Connect with us


Titilayo Olurin: Love, Attraction and Everything in Between

Do not force non-existent feelings on yourself or on someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you. You are setting yourself up for heartache, either way.

Avatar photo



As I sat at my desk, on one idle Monday evening at the office and long after work hours, dreading the arduous journey on the third mainland bridge back to my house, I scrolled aimlessly through my WhatsApp messages. Nestled into a recent chat were the words I stopped to read: “Let’s be friends!”

It was random and out of the blue. I had sent it to someone in the middle of a chat about work. Yet, the recipient’s response suggested that he had anticipated it. “Yes, please. Let’s!” his message read. We were colleagues who had, ironically, not met. Our conversations almost never went beyond websites, articles, headlines and bylines. But they were such great conversations that it was hard to tell that we had not known each other that long. We were in sync, almost like we always knew what the other was thinking.

So when, on one of my dark days, the desire for friendship gnawed at me, he was the one I wanted to turn to and let into my solitary world of books and boots, mood swings and weird food cravings. Once I made up my mind about this, I sent the text that marked the beginning of a friendship that would bloom and blossom for months after, just the way I imagined.

But why did I want to be friends with this particular person? Weren’t there other colleagues that I could be friends with? Why did I choose him and not some other person?

Good ol’ chemistry

“There are some people that you just love. They are not perfect but there’s something about them that you find endearing. There are others that you meet and, for some reason you can’t explain, you can’t stand them. Or maybe you can, but won’t,” says Ire Odedokun, a private music tutor for children.

Truth is, we are naturally drawn to some people and not others. Just as we are attracted to A and want to date them while we cringe at the thought of dating B. It could be because these people we like, love or are attracted to share our interests, hobbies, ideals, values, beliefs and principles, move in the same circles as we do, or tick off all the right boxes on our list (friendship or dating). It could also be because they are our spec, possessing those physical attributes that make us attracted to them. Sometimes, it could be something as seemingly small as the way they laugh or speak, the way they think and act, or the way they make us feel about ourselves. And yet other times, it is good old chemistry. You know, when you are at peace or comfortable with someone even before getting to know them? When you instantly click with someone and you both just fit perfectly? That’s chemistry!

Chemistry is not limited to just romantic relationships or opposite-sex friendships. In 2020, at my former place of work, when I met a colleague, Elohor, for the first time, I was immediately drawn to her. We spilled our guts to each other like we had been friends our entire lives and could trust each other with our deepest secrets.

“How come we’re talking like friends already?” I asked when I finally paused for breath after talking for what might have been hours.

“Because we have chemistry,” she responded without even thinking about it.

You may find that there is no particular reason why you have chemistry. You just do – the same way you cannot explain why you feel a spark with someone as soon as you meet them. And no, I am not talking about infatuation. Often, though, you have chemistry with someone because you can connect on some level – intellectually, emotionally or physically. What I had with my colleague was intellectual chemistry, which made it easy for us to have great conversations. Some people have the emotional chemistry or connection that makes them open and vulnerable with each other, and also makes communication easy. Yet others have the physical kind of chemistry. Some others have all three.

Chemistry is not isolated. It relates to other feelings like love or fondness. And just as you have a deep affection only for certain people a partner or best friend, you do not have chemistry with everyone.

Whatever it is that you feel – chemistry, love et al, the fact that there is a natural connection with someone makes building a relationship, platonic or romantic, easy. You do not have to force conversations, you are genuinely happy to spend time with them, and you are excited at the thought of doing things with and for them. A text or phone call from them could make your day.

“My eyes light up when I get text messages from some people. I grin or laugh out loud. But there are others whose text messages I read and hiss. It is not really about the content of the texts, it is about the sender,” says Odedokun.

Why do we love some and not others?

On the other hand, when there is no connection with someone, you struggle to maintain a relationship with them. Communication is difficult, spending time with them is tedious, and phone calls or texts from them could be suffocating. You have no urge to reach out to them and you are alarmed at the thought of them reaching out to you. You do not just gel with some people or feel, vibe or flow with them, no matter how hard you try.

“Someone asked me out a couple of years ago. He was probably the most decent guy I ever met in my entire life. But I was not feeling him, even when I tried to,” Odedokun says.

Perhaps this would explain why some people love you with everything they have and would give an arm to be with you, but you would rather slit your throat than be with them. You are probably there pining over someone else who does not care about your existence. I recently blocked someone on my phone because of his relentless love notes and poems. He was wearing me out and thin with the poems, which he sent at the oddest hours. Yet, only last year, I was almost grovelling at someone’s feet to unblock me. How ironic!

So, why do we love some and not others? It is not that we hate them or anything, especially if they have done nothing wrong. We just do not have a connection with them, we share nothing in common. They do not tick off any of our boxes and they are not our spec. It is why we cannot be friends with everyone, why we get along with certain people and not others. It is the same reason why we cannot force an attraction or bond, love or relationship, whether romantic or not. Some think that they can, but in reality, forcing an attraction that does not exist is like getting blood from a stone.

“I gave myself some months to see if I could feel that person, but I couldn’t. I had to tell him it won’t work. I felt bad, but I couldn’t afford to be in a relationship with someone I wasn’t feeling,” Odedokun says.

Of course, we want the bliss that comes from knowing that the feeling is mutual, but there is only so much we can do. So, do not force non-existent feelings on yourself or on someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you. You are setting yourself up for heartache, either way.


Featured image: Dreamstime

Titilayo Olurin is a writer whose stories and articles have been published on various online platforms. A love junkie, as she often describes herself, Titilayo is on radio every week talking about relationships, dating and family. She spends most of her time curating and creating content around these same topics on her Instagram page @toastlinewithteetee. You can connect with her on Instagram and Twitter @titilayo_olurin.

Star Features