Welcome back to our blog!
In today’s post, our amazing blogger of the month Tolu Akintaro takes us through a deep thinking process with her piece ‘Who is on your speed dial?‘
We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we did.
As a young girl in high school, I believed in the idea that your problems should be that of your friends as well. That if you did wrong or got into trouble, we are all in trouble too. Maybe I had read a plethora of books or watched too many high school musicals with friends becoming each other’s ‘ride or die’ who are loyal to each other and I wanted that to be my reality. Regrettably, every time I thought I had friends like that in high school, I realized I was just the inconsequential ‘friend’. A real-life scenario (of over 10 years) left me with the question:
Who is on my speed dial?
I mingled with a clique of friends in high school. I actually ‘joined’ their group because my mother at the time advised me to move with them as they were regarded the relatively ‘smart ones’ but specifically to improve my mathematics, which I dreaded.
This fateful day, we got into trouble for making noise in the class (or something of that sort) and out of the gladness of my heart that I had finally become a part of a group that got into trouble, I apologized on behalf of every member of the group to the teacher and in swift seconds, I heard one of the girls say:
“Please o! Apologise for yourself, don’t apologize for us – you are not part of us”.
WHAT! That statement broke me to my core. So all my free errands and sharing my pocket money was a waste and in that minute, it dawned on me that I was alone.
Fast forward, I longed for friends who I could call when I felt I was about to do something wrong – friends to tell me I was worth much more than that decision I was about to take, or friends to just be present. At a point, I blamed myself for probably not taking the role of that friend I had always wanted after reading a couple of self-help books advising to be the person you want to attract.
Since high school, I have met amazing friends of all sexes. As a matter of fact, I realized those I had on speed dial were people of the other sex: metrosexual males, and those who believe in the concept of being gender-free. Truth be told, they have always been present for me – in good, bad and utterly ugly times. They may not give the best advice and they know it but they are present. As interesting as it is being friends with this unique bunch, I felt the need to make more female friends so we could just share girl problems, laugh at our flaws, hold each other’s hand, say a prayer for each other, affirm that everything all works out for our good, and give each other a nudge once in a while to say: ‘‘Don’t be a silly girl…You are better than this’’.
So, I put it to you, who is on your speed dial?
Who can you call in the middle of the day or night for advice without judgment? Do you have anyone you can unintentionally turn into your Dr. Phil or Oprah?
Do you have that one person or tribe you always look forward to meeting with because you both give and receive virtue from each other, you both have something unique to bring to the table, you both are like Ying’s to each other’s yang?
They could be a parent, a sidekick or just someone you met in the most awkward way. They are are the ones who exude a happy aura whenever you are around.
If you do have one (or several), I am super proud of you. You are one of the very privileged few who have useful speed dials. And I have a challenge for you: share your speed dials with others.
You’d be surprised how positively impactful your speed dial could be for others (having a speed dial can help boost a person’s self-esteem, reduce feelings of loneliness, and possibly even stop a person from self-harming).
Do not be Friend-Selfish.
If you do not have any, how can you get some speed dial friends?
I often suggest starting by joining small groups – it could be religious, social or cultural. Join a group you know you can fully express yourself in. One female group I recommend is DYGL Africa (Abuja chapter). The group reminds me of Sheryl Sanberg’s ‘Lean In group’ for women. It is one safe zone where I can have conversations with women from various backgrounds on life, business, investment opportunities, dealing with mental health challenges, play games, learn a few things about femininity, and how to be a woman of class. We do this over great food and drinks.
Finally, if you still need to have someone on your speed dial, you can holla at your girl.
You know I love you right?
…now give what you’ve read a deep thought and ask yourself…
Who do I really have on speed dial?