If you’re young Nigerian and fly without a man, chances are people are trying to introduce you to someone every other week. I’m I lying? I get it, marriage is an accomplishment to most and our parents and aunties want to brag about that too. They have our best interest in mind. But to a certain extent, you wonder whether they really know you when you meet some of these men. I’ve been there and trying to diplomatically escape from those situations are not easy. But I’ve learned a thing or two about human interaction that might be beneficial. However, it’s a process. Learning the art of politely rejecting people, so that they truly understand that you’re not interested (and not playing hard to get) is an art I’m still trying to master. Here are some common scenarios that may arise. It always helps to be prepared.
1. The Nice Nephew Back Home Introduction
So you’re favorite Aunty by association calls you to check up on you. She’s asking you the regulars. “How is school?” “How is work?” “How is church?” “How are your siblings?” The standard responses are given until she asks, “Are you in a relationship now?”
Is it a shock? Slightly. But she’s cool. “No, Aunty.” “Why?” She gasps and begins to lavish you with flatteries that are all too true. “You’re too pretty and intelligent not to be.” She tells you not to worry. And you don’t, because you’re not. That she has someone for you. She wants to introduce you to her nephew in Nigeria who is nice and handsome and has a good degree. After some probing, you find out he’s a lecturer looking for a job. In the meantime, he’s into importing/exporting goods. That’s great. But you ask for a picture to solidify your interest. She understands because according to her, your generation needs pictures these days. However, once you see his picture, you know he’s not THE ONE. His looks are getting there, but they aren’t quite there yet for you. How should you respond?
You: “Oh, wow! He looks decent. But not really my type.”
Aunty: “What do you mean? He’s handsome!”
You: “I’m sure he can be, but I rather focus on the guys in [insert state, town, region that does not include him]. I think it’s better for me to deepen relationships here, before I step outside of my time zone. Long distance can be a bit tricky.”
2. The Facebook Introduction
You’re conducting your monthly Facebook check-in just to see what’s going on with friends and family you don’t get to see too often. You notice that you have a new message and a friend request from a Mide, someone you don’t even recognize as a friend of a friend. You click on “Inbox” to find a lengthy message declaring how beautiful you are and how he just wants to get to know you better. Because he thinks the two of you could be good together. Randomly, from across the seas. How should you respond?
You: “Oh, I’m flattered. But I refrain from engaging with strangers. And unfortunately, I don’t really know the one friend that you’re familiar with in my circle.”
(Note to self: Edit my Friend’s list down to people I actually communicate with.)
Mide: “I’m not a stranger. I’m a friend now.”
You: “Right…well, friend. I’m not interested in taking our friendship any further.” “I’m sure you’re a nice guy and would make a woman that’s in your area very happy.”
3. The New Guy At Church Introduction
You’ve just arrived at church. The choir is on point, and your worship is flowing. Your hands are in the air and you feel the presence of God. You just know it’s going to be a great service. At the end of Isoken’s rendition of JJ. Hairston’s “You Deserve It,” you open your eyes to find that the new guy has been staring at you during Praise & Worship. Since Praise & Worship isn’t a spectator sport, you rationalize that he’s probably trying to familiarize himself with your church’s culture. Until, you realize you keep catching his eyes: when you looked up from your sermon notes, when you were passing the offering plate, when you caught the revelation, and when you were dancing during Thanksgiving. Your observations were confirmed when he approached you after barely giving Sister Esther a fellowship hug. He seems friendly, but you’re not interested. You decided to go on a dating fast. How should you respond?
Emeka: “Hello, my name is Emeka. Nice to meet you?” “This is my first time. I was invited by Salewa.”
You: “Oh, nice. Welcome to our church.” “How did you enjoy the service?”
(Trying to sound as hospitable as possible. There’s a reason why you didn’t join the Hospitality Ministry.)
Emeka: “It was awesome. I really enjoyed the worship. You seemed really into it.”
You: “I did? How do you know?
Emeka: “Oh, well I glance over and saw you really into it.” “But ummm it seems like a really good church though.”
You: “Yes, it is. I’ve been attending service since I moved down for school about 5 yrs. ago.”
Emeka: “Nice.” “Well, can I text you to get more information about the different ministries and programs you have?”
You: “Sure, you can get a text. Someone from the Hospitality Ministry can put you on the listserv to get church updates. In fact, here’s Sister Bola now. Let me get her for you.”
(You introduce him to Sister Bola and walk away.)
Your turn: How would you respond if you were in these introduction scenarios?