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Seun Tuyo: Tread with Caution

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A while ago, a friend shared a picture of a mutual friend and her husband on her  Facebook wall. They had been married for four years; the lady stood sideways, facing her husband and you could see a slight bulge around her stomach which could have been attributed to many things like pregnancy, the dress she wore, bloating/water retention, how she stood, or even the angle the picture may have been taken. In the comments, people asked her all sorts of questions. ‘Are you pregnant?’, ‘When are we coming for Omugwo? (an Igbo term used to describe the visit of a mother/mother-in-law following the birth of a child), ‘When are you going to have kids?’, ‘How far gone are you?’, ‘It has been a while since you’ve been married, what are you waiting for’. I felt really disheartened by these questions because I knew she had been through a series of trials on child bearing. This lady has had miscarriages twice; she has been to a number of fertility clinics and was seriously facing pressures from her husband’s family. You all know how that can be in Nigeria. And then you add these insensitive questions to her problems. Those who asked these questions may never know the impact on her.

Many eligible singles are presented with similar questions/comments daily – ‘When are you inviting us to eat rice?’ ‘Who is he/she?’ ‘Hope you are not choosy o!’ ‘Men are scarce; you’d get too old waiting for Mr. Right or Mrs. Right’. I find these questions impolite and insensitive when asked inappropriately; talk about invasion of privacy! You often find most people in this category are not entitled to the information. Usually it is just to satisfy their curiosity regardless of the effect it will have on the person been asked.

Relationships, marriage and pregnancy are very personal. They are emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually challenging. They are to be discussed with close friends and family until the immediate parties feel it is time to share. People undergo several challenges that you will marvel at if you were told.

In reality, there are women who do not necessarily have to put in a lot of effort to have kids or get married, at least so it seems. Many have romantic courtships with the perfect partner, filled with fragrances from burning scented candles on dates, the perfect proposal and then, a remarkable walk down the aisle and at the slightest sneeze of their husbands, they are pregnant (pardon my over exaggeration of conception).

BANG! Swift updates on social media of a positive pregnancy test. Well, unfortunately, this is not the case for some. The typical journey for a single woman or man involves many attempts at increasing your visibility in the ‘eligible partner’ sphere and for married couples, especially women trying to conceive, it is several visits to fertility clinics, blood work, hormonal treatments and sonograms, both include rigourous spiritual support – prayers, fasting and all. In the case of infertility, if you are even lucky at all to get pregnant, you are not telling a soul until you are well past your first trimester. Not because you do not want to share but because of fear of the obvious.

Before you ask a question or make a comment, there are factors you should consider, typical examples are your relationship with this person, is it stable or not. If you do not know something about someone who is ‘your paddy’, then it just might be intentional. Consider the medium through which these questions are asked (private or public), the emotional state at the time of that conversation (happy, depressed, sad), the implications of your utterances (are you adding fuel to the fire?), also, think about the reason behind the question and possibly how you intend to use that information. These considerations will not only help reduce the likelihood of hurting someone’s feelings but it might save you from unintentionally being classified as an insensitive person. Remember that God provides children and spouses.

Unless a person decides to share their private information, you shouldn’t ask or assume just for the sake of knowing. It is usually safer to keep away from such questions or topics unless someone volunteers the information. If someone opens up to you about such confidential issues, its best to respond saying ‘I am sorry, how can I support you” or even better, “If you ever want to talk about it, let me know”. This helps to keep you from adding to the pressure by asking daily ‘Any luck yet’ or ‘How is the search going’. Some might argue that if people knew what you were going through they’d be more careful with their questions and/or comments, but I tell you, it most often fuels curiosity, and you expose yourself to unsolicited advice from people who take unsolicited interest in what is happening to others and meddle with suggestions and advice, still unsolicited.

There are people in our lives who will genuinely have our best interest at heart and share their opinions once a while, it is important to value those opinions and manage them effectively.We all have our own battles to fight and anxieties to deal with; it will be a lot easier to face these challenges if everyone at least, attempted to think about how your comments or questions might affect the next person. The world would have a little less hurt in it. What do you think?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.com |Atholpaddy

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Seun Tuyo is interested in social development. She loves to interact with people and has a desire to make a profound and positive impact around the world. She suffers moments of weaknesses at the sight of chocolates and a cold bottle of Coca Cola. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram – @seuntuyo

Seun Tuyo is interested in social development. She loves to interact with people and has a desire to make a profound and positive impact around the world. She suffers moments of weaknesses at the sight of a cold bottle of Coca-cola and Chocolates. Feel free to reach her on twitter and instagram @seuntuyo.

25 Comments

  1. masked

    June 11, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I totally agree…its not fair to assume you know someone well enough and just spit out unsolicited comments that runs deep through the hearer’s soul.

  2. Grown Woman

    June 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Lovely article, some people really like to poke thier noses into other people’s businesses .I just wonder how someone’s elses business will benefit one in anyway…the worst of all is, “You are getting old and your younger ones are getting married” Haba!!so will i go ahead and marry my self mxiiiuu non sense question lol people should learn to respect others privacy.only God can determine the right timing for things. As they say “No matter how long it takes, when God works, it’s always worth the wait”.

  3. chica

    June 11, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    i agree totaly with u seun,if only pple knew how it felt,they would b nicer to others!!!!!!!
    nice write up……..

  4. mimi

    June 11, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    i definitely agree…. the curious minded people can like to focus on their issues rather than interfering in other peoples issues!!!
    i am single and i have never felt the need to carry relationship as a “do or die affair” however when people keep asking “age is clocking oh!! when will you date or marry or where’s the MR” it annoys me cause somehow it sort of creates anxiety, like your either getting tooo old or all the men are scarce… relationship, marriage, pregnancy etc… are all personal issues unless i ask for your advise then dont assume or speculate…. i know some people who by fire and by force want to get married before this year ends, i begin to wonder if its for the right reason and with the right person or is just peer pressure and those nosy people who creates this anxiety!!!!

  5. Ozi

    June 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Making reckless comments has become a trend in Nigeria these days. People just assume it is okay to type before they think about the unseen consequences of their actions. If Nigerians are not raining abuses on people they have never met, they are busy judging and criticizing other people’s action with very little background information. God help us all to apply wisdom in all we do.

  6. @edDREAMZ

    June 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    a.k.a EDWIN CHINEDU AZUBUKO said…
    .
    Nice write up man..
    .
    .
    ***CURRENTLY IN JUPITER***

  7. Ikido

    June 11, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Damn…i never knew ‘sneezing’ on a lady can get her pregnant. In that case, i really need to stop this my bad habit before enough girls will come back to me with news of unwanted pregnancy.

  8. Joy Babasola

    June 11, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Well said sweerie. Nigerians love to poke into other people’s privacy so they can have nasty things to say about and to them. It is well.

  9. sum1special

    June 11, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    People are so nosy and always see the need to ask stupid questions they already have answers to. Like why ask someone so when are you getting married? If they knew when they were getting married, wouldn’t they be handing you their wedding invitation card..like geezzz so annoying. Someone has been married for 4yrs and you remind the person how they need to have a child like they dont already know. It is just plain rude and people should start acquiring something vital which is COMMON SENSE. It is very important. It will save us all a lot of unnecessary situations.

  10. SS

    June 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    its always worth it at the end of the day,surelere, i am a testimony, i totally yanked off some friends asking silly questing about being single, being too choosy, haunting me with questions every second, mocking me behind my back that I was still single, as God would have it, and took all glory, won gbele gbo (na for there house them dey hear the gist without asking or stressing themselves),I couldn’t have asked God for a better partner(glory be to God),to all the single ladies out there, God time is the best and sweetest, did I mention I nearly fell into a wrong hand, someone with 2 kids from different women, over possessive guy all in the name of being mrs somebody lol, i took to my heels

  11. Uju

    June 11, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Thank you very much Ozi!! Well said.

    In my own case I can write a book on my experiences. My aunties personal favorite is “My ears are itching”. The stress of being single and not in a relationship in this Naija has pushed me to places I shouldn’t have gone and to do things I shouldn’t have done.

    Honestly it is not of him that willeth or him that runneth but of God that showeth mercy.

    I am now married to the most loving caring husband any woman could ask for and it wasn’t because of anything I did o, honestly it’s just God. I really feel for singles in this country, they make it out to be a crime especially if you re approaching 30 like I was. I remember always feeling depressed. I left Nigeria thereafter and all the stress and nagging vanished into thin air. I focused on my studies and was waiting on God and He did not dissapoint.

  12. fisa

    June 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    EXACTLY!!!!! someone asked me when am i getting married knowing fully well that my relationship broke some months ago. I yelled at her and asked her if I would go and pack clay sand to create a MAN so that i can walk down the aisle.

    It can be annoying because some people are even indirectly using it to make jest or make fun of you.

  13. flora

    June 11, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Nice write up girl! Keep it up. There are some people who are some times idle or need you to feel they are interested in you and/want to be relevant in your life. These set of persons need you to pay them attention , even when they know they can not even help you in any way.
    Such people should be tolerated as their mission is to create news for them selves or are mere “busy bodies”. Many abound in our society where joblessness is prevalent. Ignore or pay no attention to their views. Well done! !

  14. ICANTDEAL

    June 11, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I’ve always said that Nigerians can be so rude, nosy and insensitive and social media has made it worse. Let’s not forget those that will make comments like “you’re getting fat o” or “watch your weight” on your instagram picture like the individual isn’t already aware and likely self conscious about it already.

    • Weez

      June 12, 2014 at 7:44 am

      @ I can’t deal, I know right, this random class dude I don’t even speak to comes to me, holds my hand and is like do you know you are growing fat, you’ve put on weight, Gawdd I felt like bitch slapping the guy and tearing his head off, gave him a piece of my mind was like you can’t just walk around sayn crap to ppl, now he approaches with caution.

  15. mimi

    June 11, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    exactly, seems like everyone has had some sort of experience with these nosy people. meanwhile i was reading a blog about how this girl age (36) was desperate to get married, obviously the pressure from society, family members, the poknosers etc… then she eventually met one guy on the plan. fast-forward oh… the guy proposed, they celebrated with friends, pknosers, family etc.. the following morning she caught her fiancé oh having sex with another man. both parties showed no remorse like they had every reason to.. the babe was devastated and obviously demanded an explanation, so her fiancé said that she was a target, since he overheard her talking about marriage and how shes desperate due to pressure from family, society, frnds etc…. he decided to use her in order to cover the fact that he is gay. The fiancé even had the mind to issue an ultimatum stating that she either marries him and get all the fame, money etc but obviously he continues his sexual relationship with the guy (gay tinzzz) or she calls it quits and walks away with nothing. either of the two his family and friends must not know about him being gay. my point is rushing into something like relationship or marriage takes more than looks but prayer and patience, you never know the real person and as for those people who keep asking stupid questions….. may God forgive them oh cause they have no idea what most of what they ask and say does and leads to….

  16. izzie

    June 11, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Thank you BN for addressing this appalling trend in Nigeria. Minding other people’s business seems to be the food for some people hence the rubbish questions. I got asked all those lousy questions before i got married but I always made sure to put the ‘asker’ in his or her place. In Nigeria if you are single you need to choose to be happy and own your happiness because nosy people and thier questions can subject you to unconscious depression and feeling unworthy because of either boyfriend, marriage or kids. To each his own. As our stories differ we must learn to respect each others life huddles and experiences and be more interested in offering support to one another instead of gossip, hate, competition, slander etc. May God help us all.

  17. Just Nosey

    June 11, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Great write up.

    Unfortunately people (Nigerians and non-Nigerians) will continue to be nosy. People are completely OBSESSED (especially now with social media) with knowing ANYONE’s personal business. If the details are tragic, the sweeter the juice! I think how one responds to people will let others know if they have an open invitation to prying mouths.

    Let’s call a spade a spade, we all know a certain “someone” who we DEAR not ask questions personal questions because either they will (a.) verbally berate you or (b.) they will directly or indirectly tell you to mind your business. I have found that back in my single days when they asked such questions I would just stare at them. I wouldn’t respond JUST STARE.. Trust in most cases the question will not come again.

  18. mimi

    June 11, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    @just nosey i should probably start the just stare routine to those nosey people!!

  19. Meh

    June 11, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    As a gloriously single woman I have developed some defenses for those who know more than me. 1. I have cut off from social media all those who do not need to know my business and I am very careful what I share. A word of encouragement and jokes are pretty much it.
    2. Instagram … Zero pictures of myself/ family. I focus on the beauty of Gods work in nature in my beloved Nigeria and things I find interesting like baking.
    Anyone who knows me had my phone number and I will happily update you over iyan and Efo riro with cold water 🙂

  20. Yours Truly

    June 11, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks so very much for this amazing write up. I’m sick and tired of people asking me when I’m getting married – Mind your business!

    yourstrulyblogposts.blogspot.com

  21. NNENNE

    June 12, 2014 at 2:29 am

    Well said!

  22. Miss Mo

    June 12, 2014 at 3:40 am

    Even when you directly or indirectly try to dissuade people, some just don’t get it or simple don’t know how to take cues/hints. Sheesh……

    I have learnt no matter what you do, some people just don’t know how to act/talk or are just plain uncouth. The sooner you cut them off the better or just distance yourself.

    The ones that are friends or act like they are being the worst, especially when they act under the pretense of checking on you or like they care.

    People should learn how to respect others space and privacy including your friends too.

  23. kehinde

    June 12, 2014 at 10:57 am

    When you post personal details on social media be ready for both the praise and the criticism.
    You can never predict the reaction of people even friends and family online.

  24. Steego

    June 14, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Seun, this is a nice write up with so much topics embedded in the whole article. It is a very sensitive issue that has to be approached from a lot of angles. One of them being ”Cultural” I don’t mean this as in the African or Nigerian Tribal Customs, which is a ‘wahala’ in itself.
    Please correct me if I wrong here, our mannerisms are devoid of your requested decorum for minding what we say about others. I have heard young educated people talk in public and their choice of words amaze me things like calling some one FAT, using the eff word, swearing left right and centre etc. And they do this with no remorse at all. Some of them even feel Americanized and feel hip. Now in this same way they treat the discussion of your main topic. Every one seems to know you and have an idea what you need to do to get it right even if they have been living in the wrong zone all their lives.

    As per your mention of infertility, i advise you write on that as a full topic that should run for weeks because there is a lot of misconception on that topic which is so unfair to you womenfolk.

    Thank you for bringing this topics to the fore front for you young ones (LOL) to talk about but once in a while we ‘older ones’ will chip in here and there.

    Point of note, our culture is not sensitive. It is loud and never private. It has it’s pros and cons. One just hast find a balance that works for you and your family, nuclear and extended. My opinion entirely.

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