My Bro is a biweekly Zikoko series that interrogates and celebrates male friendships of different forms.
Stephen and Pamilerin started talking on social media five years ago, and now, they’re best friends who run a popular restaurant in Lagos. In this episode of My Bro, they talk about understanding each other’s love language, handling fights about work and how Pamilerin’s recent marriage has affected their friendship.
Our origin story
Stephen: I can’t remember how we met, but I know it happened on social media around 2018. I thought we’d remain random mutuals on Instagram. But look at us now.
Pamilerin: It’s weird because I can’t remember either. One minute, you were this guy I knew on social media; the next thing, we’re taking trips and running a business together. And I’m like, “Who’s this annoying man I’m doing all this nonsense with?” But I know if I leave you now, you’ll tell everyone I forced this friendship by thunder and fire.
Pamilerin: Before you say anything, I know you didn’t like me at first. You saw me as this annoying, lousy social media influencer who did everything for clout. That’s what you and your clique thought about me for a long time. Or am I lying?
Stephen: Actually, that’s everyone’s first impression when they see you on social media. It’s not like I hated you. There was a time I felt you were the most hated man on Twitter. You were doing too much, so I didn’t see us being friends.
But I got to know you outside of social media, and everything changed.
Pamilerin: Unlike you, I’m a good person, so I don’t judge people until I meet them in person.
Stephen: Why are you lying?
Pamilerin: I remember you invited me to your house once, back when you used to cook and invite your friends over for food. Not now, because you’re too lazy. I came over, and the food was really good. That was my first impression of you. I liked you because of your food.
When we became friends
Stephen: We became good friends after a big fight in 2019. I’m trying to remember what it was about because we fight a lot, but I know I had an event after, and you didn’t come or post about it on your page. That made me angrier, and I finally accepted my first impression of you was accurate. I wasn’t going to talk to you again. But we later sat down to talk about what happened, and the next thing I knew, we were planning our first trip together — a trip where we fought almost every day, starting from the airport.
Fights are supposed to separate people, but our fights brought us together and made us friends.
Pamilerin: I remember that trip. We fought because you came to the airport late. And then, we fought about how to share the hotel room between us. LOL. I’ve never fought with anybody like I’ve fought with you. People always think these fights will end our friendship, but they never do.
I can’t pinpoint when we really became friends, but I’ll say we’re in this friendship-fighting relationship that should typically lead to marriage, but I’m already married, so you have to find someone else.
We still come back to each other, no matter what
Stephen: We have more misunderstandings than actual fights, which happen often because we have to make decisions together as business partners. You’re very nonchalant about things, so when I’m hyped about a project, you have this annoying “meh” attitude. You even annoyed me 40 minutes before this chat.
But none of these things changes the fact that you’re my go-to person. You’re more than a friend; you’re my brother. I can’t end my relationship with my brother because of a fight, no matter how annoying they are. I know how far you can push my buttons, and it’s not to a place where I feel the need to walk away entirely.
Pamilerin: Awww. I know you’re a very caring person. You put up this “hard guy” front, but you’re a baby. We’re both strong-headed and act like we don’t care about anything, but after every fight, we’re dying to talk to each other. Our ego is what gets in the way most times.
I tell you everything. I don’t even have this relationship with some of my siblings. My wife knows if she’s on a call with me and you call, I’d have to call her back. LOL. You’re the only person I do that for. Our parents know each other. No matter the issue, you’re still the one I’ll call at first sight of trouble or panic.
Stephen: It’s also great that we don’t need a third party to settle our issues. All one of us has to do is send a meme or something, and we’re talking again. LOL. If it’s really serious, we’ll sit down and explain each other’s point of view and try to move on from there.
I’m more understanding now because I’ve realised when I think you’re nonchalant, you’re actually multitasking. We get to understand more about each other after each fight.
Starting a business together
Stephen: I had the idea to open a restaurant as soon as I left culinary school. You kept popping up in my mind whenever I thought of a business partner to work with, and we weren’t even close at the time. Starting La Cibo in 2020 definitely solidified our friendship.
Pamilerin: I remember you sent me that long epistle asking if I wanted to be your partner. I’m not sure I read everything, but I replied with, “What’s the cost?” Then you typed another shalaye before you finally said it’d cost ₦3m. It sha ended up being more than that *side-eyeing you*.
Your message came when I wanted to try something new.
Stephen: Starting this business with you was one of my best decisions. It feels good to know I’m not alone when things get rough and that my business partner cares. Other people can look from the outside, but you’re in it with me.
Understanding love languages and coming through for each other
Pamilerin: One of the things I cherish about you is you understand my love language. I like gifts, no matter how small. I say it a lot, but aside from you and my wife, no one else takes the time to get me stuff. It’s a plus that your gifts aren’t cheap. That’s how you gave me an iPad and $1000 for my last birthday. That’s the type of energy I like.
The most recent thing you did that really shook me was how you came through on my wedding day this year . We’d had one of our regular fights and weren’t talking to each other, but you still rallied all our friends, assigned tasks and made sure I could enjoy my day without worrying about anything. You always show up.
Stephen: Of course! Look, I’m thankful to God for bringing us together. You’re the kind of guy I can call in the middle of the night to say my car broke down, and you’ll show up. The moment I complain about being sad, or something like that, you’re on your way to cheer me up. I’m the one always telling you it’s not that serious.
No matter the situation, you’re always ready to inconvenience yourself to make sure I’m okay.
Getting married hasn’t changed our friendship
Pamilerin: My wife understands there’s her, and there’s you. I’m basically married to two people. She knows her elder wife, and she can’t fight him. LOL. I’m still the same guy. Nothing has changed for us.
Stephen: I don’t think you’ve changed. Plus, your wife is my G, so she’s never angry that I’m taking her husband’s time.
What we’d change about each other and our friendship
Stephen: When I’m going into a relationship with someone, I go into it knowing their flaws. I accept those flaws. But because I’m human, I’ll still complain about them sometimes. If I could change something about you, it would be your nonchalance.
In terms of our relationship, I want us to communicate more when something goes wrong and resolve it immediately instead of letting it drag. And we’re already working on that.
Pamilerin: You’re really big on decision-making. You get upset when I don’t buy your ideas, and that’s when we start having our “marital issues.” I wish you’d allow someone else to take the wheel sometimes.
Also, I hold things back a lot. So I’m learning to talk about things immediately. We’re both working on it to make our friendship better.
Fighting off haters together
Stephen: When we first became friends, I used to feel weird that you were always fighting people on Twitter, but you’ve indoctrinated me into your ways. I even gas you up these days and help you select the best clapbacks.
I want you to know
Pamilerin: You come through at all times. The way you always look out for me is really amazing. Most people don’t know this, but your input in our business is 90%. Outside, people are like, “It’s Pamile’s effort. It’s his restaurant,” But behind the scenes, you do all the work. I just come to the restaurant to eat free food once in a while.
I’ve never regretted having you as a friend or starting our business together. You can be annoying, but you’re a good person. I feel lucky to have you.
Stephen: I’m crying.
I know I’m complicated, so I always thank people who are close to me for understanding me. I talk anyhow sometimes, but I appreciate that you don’t whine about it or use what I say against me. You take me for who I am.
You’ve also helped me build my brand to a point I wouldn’t have reached alone. I’m happy we met, and I’m grateful you’re my brother.