Counselling Since 1987

Counselling Since 1987

Recently, my father hosted a meeting for the Government College Ibadan (GCI) Old Boys Association of which he is a member. To this meeting came the wife of one of the old boys - Mrs. Lola Otulayo who worked alongside my mother back when they were in the Minaj Broadcasting Company together.

I didn't remember her, or even my relationship to her but as soon as I saw her I thought she was a very good-looking woman. So when my mother began to regale me with tales of how I used to chase away the men that followed her back in those days, I could see why I would have been protective of her. I imagine she was even better looking back then.

In particular, the story of how I assessed one potential suitor for this aunt of mine and thus convinced her to never see him again had me rolling on the floor laughing. Even more hilarious to me was the fact that after that incident, my aunt made sure to schedule potential suitor visits at times when I would be in the office to give my expert opinion. Keep in mind that I was only about 6 at the time.

Apparently at that first incident, I essentially told her that the guy looked so scruffy that there was no way he could take care of anybody when he obviously couldn't take care of himself! LOL! Needless to say, he from thenceforth made sure to see her in my absence. It's funny how time doesn't change everything. I may be older and supposedly more mature now but I still "counsel" women much older than myself today - and I thoroughly enjoy it.

A lot of my best friendships are born out of "counselling" and I don't discriminate. Older, younger, same-age, my words are free for all women. I tell it like it is and whether you choose to listen or not is up to you. I've known that I enjoy doing this for a while but I didn't think it went as far back as age 6. WOW! Isn't that crazy!? I must have come out of the womb with a PHD in Psychiatry because I love to sit back and listen to women talk about their problems then brainstorm with them on solutions.

Actually I think I just love to hear gist, and women tell the best stories. Because truth be told 99% of the time most women know what the solution to their problem is. Either that, or they've all but made up their minds on a course of action - for better or for worse. Such that the real reason they tell anyone (whether they know it or not) is to confirm their own suspicions about the side-effects of the action they are about to take.

I've realised that one of the reasons men get fed up with talking to women is that they treat it the same as if they were talking to a man. You tell me a problem -> we talk about it -> I give you my advice -> you use it (or not) -> we move on. Simple, straightforward, and fast. But the process of talking to women in my experience is fundamentally different! Because they don't need your advice. They just want someone to listen, empathise, and help them straighten out their own thoughts.

Once you accept that your role in the conversation is really more participatory than it is active, such conversations become a lot more fun. It's like listening to an interesting speech, you might nod your head, be moved to tears, throw in a few jokes... but for the most part you're being talked to not talked with and when it is indeed time for you to talk, you are then called upon. At this point you will be the one giving the speech and she will be the audience. That is if, she hasn't mentally sorted herself out before then.

So men, be patient when talking to your girlfriend, wife, daughter or female friend about their problems. They just need you to listen. You can throw in some advice but don't be surprised when it isn't taken or she tells you that's what she was thinking or whatever.

The conversation is less about your input, and more about their output.

That's it from me.

Yours truly,
Damola Mabogunje
Counselling Since 1987