn’t.
Over the course of our friendship, I’ve said it maybe 200 times and he’s said it to me twice. I think he’s not there yet.
God forbid! Why should a guy tell another guy “I love you”? It’s not like I think its “gay” or anything. I just think it’s weird. Just thinking about it is making me cringe. I love my friends, and I think they all know this, so why should I start shouting it up and down? I don’t know how you guys do it but it can never be me. Godspeed!
I’m indifferent. I won’t say it first, but if you say it to me, I’ll respond. It’s just words to be honest. Do you know how many times we say it to people without actually meaning it? Like I said, it’s just words. It won’t kill anyone. But I won’t say it first sha and that’s a general rule, even in romantic relationships. You don’t want to say it first and look desperate.