In My Humble Opinion By Rukky Ladoja

Whether you agree or not to setting a friend up, friendship loss is a certainty.

Things just got awkward

By awkward, I am not referring to the fact that I am about to head straight into a full on tirade without introducing myself.

Introductions seem unnecessary and mostly false advertising. I tell you my name, my interests and pet peeves; probably do my best to wrap up my cons, annoying habits and irritating vices into cute quirks and funny sound bites. You’ll fall for it for a few days or weeks until you start to see for yourself that there’s nothing quirky or cute about exaggerations or acute neurosis and think me a liar.

Let’s make a rule banning dreary prologues from everyday banter, shall we? You can decide for yourself if we can get on.

Today’s awkward starts with fix ups: the friendship equivalent of a drive-by shooting.

Last week, between cracking fried crab shells and noisily slurping my soup at Chorppytoz in Lagos Island, my dear friend Kayode found a moment to ask if I could set him up with another friend, Shola.

Here’s the thing. I’ve heard of this phenomenon before; that people all around the world go about asking their friends to set them up with mutual friends. I’ve heard stories of friends playing cupid and jumping in delight at their knack for setting up great couples. I’ve heard the stories but to be honest, I regarded them as fairy tales; myths conjured up to scare friends into appreciating each other.

I always assumed we all used it as a threat. “Be nice to me or I’ll ask you to set me up with your friend”. It made sense.

But the idea that people were actually asking their friends to set them up? That just seemed like a recipe for disaster. Sure we all have that one friend, aunty or cousin who survived a fix up, but isn’t that the exception that proves the rule? Why would other sane, reasonable human beings go around asking their friends to set them up? And more importantly how does one react when asked to commit this ultimate friendship hara-kiri?

On the one hand, you could say no. Sputter, stutter and utter something like “not in a million years” and do your best to move on.

But the truth is, that’ll never work. For one, he might think you only refused because you want him all to yourself. Worse, still, he might regard you as that glory swallowing, cock-blocking friend who won’t contribute to his pursuit of happiness.

Saying no was out of the question.

Alternatively, you could just say yes. You could agree to fix him up: make a phone call, set up a first date, followed by a long walk along the tempestuous waves of bar beach. Two weeks of romance, four weeks of meeting friends and parents, a short engagement, an expensive wedding and, nine months later, a beautiful baby girl named after you because, technically, you did set them up.

It would also lead to the loss of two friends in one clean swoop but what’s a little friendship loss compared to a lifetime of happiness.

Yes it could all work out.

Or it could just as easily descend into anarchy. He might see her for an overindulged adult whose idea of being frugal involved buying Indian hair instead of Brazilian. She could regard him as a fat patronising elitist jerk whose only real success came as a result of “daddy’s phone calls”.

They could get along terribly and become fast enemies. For the rest of your life, you would have to navigate diplomatic landmines at dinner parties or any social gathering where both friends had to be present. And that’s not all.

You’ll forever be known as the friend who set up her friends with the wrong people, the friend who can’t be trusted with phone numbers and finally, you’d probably still end up losing two friends.

Yes or no, it seems in the fix up game, whether you agree or not to setting a friend up, friendship loss is a certainty. One I wasn’t ready to partake in.

So I lied. To avoid any disastrous outcome, I told him she was in a long-term relationship and was already on the precipice of an engagement. He looked at me sadly, sighed and resumed crunching his crab. Just like that, peace was restored and all moronic talks of being set up, forgotten.

Or so I thought, until this morning when she called. She’d bumped into him at a wedding yesterday where he’d professed his drunken crush to her. She’d returned the sentiment and all too quickly, the conversation had turned to the case of her non-existent boyfriend.

“Why would you tell him I was practically engaged?” she wailed, her voice filled with curious hurt.

“What sort of person goes around telling people her single friend has a boyfriend? How can I call you my friend when you go about telling such terrible lies? Don’t you want me to get married?”

Things just got awkward.

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