My Bro is a biweekly Zikoko series that interrogates and celebrates male friendships of different forms.
David and Dayo have known each other for over a decade. They started out as acquaintances in secondary school, lived together in university, and now, they work in the same office. In this episode of My Bro, they both talk about how they became friends, what they learnt from living together and the big fight that almost destroyed their friendship years ago.
How we met
Dayo: I remember meeting you on the first day of my first year of secondary school. This was in 2009, so that’s like 13 years ago. Technically, our friendship has lasted longer than some people’s marriages.
David: Please stop. LOL.
Dayo: But it’s true.
David: Even though we met in first year, we didn’t become friends until much later.
I remember the first time I really noticed you was the day we were all outside in secondary school playing games. You broke your head and there was blood everywhere. I saw you on the floor with everyone running all around you. What happened that day again?
Dayo: Someone set their leg for me while we were playing. I can’t believe nothing happened to that person. My Grandma cursed the person when she heard, but I don’t think it worked because he’s fine.
We became friends in
Dayo: I think our friendship became real when you had to move in with me. We shared the same room in secondary school, then you had to leave after JSS 3. It wasn’t until I got to university and randomly saw you again that we became close. You were the only person I knew at the time in university, and we started hanging out a lot, then you got homeless.
David: You’re a detty liar! I didn’t need a place to stay. LOL. I was registering as a fresher and I just remember seeing you. It turned out we were in the same department as well, so I told myself, “If he was cool in secondary school, he’ll probably be cool now.” That’s why I gravitated towards you. Throughout university, we hung out and even though other people joined our clique at some point, you and I were the only constant over the years.
Do you remember when people started thinking we were dating?
Dayo: Who can forget? They’d ask you if I was gay.
David: Yes. And then they’d ask if you were “my guy”. LOL.
Dayo: I was used to being called gay in secondary school, but in university, you sort of want the attention of girls, which I wasn’t always getting it because I was “effeminate”.
I was initially offended by it, but now I enjoy the ambiguity that comes with people not knowing whether I’m straight or not. These days when people ask, I just play around with it to mess with them.
David: I didn’t care then and don’t care now. I just tell them no and keep it moving. I’d probably end up gisting with you about it.
David: Living with you was a learning experience for me. I enjoyed annoying people, and it would upset the fuck out of you. The funny thing was your anger made me want to annoy you even more because I felt you took everything too seriously. But now, I realise that it was uncalled for. It doesn’t make sense to continuously do something someone tells you they don’t like. Pissing you off was entertaining to me, but I’ve outgrown it now. Just because I wouldn’t have reacted in the ways you did, doesn’t mean your anger wasn’t valid.
Dayo: Thank you. Then there’s the personal space part.
David: Oh yeah, I can’t sleep on a bed with another person and not want physical touch. LOL. This was a problem for you right?
Dayo: Yes. You would put your legs on mine, and it used to stress me out. Over time I just learnt to get over it.
David: To be honest, it’s not like I want to or enjoy stressing you out, I’m just the kind of guy who enjoys body contact with my friends. That reminds me, this was also the house where we had our first major fight where we didn’t talk to each other for like a month.
Our big fight
Dayo: I feel like that fight was inevitable. There was a lot of miscommunication between the both of us. There were times when you were dismissive of my feelings when I brought them up, and that got to me. All of this caused a build up I think we ignored for too long. Normally, we’d have an argument and resolve our issues almost immediately, but this argument kept escalating. It was so bad we had to choose between addressing the issue at hand or dissolving our friendship.
David: I don’t think I understood how heavy it was for you at the time. I’m always thinking, “It’s not that deep. Why are you so angry?” I remember the fight happened because we had made a bet playing video games and I’d scammed my way into winning. It’s really silly in hindsight. I won, and when I asked you to pay your bet, you started shaking. You were getting angry over a bet that was clearly a joke to me and that just made me upset as well. That’s why I kept pushing for the payment. I think I said something about you never paying your bets and that just set you off. The angrier you got, the angrier I did as well.
Dayo: My main problem at the time was that we’d have an issue, resolve it, and just when I thought we had moved on from it, you’d bring that thing I did up again in a fresh unrelated argument. I felt like I was in this cycle and since I already have this deep rooted feeling that I’m inherently a bad person, you doing what you did felt like a confirmation. It was really bad for my mental health.
I didn’t know you were joking. I just felt betrayed by my friend, especially after I had told you my family was struggling with money at the time. It was almost like you were trying to take advantage of me knowing my situation. I even tried to restore some form of normalcy.
David: You did?
David: Wait, what?
Dayo: LOL. I even sent a long voice note telling you I was hurt. After not talking to you for like a month, I realised I couldn’t do it anymore. You’re my primary support system. I hadn’t told you about the issue I had with how I viewed myself, and I think doing that just made it easier for the both of us to understand each other better. I’m glad we fixed it.
David: Me too.
Navigating other relationships
David: We both have other friendships and relationships, but I feel like you hide people from me.
Dayo: Wow. Okay, the truth is if I’m not confident about a relationship, I tend not to share it with anyone else. There’s no point telling someone about something that might fail. I try to not bring too many people into the equation. Let me suffer in it alone, and when it blows up, I’ll tell other people.
David: But it makes me feel left out of an important part of your life.
Dayo: I’m sorry. I totally understand. It’s just that when something is fresh or young, I’m scared of putting it out there.
David: I understand. LOL. Just letting you know how it makes me feel.
Dayo: Not you giving me the “I see and understand you” therapy lingo. But then again, if the person is giving me headache, you’re the first person I’ll rant to. LOL.
Dayo: Our friendship has never threatened any of our relationships because we expect everyone to know that we’re a two for one package. I can’t date anyone who’s uncomfortable with you. Like where do we even go from there?
David: If anyone’s dating me, they’re automatically dating you. Not literally, but you get what I mean.
Dayo: Even when it comes to my other friendships, there’s a massive difference because we both share unique experiences. No matter how close I get to anyone else, it won’t be the same. We’ve known each other for too long.
David: Yes, we’ve had like two friends who came and eventually left our friend group. I don’t really like having a lot of friends, because what’s the point when I already have you? I doubt they’ll measure up to what we have. I’m too lazy to make other friends abeg.
What holds our friendship together?
Dayo: We understand each other and also understand it’s important to give each other the necessary space needed to grow. One other thing that has kept our friendship is how we’ve learnt to communicate our issues without taking it personally. I’ve learnt it’s not about me, instead, it’s about how you’re feeling and vice versa. Whatever you say is not an indictment of who I am.
David: Time has helped us understand each other better. We’ve gotten to know what makes the other person happy. Living together also helped. Because I lived with you, I don’t think I’m scared of marriage. Even though we had differences, it was still beautiful. So imagine I’m living with someone and there’s knacks involved, it’s going to be better. LOL. Our fights are also necessary because we get to talk and grow as emotional people who like to talk about how they’re feeling.
What should change about our friendship?
David: Looking at the way things are right now, I don’t think there’s anything I’d like to change. Maybe if I keep thinking about it, but for now, I like the way everything feels.
Dayo: It might not feel like a big deal, but I’ll change the distance between us. I really wish we still lived together.
I want you to know
Dayo: I want you to know that In the grand scheme of my life, one of the most important factors that has made me the person I am today — good or bad — has been my friendship with you. You completely changed the trajectory of my life. You’ve taught me a lot about myself, the world and how people function. You taught me the life lessons I never got prior to meeting you. Watching you graciously flow through life has inspired me to do more. When we were in university, broke AF, you always had jobs. You’ve put so much effort into doing something for yourself, and I’m proud of you. You inspire me, and thank you so much for making me a better person. I hope I’ve done the same for you.
David: Thank you, Dayo. You know I love you. Oya, let me say my own.
Dayo: Ahh I need to record this.
David: LOL. There’s nothing I’ll say that you’ve not heard before. I’ll just say even if I had to start all over again, I wouldn’t want a version of you that’s different from the one I currently have. I like how perfect and complete our relationship is. I like that even with the good and bad, everything with us just works. I’d do this hundred times over again. I like that you’ve made me grow emotionally and the fact that I see you trying to be a refined version of yourself inspires me to want to do the same.
Dayo: Awwww. My impact! I love you too bro.
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