Who would you like to avoid in 2016?

Most times, when people are asked the thing they do not like most or cannot stand in other people, they say lies. And I wonder how people can say that boldly when we all lie in different shapes, sizes and forms.

I know, I know some of us never tell lies;  we just exaggerate a bit when telling stories for effect and to be more entertaining *wink*. But some of us have the occasional ‘slip up’, it is called being human. My most deliberate lies however, are told when I am fending off a guy. I just do not feel charitable enough to bear with the insistence that comes with that sense of entitlement some guys have. So I lie to crush any hope for possibility.

Lies are mainly told out of fear, research has shown and even people for whom lying has become a sickness and sort of second nature; it is usually as a result of the fear of the exposure that comes with truth. This fear is very real, heavy and sometimes debilitating. So instead of facing our fears, overcoming them with the truth that sets free, we respond with a lie. This is a struggle most of us intentionally try daily to overcome.

And it is for this reason, this fear, that I believe we should forgive people that lie to us more easily than those that commit other crimes against us. It is actually an act of kindness and one acknowledging our very shared humanity.

Do not get me wrong, forgiving a person doesn’t mean you have to keep them in your life. For that, you need to judge for yourself, the weight of the choice they made against its effect and consequences.

I have regretted keeping some liars in my life after forgiving them. These are the ones who refused to admit to their lie after they were caught red-handed. And these are the category of liars I would emphatically say, do away with immediately. Cut them out of your life because they believe you are not smart enough to find them out and would not feel the need to stop telling the lies they know are very damaging.  So cut them off! Or at least keep them at arms length, this might actually help them long term.

Now the group of people I absolutely cannot stand are disrespectful people. Nothing irks me like a disrespectful person. Liars are universally liars, they would lie to their mother, father,brother, lover, in fact, they would even lie to God without blinking or at least feign ignorance about the truth to him. But disrespectful people are very selective and they do not disrespect everybody. They only do that to people who as we say here in Nigeria, ‘dey don see finish’, and that is what gets me the most.

Disrespectful people feel they have calculated the whole sum total of your life and will treat you with the measure they feel you are worth. Mind you this measure they use, is against the measure of what they think of themselves.  So they weigh you against themselves, according to their standards and find you falling short.

My question is, who made them the standard?

Its true the ‘world’ has put things out there as the true worth of individuals based on beauty and wealth. But we all have to make our choices, don’t we?

And we have. The funniest thing I hear when people want to establish themselves after feeling disrespected is by saying, “Do you know who I am?”. As if the disrespect wouldn’t have happened if the totality of who they are was known, even though it is that same ‘assumed’ totality by the other party that led to the disrespect. Confused? I know, its how I feel whenever I witness that kind of situation.

Unfortunately, even though they are still my worst kind of people, I have lived long enough to realize that disrespectful people are the most insecure people; but my sympathy hasn’t fully matured enough for me to want to bear with and still hang around them. They usually pick on people they feel are beneath them to feel better about themselves. Or they get a ‘high’ out of trying to pull down confident people who they feel in a materialist sense, have no reason to be confident.

Disrespectful people are definitely on my avoid-list of 2016, I do not like the negativity and dehumanization they carry with them.  It is easier to avoid them to Facebook, thanks to the unfriend button (unfollow is the coward’s way out).

I know there are people that commit more heinous crimes in the world but on an everyday level, disrespectful people get me the most.

What kind of people will you try to avoid or de-clutter from your life in 2016 or will you just let the love of Christ dwell richly in you as you embrace everyone equally?

I would love to live out the second option but I am not there yet.

Never Date A Broke Guy!

This is golden advice I promise, one I have given to many a friend which unfortunately always falls on deaf ears. Its like those seeds in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13 that fell on rocky ground. The seeds that wanted to spring up and they did, but because their roots had not gone deep enough, when the sun came up, it burnt the young plants and dried them up. The rocky ground wasn’t good enough because it didn’t have good soil.

The things affecting the goodness in the soil of the hearts of my friends and most girls, preventing my words from taking root are:

  1. The naivety in the hearts of normal human beings that just want to be loved.
  2. The veiled treats made by those stories, pamphlets and testimonies about girls who refused to date broke guys but later had to gnash their teeth in  regret. This is because those broke guys, hallelujah! rose up to become billionaires.

Honestly the second thing has put more fear and gotten more girls for broke guys than love ever did but…c’est la vie.

Back then, every time I advised against dating a broke guy,  I was hit with statements of shock. Mostly because my friends and most people that know me, know I  see no value in materialism. So my advice seemed like a contradiction or that’s what I told myself to console the many failures to heed it. But in hindsight, I am sure they thought I was joking or said it for some kind of comic relief.

I have seen the damaging danger of acquiring money. By this  I mean the damage in having too much of it with no purpose to share and spread it to increase value all around. Truly, if I knew for sure I was going to survive an erupted volcano (We have dormant ones on the plateau) and had to save two things outside my family, it would be my laptop (Writer struggles, its like an appendage) and Ipod (Music is life!), end of story. So this is really not about the money or material things.

What is it about then? Well, I am glad you ask.

It is about the value I have seen men place on themselves and by extension, on the things they surround themselves with; based only on the amount of money they have.

Don’t forget I used to be the Mayor of the friend zone, so therefore, I am an authority on this. Like I have said many times, when you are the Mayor of that prestigious establishment, you get told eh.ver.reey.thing. It is a zone of trust and honesty.

In the friends zone, I learnt that most guys’ value and confidence lies in their pockets, bank accounts, designer clothes and accessories. Growing up, I use to think designer things were items  guys killed themselves to buy; I didn’t know any girl struggling to buy designer products. Times have changed somewhat but in my teenage and early adult years, this was the case.

Anyway, the above mentioned things are what I found were very important to guys as it relates to interfacing with the world and getting a girl.

Wait, did you think guys placed their value on their intelligence? How many swaggered out geeks do you see running the streets and chatting up girls? And good looking guys mainly use their physical attributes as a shield for deception. It gives them the confidence to walk up to a girl but watch them crumble when in that same moment, a guy with more money starts talking to the same girl.

Now in relation to what they have in their pockets, most broke guys date in two main ways:

a) According to their present level: Which means the girl is also broke and in their minds, has not seen any better. This means she won’t make them feel bad and  would be appreciative of whatever they have to offer.

b) According to the level they aspire to: This is the category belonging to the leeches and self-disrespecting guys. The funny thing is, it is majorly good looking guys in this category. Remember no money, zero confidence but their looks gives them enough confidence to chat the girl up and bamboozle her. And the truth is most girls have a weakness for good looking guys.

And it is based on this that I tell my friends never date a broke guy because it is either he is:

a) Managing with you according to his present condition or…

b) Using you to elevate himself. And this means if he gets elevated beyond where you are, you are suddenly not going to be good enough because such guys only keep aiming higher.

I’m sure someone is now saying, so Ulan what do you mean, you money monger? Broke guys are not entitled to love and relationships or what?

Of course they are entitled and I have personally dated one or two or three broke guys. Who am I kidding, I have dated mainly broke to ‘okay’ as we say here, guys. This I know again in hindsight is the reason most people do not take me seriously when I give my golden advice; I seem to be leading the cause for dating broke guys.

But, if it helps, this is kind of my criteria for selection.

  1. He wasn’t really born broke or hasn’t really been broke all his life but has fallen on hard times. In my mind this gives him a range of understanding about what money is and how useful it can be. KEY CHARACTER TO NOTE:  Be sure he is not in denial of his current state and living on past glory or struggling with a chip on his shoulder.
  2. The purpose of his life is clear to him and he is working towards it. This is always very clear in how he prioritizes his time with you, with his guys and with the things he is working towards. KEY CHARACTER TO NOTE: Playing around when there is career-furthering work to be done is not even an option.
  3. He may like to look good or totally not care about it but he is not fussy about how he presents himself in public. KEY CHARACTER TO NOTE: He works with what he has and keeps it moving.
  4. This relates to (3). He is also not fussy about how you look or present yourself in public and raises an eyebrow when it looks like you are trying to present yourself above your means.

This is just a few of the things I note off the bat but as an analysis guru, trust I take it a lot further than that.

I know most people may not agree with me but ladies, just listen to this; when next a broke guy asks you out and a gut feeling arises that tells you not to go there; ignore that guilt grenade pamphlet of  ‘date a broke guy, because broke becomes billionaire’ message and please before gambling with your time, drop the pamphlet, go round your neighborhood and do a survey of girls that got dumped the moment their boyfriends ‘made it’ and I bet you that number will banish all your guilt away…

…Or you can just call me, I will give you tons of numbers for your personal reference.



Guest Post: “Sorry For Your Loss.”


Chalya Dul Johnson

There seem to be some phrases that are particular to Nigerians and maybe others, I am not sure, since I have lived in Nigeria all my life. These phrases have managed to transcend the ethnic and religious differences that have torn us apart. They range from being hilarious, confusing and many times inappropriate for the situations in which they are being used. Phrases which are embedded in our culture, expressions of delight, excitement, confusion, fear and attempt to offer comfort to each other. And there seems to be no effort to correct or ensure they are used properly.

Our culture provides very strong support systems especially during weddings, birthdays and other forms of celebrations. This support is also evident when a family member, friend or loved one dies.

Death is inevitable. Like Mo Yan says, “Where there is life, death is inevitable.” Knowing this, I will confidently say we have all lost someone: a father, mother, brother, sister, cousin, aunt, uncle, friend (enemy) etc and should be able to understand what this is about.

If you live or have lived in Nigeria, then you must have heard this phrase, ‘Sorry for your loss’ after you have informed someone of the death of a family member, friend or loved one, or maybe it was said to you during a period of grief ,or you heard it while visiting to comfort someone else- or maybe you said it yourself.  It has also become the default message used by many Nigerians on social media in an attempt to offer words of comfort.

I wonder if we really think through some of these phrases and what they must mean to the person or group of people it is being said to.

This phrase ‘Sorry for your loss’ is almost always accompanied by its famous ‘cousin brother’ (another adapter Nigerian phrase) – ‘It is well’.

After the death of her Mom, my friend Yeipyeng brought to my attention the use of these phrases by social media users and the lack of empathy in it struck me like a lightning bolt!

Now I don’t know which is worse, “it is well” or “Sorry for your loss.” But I have just realized how they make me feel.

My cousin had just died and all I was trying to do as I walked into my Aunty’s house was be as quiet as possible. I pressed my back against the wall, trying to merge with the concrete, hoping that no one recognizes and calls my name. I was afraid with my new found knowledge, I might curse anyone that says sorry for my loss. I quickly scan the room and see relatives, family friends and many other unrecognizable faces. Aunty was seated in the middle of the sofa, surrounded. Groups of people periodically walked in and made space beside her, others squatted in front of her; they held her hands, shaking and rubbing them, someone else rubbed her back, another draped a hand around her shoulder in a halfhearted attempt at a hug. Then they all chant the same things repeatedly, ‘Sorry for your loss’, it is well…it is well…it is well, sorry for your loss, it is well…it is well…, Take heart, sorry for your loss, it is well…, Take heart, it is well’.

That day, all that was missing from the scene is a choirmaster to lead the chorus. I even waited for the request that we turn to Hymn 901 from the famous red covered Sacred Songs and Solos and start singing.

As a Christian, I believe in resurrection on the day of judgement, and we comfort one another with the assurance that life and death are temporal, but come on! It can’t be well when all you have left are sweet memories that make you smile and shed tears; along with bitter memories that fill you with regrets and more shed tears. How can it be well when a loved one is gone forever in the flesh? How can it be well when in the midst of your grief all you can think is, “How can I move on?”, “What happened?” and “Where do I start from?”

There must be a thousand and one things going through the minds of grieving people. I personally remember the faces that were there for me more than the countless words I hear. I remember hugs not the words, the holding of hands, the helpful hands and  the presence of people. Probably other people feel this way too because why else do i usually hear, “Thank you for being there for me/us?” and not “Thank you for the things you said to me/us?”

A little more about ‘sorry for your loss’.

When we are truly comforting another person, is it just their loss? Are we not comforting them because we identify with them and want to make them know that we understand? So how does saying sorry for your loss show that I mourn with you when I clearly said it is “YOUR LOSS.”

Now close your eyes after reading this paragraph and imagine that a family member, friend or loved one has died and you are sitting on the cushion like my Aunty, and the first thing you hear is, “it is well.”

Do you truly feel well?

Imagine that the next thing you hear is, “Sorry for your loss.”

What are you suppose to say in acknowledgement?

I just heard myself reply, “My loss, then why are you here?”

Personally I have learnt not to use these phrases when comforting others,  I must not be heard during the grieving period, but  seen. That for me, is truly being there for one another.

And please, what does “take heart” mean?

I’ll just quietly leave that alone.