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

Desmond and Collins have just taken their six-year friendship from Instagram and texting to hanging out in real life. In this episode of #ZikokoMyBro, they talk about shooting friendship shots and becoming best friends over the internet, holding each other accountable when one messes up and how alcohol helped their first hangout.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane 

Desmond: We started talking in 2016 when I joined Instagram for the first time. I’d followed a bunch of bloggers I thought were cool, and you were one of them. You looked like you had sense, so I sent you a DM even though I didn’t know you. 

Collins: I was trying to be polite when I responded to your DM. My first reaction was, “Hey, God. Why is this person disturbing me?” You were asking a bunch of questions, trying to get to know me, and I wasn’t here for it at all. 

Desmond: That’s why I carried our conversation for the first couple of weeks. See, I was very shameless and direct with my friendship shot. I had a goal, and I was going to achieve it. Period. 

Collins: A part of me wondered if I was cool enough to have someone shoot a friendship shot at me, but I rolled with it. 

Our conversations didn’t have structure, but they worked 

Desmond: The more we spoke, the more I realised we had much in common, even if our conversations were random AF. We talked about any and everything from work to the Billboard Music Charts. After a few months, we even moved past “Hi” and “Hello”. It was just hot gist after hot gist. 

Collins: With you, I didn’t have to start thinking if you’d care for the gist I was bringing. It was just seamless. This made us close even though we only chatted online. 

Desmond: Exactly. It had to be seamless for us to maintain our friendship for six years without seeing each other. 

Our friendship has travelled from Port Harcourt to Ilorin to Ibadan to Lagos, and now, Ghana

Desmond: When we started talking, I was in Port Harcourt trying to get into school while you were in school in Ilorin. I remember you moved to Ibadan for your IT, but we were facing financial challenges so we couldn’t actually plan to travel and see each other. By the time I secured the bag and moved to Lagos, you’d moved to Ghana. We kept missing each other. 

There are limitations to having a long-distance friend. Many things happened in my life that I wished you were around to witness in real-time. Texting and calling are great, but I’d rather go to a party with you than gist you about a party I attended. 

Collins: People talk about love languages in romantic relationships, but for me, it’s the same for my friendships. For me, it’s physical touch and quality time, so having a best friend I couldn’t do these things with was very somehow. 

We communicated a lot, but as more time passed, I knew we had to fix our distance. 

Desmond: Seeing you was important to me too. So many cool things happened for me in 2022, so I said, “Fuck it”, meeting you had to happen as soon as possible. 

Planning our first hangout, anxiety and alcohol 

Collins: Planning to finally see each other took about one week, and you handled everything. I was planning to stay back in Accra after exams, to get an internship or something, but you were like, “No, you’re coming to Lagos”. I was nervous when I packed my load, boarded my flight and landed in Nigeria. I kept thinking, “Is this really happening?”

You gave me the longest and tightest hug when I got out of the cab at your place. But all I was thinking was, “Damn, Desmond is fucking tall.” I thought you were my height? 

Desmond: I cosplay as a short man to lower people’s expectations so they can be impressed when they realise I’m way taller than they expected. 

I wanted you to come in December [2022] because I was finally in a good place with a spacious apartment, a social life and friends I knew you’d like. I know you’re shy, so I lowkey planned your arrival to fall on the day I had a party at my house, so there’d be a lot of alcohol. 

Collins: Wow. Were you nervous? 

Desmond: For just a moment right before you arrived, I thought about us not getting along in person. But I wasn’t really bothered by it because we’d been talking too long for it not to work. You know all my tea, from my sex life to how much I have. Last last, we’d join our heads together and figure it out. 

But just in case things got awkward we did some drugs and downed alcohol at the party. By the night’s end, you were dancing shirtless in just a pair of shorts. 

We’re sensitive people, so we avoid looking for each other’s trouble

Collins: We’ve never fought because I know the things that’ll piss you off, and I avoid them. 

Desmond: Same. We’re both really sensitive that the chances of offending each other are high, but we’re conscious about avoiding them. I used to drag Taylor Swift, but you’re a stan, so I’ve stopped. That’s how you know a good friend. LOL.

We’re also very clear about how we feel about things. I always tell you when you’re doing something I don’t like. It’s a plain “I don’t like this thing. Please, don’t do it again” conversation. Like when you get high and start talking a lot. Once you start, I pinch you like a Nigerian mother so you can adjust yourself. 

Collins: It wasn’t a big deal because I understood your intention.

Desmond: Exactly. I’d want someone to do that for me if the case was reversed and I was misbehaving because of alcohol. We make sure our communication lines are open and direct. 

He came through for me

Desmond: You come through for me a lot, but off the top of my head, I can pinpoint two situations that stick out to me. You were one of the few people who stuck by me and helped me get through life after I came out to my mum. One day, she flogged me with a belt. I called you that night crying on the phone. You gave me a safe space. 

Another time was in 2021, when I did something messed up. I called you to talk about it, and you clearly pointed out that I’d fucked up. Not a lot of friends do that. Not having people to hold you accountable is how you become a horrible person. 

Collins: I hate knowing you’re in pain, so I’m always in action mode when it comes to you. LOL. I also try not to judge you while being as honest as possible, because that’s what we do. 

You did the same thing for me in 2019 when I dropped out of university in my final year. Things were going to shit, and I couldn’t do it anymore. My mum hung up when I called to tell her, and everyone around me kept asking why I didn’t just endure. But with you, it was different. 

You didn’t belittle my feelings or decision. You asked what I needed and even helped me research new schools before I ended up at my current school. I wouldn’t have made it through that period without you. 

Desmond: I’d dropped out of school before, so I understood that bugging you at that time would only fuck things up. It was from a “How did I want to be treated when I made my own choice” POV. I wanted to be there for you, but only in the way you wanted me to be. I was there to listen and help you explore your options, not add more stress to your plate. 

What makes this friendship different for us

Desmond: I don’t need to hold back when sharing my thoughts. In some friendships, some things are too much to talk about, but not with you. I can’t be anything but who I am when I’m with you. 

Collins: Mehn, you know everything about me. Even the things I’ve forgotten, you know them. I overthink things a lot when interacting with other people because I’m not good with words, but with you, it’s just easy to talk. 

What I’d change about you

Desmond: I wish you’d see yourself the way I see you. You underrate yourself a lot, and I have to constantly remind you that you’re the shit. 

Collins: I can only fix something that’s broken. There’s nothing I’d change when it comes to you or our friendship. 

I want you to know

Desmond: We profess love to each other every day. But I’m always grateful I get to do life with such a wonderful person by my side. It feels good to have a friendship I feel this confident in. 

Collins: If there’s one thing I thank God for whenever I get to talk to Him, it’s you. You make everything so easy and beautiful. I’m glad I get to be a part of your life, and you get to be part of mine. I wouldn’t trade you for anything in the world. 

Desmond: Not even Beyoncé Renaissance tickets? 

Collins: Hell, no. But maybe Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour tickets.

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