how to turn down someone who confesses their feelings to you
5 practical steps to avoid 'god abeg.'
We are walking back from classes, you and I. We’re good friends — we’ve been good friends for some months now — and I enjoy spending time with you, but you like me, and I don’t really like you like that.
This is a scenario that happens more times than you can imagine. One day you are teasing each other about your accents, and how you say, “sorrypleaseexcuseme” before asking a stranger for directions, and all the other things young people tease each other about. The next day, you are standing outside your hostel, waiting for the people who sell spaghetti to cook the next batch, and your friend, who has really been your friend all this while, and who you think is super cool and sweet, and charming, but not in a way that makes you want to dry hump them while making out passionately, clears their throat and tells you: I think I like you.
If we were keeping it a hundred, the best thing for you to do is to avoid letting your friendship get to this stage in the first place.
If you have a friend, and you think they adore you, that’s wonderful. Being loved and adored by friends can be such a nice feeling. It’s really beautiful knowing that because of you, somebody’s eyes light up when you walk into the room, and your presence can make them cook more food, even though they have been standing all day and they despise cooking. Friendship is one of the wonders of our existence, it makes everything pure and bright. However, if it’s starting to look like things are deeper than you think they should be, then maybe you should pay more attention.
Let’s say your friendship dynamic is one where you have a friendship group involving more people, but you begin to notice that everyone starts “leaving you two alone.” Or this friend starts to tell you they miss you over the phone the same way that your talking stage that showed you shege in 2020 told you he missed you whenever you guys spoke at midnight, whispering like rats so that your mother, who was watching the Holy Ghost service in the parlour won’t hear. Or they get jealous whenever you mention the name of someone you have a crush on and start acting all moody. This is where things start to get weird, and this is what you should do:
Remind them that we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ: Nicknames are powerful tools for garnering affection. They are also great for reinforcing boundaries. Boss, Bro, Oga, Egbon, Big Chief, Chairman, all these titles are gender neutral and would help you proclaim your desire to remain just friends.
Create an Imaginary Partner: Start seeing Nkiru that goes to another school, and who is the best thing that has ever happened to you. Ensure that the school is far enough so that you never have to explain why Nkiru hasn’t shown face once, not even on video call.
Develop Amnesia, like they do in K-dramas. Who said Alchemy of Souls cannot happen in real life? You live in Nigeria and you’ve seen things, so come off it. If they tap your shoulder, turn around and say: “Do we know each other? Who are you?” Then squint painfully like Jin Buyeon whenever a memory of her former life flashed before her eyes.
Move to a country people don’t know much about. Ever heard of Bosnia and Herzegovina? People live there. Liechtenstein? Tuvalu? Kiribati? These places are real, and this person probably won’t find you there, even if they tried.
If all fails and you are led to have this conversation in person, and you feel your throat constrict with the weight of realisation, then the next best thing for you to do is to faint. Slump and fall to the ground, like they do in Nollywood films after news has been delivered to the poor mother in the village that her son, who went to town to make money, was actually an armed robber and was caught in a crossfire between his gang and the police in front of one small Union Bank outlet (which she would have known had she paid attention the last time he came to the village and was dashing everybody fat wads of cash).
Faint dear, and hopefully they will get the message.
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How are you doing? How was your week? My week was great, but I am nursing a slight headache from all the hours spent pressing laptop. I hope 2023 is shaping up nicely for you.
Anyways, let’s get to why you’re down here:
Media I consumed this week:
Reading: I am Reading ‘The Mountain is You’ by Brianna Wiest. The book deals on all the ways in which we sabotage ourselves as human beings and what we can do instead. I like how practical the solutions are and how revelatory of an experience it has been for me. A wonderful way to start the new year.
Watching: I am watching The Extraordinary Attorney Woo, a Netflix K-drama series that follows the life of an autistic lawyer as she navigates dealing with cases, working at a top law firm, and finding love. It’s beautiful and heartwarming. I really like how mental illness is explored in the series, I think the writers did a very great job. I finished Alchemy of Souls on Sunday, and I keep watching TikTok edits because I cannot let it go like that. It was too beautiful, and I will miss it dearly.
Listening: I have been listening to a lot of female rap. I like how Bia raps. So chill and confident. I have also been enjoying Doechii’s music too! By the way, if you know any cool female rappers you think I should listen to, let me know!
Thank you for letting me know you’d like a playlist, you’ll get one next week.
Have a wonderful week ahead.