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Toyosi Phillips: There’s No Space!

Toyosi Phillips

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I got a message about a month ago from someone I hadn’t spoken to in over 5 years. We were good friends in college but lost touch after graduation so I was really shocked when I received an animated message from him on social media that read something like:

“Toyosi!! Wow!!! It is so good to reconnect with you!! Is there a number I can reach you on?” While I was still thinking of a courteous reply to send, he sent, “We used to be good friends, what happened?”

I was perplexed.

I really wanted to reply saying, “I don’t understand”.

Me last year may have been super-excited about reconnecting with an old friend and rekindling the fire of the good friendship that we had but me this year read that email and immediately thought to myself, “there’s no space!”

Where would I start from during the conversation when he calls? So I would have to discuss what I’ve been doing since I left college with yet another person. I would have to talk about the major decisions I’ve made, the friends he knew I had then that I’m no longer friends with, why I’m no longer friends with them, the friends he knew I had then that I’m still friends with, what each of them is up to, the ex/current boyfriends, what they are up to, and any other piece of information that he may be interested in during the phone call. And it won’t end there! I’d have to ask him the same questions and listen to any other piece of information he chooses to share with me and then update him regularly and be there when he wants to update me.

I’m sorry I can’t.

There’s no space and no time to start investing in rekindling the beautiful friendship that we had. Yes it was beautiful but there’s just no space right now.

It’s not everyone who comes back knocking on the door of your life that you should grant entry to and it’s not everyone that is entitled to the current information and mysteries of your heart. Doesn’t the Good Book say to guard our hearts with all diligence?

My friend, Ola once said, “My life is a sold out concert, if you lose your ticket, you may never get back in”.

It’s O.K. to tell yourself that there’s simply no space for any more people and not feel guilty about it. Don’t stretch yourself thin trying to give everyone room in your life, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice! If you are stretched thin already and another person comes around, trying to get close/be a confidant, let your conversation go somewhat like this:

Him/Her:      Knock knock

You:                Who’s there?

Him/Her:      Taiwo from 1973

You:                NO SPACE!!

 Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Birgit Reitz-hofmann

Toyosi Phillips is a Lagos-based producer, presenter and writer. She produced and hosted “The Gist with Toyosi Phillips”, an entertainment show on SaharaTV New York for two seasons and co-hosted Sahara FM's weekly radio show from 2014 to 2015. She guest-writes for different publications including Bellanaija and Genevieve Magazine and is quick to mention to everyone that she saw Oprah at the 2016 Essence Festival in New Orleans. Her vlog turned talk show, "As Toyo Sees" will be airing on networks world wide soon. For more news and updates, - Subscribe to her YouTube channel (Toyosi Phillips) - Check out her website www.toyosiphillips.com - Follow and interact with her on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn @toyosiphillips

51 Comments

  1. baboushka

    August 18, 2014 at 1:10 am

    As somebody who just very recently lost a very good friend I hadn’t spoken to in a few years I strongly disagree with this post. Words cannot describe the pain, the regret that I feel for not reaching out to this person not acknowledging their messages and knowing that I can never make amends at least not on earth. It is important to keep in touch with people a text here, a birthday card here, a Christmas greeting it doesn’t have to be much a simple hey how are you doing hope all is well twice or thrice a year is more than enough for people you no longer have “space” for.

  2. Lmao, Taiwo from 1973, what’s he looking for in 2014? Is he lost?

  3. momar

    August 18, 2014 at 1:35 am

    Love this!!!

  4. benny

    August 18, 2014 at 1:37 am

    U couldn’t have said it any better. I just don’t have the space for a lot of people; I don’t even have for a few beyond family. I don’t know how some of you do it but I can’t. Perhaps my case is peculiar seeing as my mum continually stressed the need to be friends with my siblings and not seek validation nor unnecessary relationships outside. We grew up having all the dynamics of friendship within the 4 of us. I barely have space for anyone beyond that.
    Human relationships are really complex and most of these interactions are necessary. Save urself the stress. No man is an island? Well no man is a continent either. Learn to accept that some relationships are unnecessary; no space!

  5. Steph

    August 18, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Reconnecting doesn’t necessarily mean telling them everything that is going on with you. If the friendship didn’t end on bad terms or if the people in touch lost contact for reasons that weren’t bad or a fall=out then it wouldn’t hurt to reconnect. Don’t burn bridges all in the name of “no space”, you might just be kicking someone that might help you out.

  6. Dora the explorer

    August 18, 2014 at 2:55 am

    This post is with the best intension for you, yes you (Jane Dough).. Be polite while at the “there is no space” juncture. I get this a lot simply because I have chosen not to participate in social Networking sites and what not.. So being non-existent in the cyber sphere does bring a lot of Taiwos from 1973 but yea, I can mostly tell when its out of sheer curiosity or genuine care from these old friends.. Be nice!

  7. dizzy

    August 18, 2014 at 4:08 am

    I have to disagree with this one.
    who are you? the president? that you can not spare a few minutes for someone that you once called a close friend.
    please that attitude is wrong and prideful. simple and short!!

    Haba!!! okay, now try and count how many people you know, can you compare it to a celebrity or a government official? yet these people still find time to be nice and accommodating to new people, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    That your friend has a very inflated sense of self worth, sold out concert ke? oya now, let her be in financial crisis she will look for all her concert goers and not find even one.

    • labisi

      August 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      LMAOOOOO

    • [email protected]

      August 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      Hi dizzy,

      I think you’re missing the point here. The article is simply drilling holes in the attempt to rekindle dead relationships based on gossip. People who unnecessarily spread rumours about you ‘n’ yours all in the name of forming familiar.

      We all have such old acquaintances who want to poke into your new improved life but were never there when things weren’t so good. I know I do…and after reading this, my response is, No space!

  8. Carliforniabawlar

    August 18, 2014 at 4:14 am

    IMHO, Its never that serious….but thats just me, I’m never one to make folks feel as though being my friend were a privilege, I recently reconnected with a good friend from undergad on facebook. I last saw her 2010 at her wedding. I got her number but I’ve been so busy and haven’t gotten around to calling her, so I do understand where you are coming from….yea, I may not have the time to get into a detailed conversation just yet, but I can’t say I wasn’t excited about the few messages we got to exchange.
    Quick story, 2003, my sister (the 1st child) got posted to Markurdi for her service year, my mum was so nervous and was almost not going to let my sister stay after camp until she remembered someone she had gone to law school with 24yrs before who was from Benue.
    Long story short, momsi found the lady and she took care of my sister the entire year.
    My story might seem a lil far fetched, but i’ll go ahead to say even in the few years that I have lived, most if not all of my friendships till date have been mutually beneficial, from giving me the hook-up on a job to a smile, a laugh and listening ear….I have learned to be grateful for them all.
    It’s youth that makes us feel as though our lifes are so full….the older and more mature we get, we better understand and cherish the power of friendships and even acquaintances.
    Take a deep breath and reconsider before you go around dismissing folks from the rock concert that is your life.
    Oh!! @baboushka, Aki! you are right 😀

    • Bent

      August 18, 2014 at 6:54 am

      You are on point. In my opinion, this is a quite arrogant approach to life by the writer and the friend. But each to his own sha.

    • www.thelmathinks.blogspot.com

      August 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Exactly! It’s really not that serious. Someone took the time to seek you out and reconnect, the least you can do is be polite. Trust me, I get that no-space feeling but be honest with yourself, have you really been stretched so thin that there’s no room for a simple ‘hihellohowareyou’? Also I need to point out that you’re so wrong about all the details you guys would have to discuss, what gives you the impression he’ll even want to talk about those things either? Anyhoo, each to her/his own. I just think it’s really not that serious. It’s not a marriage proposal, it’s not a BFF request, it’s simply one human reaching out to another.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      August 18, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      I’ll match your story about your elder sister. I was posted to the far North-East of Nigeria for my service year and like your sis, who I wan take know for there? Unlike your mum, mine was very zen about carting me off into the unknown, she said I shouldn’t worry that it’ll all work out.

      And it kinda did because you’ll never guess who I met at the NYSC camp in the first few days of being there. This lovely girl who was full of smiles and so happy to see me again after all those years ago that I’d left the first Uni I attended for a yr and a half before leaving to study law at another Uni. Ladies and gents, my brief stint at that first Uni was from 1995-early 1997. This girl hadn’t seen me for more than 7 years before we reconnected at the camp and to be completely honest with you (which I was with her as well), I didn’t even recognize her. Hadn’t a clue who she was when she introduced herself to me but her great attitude made us friends again right there in camp. And how glad was I later on? Turned out she wasn’t planning to spend anytime at all in that state for the rest of her service year but since I was posted to the NDLEA, I had to stay back for quite a bit of time and at a point, I was struggling to find accommodation. Well, my friend just happened to have relatives right there in that Northern town, who had a guest room to spare and she very happily introduced me to her Uncle and Aunty, who in turn took me under their roof, no questions asked.

      It was one of the kindest experiences of my life and I’ll always be very grateful to Ify and her extended family for their unprecedented charity. As it turns out, we still haven’t really kept in touch since we last saw each other at the NYSC passing out ceremony in August 2004 but I can tell you right now that I’ll never forget what she did and if my phone rang today or in 10 years time, with her on the other end, there’ll be plenty of room to accommodate her even after all these years of being incommunicado.

  9. Wale Ariyo

    August 18, 2014 at 5:33 am

    There is nothing wrong in reconnecting with an old folks, just need to be very careful while you do that.
    Most times we need ths folks to stand tall when we fell.

  10. lc

    August 18, 2014 at 6:57 am

    @Carliforniabawlar you are indeed right….

  11. Eva

    August 18, 2014 at 7:54 am

    I don’t agree with this post. It was an old friend that helped me when I was posted to serve in Kano state. We had lost touch and when I saw Kano I called him. We were friends back in school.. My friend move to USA last year and called me, we are close again. If you are talking of acquaintances yes I get you, but someone that was truly your friend and life separated you I disagree.

  12. medulla oblongata

    August 18, 2014 at 8:05 am

    I bet you’d have space for him if he were well connected and could provide an entry into places you desire to go. Hmm. No space, eh? I guess it depends on who’s asking.

    • magh

      August 18, 2014 at 9:24 am

      correct correct.!! what do you mean no space ?? if he had something you could benefit from..you would have time wouldn’t you ?

    • oj

      August 18, 2014 at 10:31 am

      God bless you. That’s what i thought too. If he was well connected, working in one of the multinationals, it would be a different story.

  13. ernest

    August 18, 2014 at 8:33 am

    at list hear him out

  14. lonely girl

    August 18, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Toyosi really dont think this is a fair opinion. Steve Jobs is quoted saying ” you can never connect the dots looking forward, you connect it looking backward”. never despise anyone. Be friendly, you dont need to reveal your secrets just be nice. You never know when they would be useful. Believe me, every nonSENSE person you meet has some SENSE in them. 🙂

    • Gafar Olamilekan Alamu

      August 20, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      FACT#GBAM

  15. Nice

    August 18, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Y is there no space for him?

    he jilted you back then?
    your relationship with him ended on a bad note?
    you are dating sum1 now so no space for him>
    your level has passed that, and you are so big for those kind of friends?
    What if he was divinely sent?

    You know how many ladies he must have met from then (1973) till now? if he remembers you, count it as a honour that someone remembers you as against your porous self that doesn’t reach out to anyone.

    long hisssss.
    Proud people everywhere with nothing to show for it

    Angels are strangers waiting to manifest!
    I just smh for young girls that take every silly advice from the net and apply to their lives!

    • Carliforniabawlar

      August 18, 2014 at 9:58 am

      I know!! I had to comment ‘cos I know some trendy impressionable chick in her early 20’s is going to read this and be like “Yass!! You aint ever lied!! this is the gospel!! Love this!”

      In Drake’s?? voice “Don’t do it, please don’t do it……”

    • Oje

      August 18, 2014 at 10:55 am

      Love this comment above. Really arrogant of the writer especially when she has nothing to show for it. I bet shes referring to some ex that jilted her….sad that people still think the world revolves around em.

    • Bird's Eye

      August 18, 2014 at 11:50 am

      Maybe because I know Toyosi personally, I know that this did not come from a bad place. People need to know that over 95% of friends are there for a time and season. You don’t need to regain closeness with every close friend you’ve had in the past.

      I don’t think she’s saying don’t reconnect or don’t be nice to old friends when they come your way. Just don’t feel the need to immediately welcome them into your inner circe and be welcomed by them into theirs when you meet again. It goes both ways.

    • Mimi

      August 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      I totally agree; knowing Toyosi personally as well, you couldn’t have explained it better. Quite simply, do not feel an obligation to be as close to someone as you once were; times change and people change with them too. Still, go through life with as open a heart as possible.

  16. Finegirl

    August 18, 2014 at 10:48 am

    In my opinion, Toyosi is saying: ‘there’s no space in my life for you to be as close a friend as you were back then’. I don’t think she’s saying she won’t even talk to Old Friend.

    But… It may be wise to be open minded to Old friends, you might reconnect and it’s actually effortless and easy to build a close friendship again that enriches your life, or as some have said, you never know when you’ll need the contact of said friend/acquaintance.

    Choosing who to be (close) friends with is a very very personal thing and sometimes your intuition rules over what is reasonable.

    • Ayo

      August 18, 2014 at 11:51 am

      Exactly

  17. From Cambridgeshire

    August 18, 2014 at 10:58 am

    People come to into our lives for a reason and a season – some we remain close to and sadly with others we drift apart. The reality of life is that people will drift in and out of your life. Atimes you can’t find time for everyone, especially after marriage and kids.

    My approach is I have different levels of friendship:
    There are my close circle of friends and family who know pretty much everything about me, and I know I can always count on them.
    Then I have the friends level – my kids’ friends’ parents that are on the friends level, co-workers that are on the friends level & some family members. These people are kinda in between – we meetup for drinks or coffee, invite each other to parties, plan play dates with the kids. However, they are not in my close circle – I don’t confide in them.
    Then there are the acquintances – from work, church, kids’ friends’ parents on the acquitance level, my family members that I’m not so close to but we exchange pleasantries.
    Last on the list are my social media friends – mostly from primary school, highschool, University and some family members as well, These are mostly people I’ve lost touch with but reconnected via social media. Its great to see how everyone is doing across the world and sometimes we catchup like once a year on the phone – I don’t see anything wrong with that. Life has taken us to different places but its okay to stay connected,

    By the way, I feel bad when some people who know me from primary school or high school add me on Facebook, but because I don’t remember them, I don’t accept their friend requests. Atimes the face looks familiar or the name rings a bell. However, if I don’t recall them vividly, I can’t let them into my life – I hope they don’t think I’m a snob.

    mormusicgroup.blogspot.co.uk

  18. Noksis

    August 18, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I can understand the view that Toyosi is coming from. However like the first commenter said, until you loosed someone to death, you never know their value. If someone is making an effort to come back into your life do acknowledge them and be civil to them . You dont have to be friends as you used to or share all used to share. Just be civil and careful Dont shut them out. You never know.

  19. MJ

    August 18, 2014 at 11:23 am

    If I were you Madam Toyosi, I would be careful with my no space analogy.

    Like Californiabawler explained above, I have a similar story.

    In the 80s, my dad helped a family in old Gongola state (Sokoto) of today. They were rich and well known back then like “old money” sort of rich but he never accepted or asked for anything in return.

    Fast forward 2007, my dad just called one of the sons to pick me up when I arrived Sokoto for school at UDUS. I ended up staying in their house.

    Lesson: not every time NO SPACE. Sometimes, cut some slack. Personally, I won’t let people in too but heyyy “We all need something”–Brymo, Chocolate Records, 2012. 🙂 Heehee I just had to..

  20. My 2 cents

    August 18, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I agree with you and I’m not sure what the ooh haas in some of the above comments is about. She is stating her opinion don’t slate her for that. If you have all the time in the world for every single person on earth you meet then kudos to you and clap for yourself. Not everyone does. As long as you have an amicable relationship with the person and there is no hard feelings like each person go their way where necessary. No chance, is no chance. It’s not by force!

    • ade

      August 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      2 cents, read this article again and u will see the writer did not even specify about the kind of people not to have space for, there are certain people u lock the door to but for people who used to be very good friends with you like she said they had a beautiful friendship, you dont lock them out, how many beautiful friendships could she testify to having right now? your realest G’s are peeps you knew way back…and as a lot of people have said, if the person was a billionaire or governor or important, will she be thinking “no space:???? Toyosi is definitely feeling like a big gurl now…lol

    • Nigerians sha

      August 18, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      I’m sure you are part of Toyosi’s past now hence the bitter comment. It’s one thing to peruse, it’s another to read and comprehend. I’ve taken the time to copy and I will take the time to paste and emphasize the part that addresses your concerns.

      If you are STRETCHED THIN ALREADY and ANOTHER PERSON COMES AROUND, TRYING TO GET CLOSE/BE A CONFIDANT….

      Let us as a people learn to read with understanding and the number of beautiful friendships she has right now is her business. Why do you want to make it yours?

  21. Wendy

    August 18, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I totally agree with you Toyosi. I’ve had to ignore some people over the years because I was a different person when we were ‘close’ and right now I am not looking to be brought down. They will live without me as I will without them.
    You guys, what are you on about connections please? It’s not that serious.

  22. KDK

    August 18, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Well, it depends on who’s coming back. My EX has been trying to call me recently after making it clear we couldn’t be friends anymore. Hell no! I’ve got no space!

    • Nigerians sha

      August 18, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      LOLOLLLL!!!

  23. TAD

    August 18, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    i equally do not agree wit dis post. well, not like i have to cos am sure it doesnt really change the writers opinion. perhaps if the old friend happens to have made it big, has recognition and connection u can tap into, u wouldnt mind if he/she is calling from preparatory class. ………………….msheww………………..taking a walk.

  24. Baba70

    August 18, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Very Sploofick young lady! the peice is quite mandoliviously mikovious

  25. RealityCheck

    August 18, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I get where the writer is coming from. Reminds me of how shallow I used to think in my secondary school days. Back when I thought I was hot shit.

    1, who says this old friend wants to go back to being really close? He might just be trying to reconnect with you because he hasn’t heard from you in over five years. Perhaps making sure you’re still alive. Maybe the writer assumes he/ she had the upper hand in this friendship, is better connected so can’t be bothered with an old friend that has nothing to offer.

    2, like someone else pointed out. If this old friend was perhaps president Jonathan’s pa, our dear writer will have plenty of space for him or her. Unless the writer hasn’t made any new friends or connections recently, I find it hard to believe there is no space, just no space for someone the writer may consider irrelevant.

    Well enjoy being hot shit right now. And being the star of your sold out concert. But this attitude would leave u with revolving door like friendships. People going in and out too frequently.

    I agree, don’t stretch yourself thin, you can’t be friends with the whole world. Not every friend is a close friend. People change in six months, heck you may no longer have anything in common with this old friend after five years. But you and your friend with the quote have your heads so far up your asses, you don’t see how that quote is the ultimate douchebag statement. (I mean the writer didn’t come up with this self-absorbed quote but definitely thought it was brilliant and decided to add it to the article) May pride not let you miss out on someone that may actually better your life, be it an old, current or new friend. Sold out concert, pure jokes

  26. Miss Anonymous

    August 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I totally agree with Baboushka.
    A childhood friend of mine called out of the blue early this year and I have been meaning to return her call.
    I just sent her a message on WhatsApp and she’s responded 🙂

  27. NaijaPikin

    August 18, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    I think if Toyosi had listed the kind of people not to have space for, it would have made her point clearer. I love to reunite with old friends, but one has to be careful these days oh…..no space for you if

    – You can’t explain in clear terms what you do for a living (I no wan connect with odu folks)
    – If our lifestyle just doesn’t gel…….(i don’t do drugs, i no dey party 24/7, no drink and drive kinda steeze, no talking about pple, you get)
    – if you are full of negativity.

    so i’ll sha hear you out at 1st, feel you out, and decide if this will work. Like someone mentioned some people are only meant to be in your life for a season. And remember pple change. Good pple turn bad, but bad pple also turn good.

  28. Olumolade

    August 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Haba….I think most of us are missing Toyosi’s point. Most commenters seem to be too presumptuous and are attacking her for no reason. Like Mimi and Bird’s Eye have said, her message is clearly not coming from a pompous place. Yes, she has a big personality and her point may be misconstrued as such. At the end of day, it’s not just anyone who resurfaces in your life that you give key & padlock to your heart immediately, just like that. No questions asked. It takes time and wisdom. Please let’s be more constructive with our criticisms and not be quick to assume/judge. Do you even know the dynamics of the relationship between her and said boy? “if you are stretched thin already…” Read between the lines. Read the last paragraph again, lol ahan exercise your sense of humour.

  29. Made

    August 18, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    I haven’t seen my friend since 2002 when her family relocated outside Nigeria. Sent her a message on Facebook few weeks back….guess I’d be staying at her place when I’m on vacation since i know no one there…she may told me “There’s no space” too..

  30. K...

    August 18, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    I dont think the writer meant dont talk to old friends, what I took away from this is dont make space for everyone that comes from your past, not everyone should be your close friend, as someone who has kinda lost a friendship with someone, i totally understand that she doesn’t want that friendship again. Because our season has passed. Do we still check in on each other occasionally, yes! But there is no space for me in her life anymore. Anyway i think we can all express our opinions without bashing the writer for hers……. But what do i know *shrug*

  31. Elle

    August 18, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    personally i find this writeup quite illogical. it probably was an attempt for humour but advocating that u shouldnt reconnect with past friends doesn’t make sense to me unless of course u have really moved on and not in the mood to reignite things. otherwise there is absolutely nothing wrong with reconnecting with someone from ur past. The writer’s argument is seriously flawed and needs further justification for slamming the other party with ”no space” rather than giving us a very subjective view probably based on her personal issues.

  32. yourstrulyblogposts.blogspot.com

    August 19, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Lol, Toyosi from 1973 – How hilarious! While I agree with you, I do not completely agree with you. I love to reconnect with old friends, however some of them especially guys take the piss. They pester you like no man’s business!

  33. Toin

    August 20, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    [email protected] from 1973. There apparently were no emails, phones and stuff then… *flees*
    I hear your message loud and clear though

  34. Koffie

    August 21, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I agree with what Carlifoniabawler said… We could miss out on great things while trying to be oh too busy. I however do get that this article was partly an attempt at humour but its argument is flawed.
    You could try being civil and who says the ‘reconnecter’ was seeking to be close with you again. The writer made assumptions as to how the conversation would go and could be wrong. I once reached out to an old friend using facebook and got no reply from her, no space. I respect that and its her choice. But lets not go bearing up the no space banner out of pride. Who knows what tomorrow holds and if you’ll still need the person’s help later?
    That closing line…Taiwo from 1973, hilarious.

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