In school, men become friends because of shared classes or extracurricular activities. But as we get older, it sometimes gets harder to make new friends since everyone is either in an established friend group or too busy chasing the bag to focus on friendships.
We spoke to seven 30+ Nigerian men who’ve made friends through unconventional means in recent times. They share their interesting friendship stories and what it’s like to make friends at this stage of their lives.
“We moved from gym bros to actual brothers.”
— Tade*, 32
I used to hate being at the gym until I met my best friend, Obidinma, in 2019. I was a chubby guy new to the gym life, so every piece of equipment was confusing to me, and everyone seemed intimidating. Obidinma was the first person to talk to me in the gym. I wasn’t using the lats pull machine correctly, so he came over and explained how. He didn’t sound condescending or like one of those ITK gym bros.
After our first interaction, I made it a habit of saying “Hi” to Obidinma every time I was in the gym, and he helped me understand the equipment, diets, etc. He was my free personal trainer. We got closer when he started dating my sister after I introduced the both of them on a night out. Fast forward to 2023, and Obidinma has married my sister, which makes him my brother-in-law. He’s stuck with me legally now.
“I didn’t want to go through the NYSC camp alone.”
— Michael*, 30
The first time I shot a friendship shot as an adult was in NYSC camp. I live in Lagos but ended up in Akwa Ibom where I didn’t know anyone. I spent the first week in my shell, praying for time to pass, but the days were so slow I knew I had to make friends before I died of loneliness. That’s when Eyo came into the picture.
He was the DJ with the camp’s version of a radio station (OBS) and was very popular. What better way to make new friends than by befriending the most popular kid, who could then introduce me to other popular kids? So I sat close to him at the canteen and struck up a conversation about rap. Our gist was so long that day that I followed him everywhere. By the time I left camp, I’d become almost as popular as Eyo. I don’t regret making that first move, even though he thinks our meeting was by chance.
“He forced this friendship on me, but I love him for it”
— Emmanuel*, 35
I like to keep my work life separate from my personal life, so I wasn’t thrilled when my coworker started shooting his friendship shots at me. At first, it was invitations to get drinks after work with the rest of the team, which I always said “no” to. Later, it was messages and calls during the weekend to hang out at W Bar or some restaurant he was trying out. Honestly, I was confused about how badly he wanted us to be friends because this man had a lot of friends at work already.
After almost a year of dodging him, I finally agreed to attend his birthday party, and it was the best night of my life. I got so wasted that I only remember stripping for a girl at some point in the night while everyone watched. As an introvert who only focused on work, that changed a lot for me. I started hanging out with him, and he’s helped me come out of my shell and have fun in Lagos. I can’t lie, my life was dull before I accepted this friendship shot.
“The trauma of protesting for #EndSARS brought us together.”
— Pelumi*, 30
I met my best friend while the Nigerian police were shooting teargas at us during #EndSARS in 2020. I protested in Abuja with some friends, and everything was peaceful until the Nigerian police started attacking protesters. Amid all the running, I lost my friends and was on the floor, unable to see. This guy came over and carried me while running for his own life. I don’t know how he did it, but I also don’t know what would’ve happened if he hadn’t. He disappeared after he dropped me off where everyone else was resting.
About two days later, someone reposted the guy’s image to my TL on Twitter, and I slid into his DMs to say, “Thank you.” That’s how we started talking and going to the protest grounds together. The events of October 20, 2020, happened shortly after we started talking, and I remember calling him crying. I didn’t know who else to call. We’ve been each other’s coping partners since. I still feel guilty that I found my best friend during those tragic moments.
“I always shoot my shot when I like someone. What’s the worst that could happen?”
— Nnamdi*, 33
I strongly believe in going after what you want in life, no matter what. I use this energy when it comes to work, my love life and any other type of relationship. I’ve shot a lot of friendship shots on social media, and while I get aired sometimes, or I meet the person and we don’t click, most times, it actually works, and I make a new friend.
My most recent friendship shot was at this guy on IG who’s always serving looks. One day, he wore a shirt I had, so I messaged him with a picture of me in the shirt and wrote, “Fashion bros.” He messaged me back, and we started a back-and-forth about fashion. These days, he’s my shopping buddy and the first person I’ll message if I want to order a fit online. I’ve shot other shots that had to do with music, career or even something as basic as me liking the perfume a guy has on. I’m the Jason Statham of friendship shots, my bullet no dey finish.
“I’ve become best friends with my ex’s brother.”
— Joey*, 30
I met my current best friend through his sister, who’s now my ex-girlfriend. We’d been dating for about a month when she finally invited her “overprotective” brother to my house so we could all hang out and hopefully get along. I knew we’d hit it off the minute this guy started talking. We had the same taste in music, video games, liquor and basketball. You see that basketball one? That’s what sealed the deal. We gisted so much that evening, you’d have thought my ex was a third wheel and I was dating her brother.
When I broke up with her, I was worried about how he’d take it and if we’d still be friends, but it looks like being a Lebron fan is thicker than blood because we’re still cool. It took my ex a while to adjust, but now that she’s in a happy relationship, I can come to the house to hang with my guy. He’s the best thing my ex gave me.
“I’ve discovered friendship with my brother in my 30s.”
— Ehis*, 37
My younger brother and I were never close growing up; we were competitive. From school to sports, he always wanted to prove he was better than me because everyone around us kept comparing both of us. He was living under my shadow. The competition between us never allowed me to really know him as a person.
I only yearned for my brother when I started having my own kids. Watching my boys build such a close bond, looking out for each other, forced me to face the fact that my brother and I never had that bond. I started calling him more often, even if we didn’t have much to say, and now, we’ve both made it a rule to grab drinks or do some activity together once a week. I have other friends, but I realise my brother is also cool enough to be my friend.