Being Long-Distance Friends Works For Us — Adnan and Michael

November 27, 2022

My Bro is a biweekly Zikoko series that interrogates and celebrates male friendships of different forms.

Adnan and Michael didn’t like themselves when they met at a job orientation four years ago — one was very serious, while the other just couldn’t be bothered about anything. Despite their differences, the two have become best friends, with Adnan finally in the running to become Michael’s best man. 

In this episode of My Bro, they talk about why they prefer their long-distance friendship, how being in relationships affects it and why Adnan is tired of Michael’s always telling him to do the right thing. 

Our origin story

Adnan: We met for the first time in March 2018 at a three-week orientation for a job we both got. I was looking for someone with sense that I could sit with when I saw you in a corner, pressing your laptop like an oversabi. I thought, “Definitely not this guy”. Even when we spoke for the first time, I was convinced we wouldn’t be friends because nothing about us clicked. 

Michael: That’s because I was focused on getting the most out of the orientation, and you were a spoiled brat who couldn’t be bothered with anything going on. We were supposed to submit a form at work, and you didn’t care about the deadline while I was rushing to make sure I submitted it on time. 

Adnan: We already had the job. What’s the worst that could happen? 

Michael: You see my point? We didn’t know we had the job then, and I thought it was better to be safe than sorry. The worst part was when I found out you were a level above me at work because you had a master’s degree. I was so pained because I knew you were unserious, and I was here doing all the right things.

I also didn’t think we’d be friends until you saw me watching a movie once, and we started talking about it. That’s when I realised our thoughts on art aligned. 

How we became friends 

Adnan: After orientation, you got posted to Enugu while I remained in Abuja. About three days after we both resumed in our different offices, I calledyou on the office extension, and we talked about movies for three hours straight. We did it the next day, until it became part of our schedule to call each other to talk about movies. Was it joblessness? 

Michael: LOL. We hadn’t been assigned proper roles at work; it was also the office landline, so it was free. We gave each other a list of films to see, and we’d talk about them at work. 

Adnan: I still can’t believe you made me see “Phantom Thread”. That’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back. 

Michael: It’s because you don’t have taste. 

Adnan: I’ll say it didn’t really hit me that we’d become friends until there was distance between us. You know I can only take you in small doses, so our long-distance friendship is perfect. 

Michael: True. That’s why we rarely fight. You’re irritating from afar, so it’s hard for me to get angry at you. But I got to know our friendship was real when I started talking about you to other people. It’s not like I was lonely in Enugu, I had friends and family, but somehow, they all got to know you because I kept mentioning your name. If I could talk about you that much, you’re important to me. 

We’re working on understanding boundaries 

Adnan: One frustrating thing about you is you’re a Mr Know-It-All, so it’s either your way or the highway. I could tell you I want to do something, and you’ll go on and on about how I’m making the wrong decision. But to me, I’m like, “Is it your life?” It sometimes feels like you’re controlling. Even though I know it’s coming from a place of love. 

Michael: I’m not trying to be controlling. Yes, sometimes you have to make your own mistakes. But if I see someone I care about making a mistake, I feel obligated to talk to them about it. 

You don’t want to admit you seek out my opinion because you know I’m a voice of reason. Deep down, you want me to stop you from making stupid decisions. Like the time you wanted to buy a new car you didn’t need, and I asked if you had any landed property to your name. 

Adanan: Imagine. Such a triggering question to ask someone. You were right, sha. But you need to understand that sometimes I don’t want to do the right or sensible thing. I want to do or get something because it feels right at the moment. That’s why I don’t tell you some things until I’ve done them. You’re like my mum, and I’m sure that’s why both of you get along. 

I got the land instead, and I haven’t told you before, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve made because the value has almost tripled since we had that conversation in 2018. 

Michael: See my point? Anyway, I’m working on my approach to dealing with these things, and it’s not just with you. Instead of saying what I think as e dey hot, I try to have an actual conversation. You say you want to buy an expensive card holder? Interesting. So, let’s talk about it. I hope that in talking about it, you’ll figure out whether or not you really need it, as opposed to me just telling you it’s unnecessary. That’s how I look at the whole boundary thing now. I don’t push it anymore. 

Navigating religion 

Adnan: When we first got to know each other, religion used to come up because I’m a Muslim and you’re a Christian who doesn’t practice anymore. LOL. 

There was even a time we spoke on the phone for about five hours about religion. Do you remember?

Michael: What? I don’t remember. 

Adnan: I don’t remember the full gist either. But now, we’re in a place where we don’t care that much about religion. There’s no need to argue or defend it. Our friendship isn’t built on religion, so it’s not a factor for us. Even though I lowkey feel you’d fit into Islam perfectly. 

Michael: I don’t know how we got there, but okay. I generally don’t care about anyone else’s religion or beliefs, so I don’t bother going there with my conversations. 

Navigating relationships and how they affect our friendship

Adnan: We used to talk every single day until a while last year when we didn’t speak for a very long time because you got into a relationship. *side eye* 

Michael: This long time you’re talking about was like a month o! And it’s not like we didn’t text each other during that period. 

Adnan: Haba, it was longer than that. I remember I brought it up, but you kept denying it wasn’t because of your relationship. 

Michael: The irony is you think my babe pulled me away from you, but whenever I’m with you, my babe thinks you’re pulling me away from her. Whenever I come to Abuja, she’s always like, “I know you won’t talk to me because you’re with Adnaan.” I called you my babe once, and she hasn’t let it go. LOL. 

Adnan: Who’s your babe? Please, I’m in a committed relationship too. I don’t know you like that. 

He came through for me

Adnan: I rarely go through dark times, so last year [2021], when my mum had a stroke, it was a really hard period for me to process. I remember talking to you about it, and not long after, you flew into Abuja and saw my mum. You showing up like that to support me meant a lot. 

Michael: Awww. But you know your mum is my mum too. I remember talking to her, and even though she was making light of the whole situation, she mentioned how hard it was on you and how you cried. It was crazy, but I’m glad she’s okay now. 

When did you come through for me? Let me think. You haven’t come through for me yet o! You owe me a Liverpool jersey from the last time you travelled. 

Adnan: You’ve forgotten all the stress I went through to get you an aquarium? 

Michael: Oh, shit! LOL. Yes, I remember. The guy I got to make it was in Abuja, so you had to go on this long drive multiple times to check on him. I really appreciated you doing that for me because I know it’s not something you’d do on a normal day. You picked it up and sent it to me. I appreciated that. You do little things here and there. 

What holds our friendship together

Michael: Our mutual appreciation for film and the fact that we’re both open-minded keep this friendship together. I’m still waiting for the day you’ll make a film. You have a good eye for filmmaking. 

Adnan: We’ll see. But yes, movies, art and photography hold our friendship together. 

What we’d change about each other 

Michael: I need you to be serious about life. You’re serious about selective things like Marvel films, but I need you to be serious about everything, this guy. 

Adnan: Life is not that deep. 

I wouldn’t change anything because I like you and all the baggage you come with; they’re what makes you, you. 

Michael: The reason I want to change—

Adnan: Oh, now you feel bad because I don’t want to change anything about you. You stupid cow. 

Michael: LOL. I said I wanted you to be serious because you have a lot of potential you’re not exploring. If I say I want to make a film, I’d find a way to get it done no matter what, even if I have no idea how to run it. But you said you wanted to make a film, and we are still waiting to see something. The things you think are not that deep, imagine the things you’d do if you took them seriously.

Adnan: You’re not wrong sha. I’m trying to change that. 

I want you to know 

Michael: I have this cousin who’s really important to me and really knows me. Every time I’ve imagined doing something important, like getting married, I’ve pictured him beside me. But now, when I think of a best man for my wedding (whenever it happens), I see you as an option. 

Adnan: Wow. This feels like an Oscar nomination. 

Michael: You’re not well. That’s how I can explain how important you are to me. 

Adnan: Don’t worry, I’ll be the best, best man. I’ll do the job so well, you’ll forget about your cousin. 

You already know I love you. That’s all I can say. 

Michael: I love you too. 

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