1. Honesty
  2. Communication
  3. Accountability
  4. Respect
  5. Fairness

These are the five values that I’ve realized I value the most in my relationships. Starting off with honesty, it goes without saying that a solid relationship cannot exist with a foundation of lies and deceit. Honesty and trust are vital to the longevity of a connection and as a result, the moment I begin to doubt the security in a relationship, that relationship is doomed. In my opinion, second-guessing locations and motives are a recipe for disaster. Communication goes hand in hand with honesty and accountability: Let me know when I’ve overstepped and I’ll refrain from doing so again. An open flow of communication allows all parties involved to feel heard and appreciated and often, people simply want to be heard out. Furthermore, taking accountability for mistakes and making efforts to rectify them builds trust and confidence between people and maintains mutual respect. 

In Nigerian culture, most of these values are held in high regard by the general public. But by a loud minority, they’ve been slightly warped. You MUST respect your elders…but don’t expect them to treat you the same. It’s not necessarily a two-way street. You’re expected to be accountable for your actions… but allow your elders to dodge responsibility, with the excuse of  “ they’re from a different time”. Always be honest…until you’re in a position of power as we watch our leaders brazenly embezzle millions of Naira. It really sucks to watch the individuals tasked with lifting our nation out of a rut suck the life out of it.

Within different cultural contexts, I do my best to keep my values consistent. However, the saying when in Rome do as the Romans do is always at the forefront of my mind. In environments where brutal honesty is frowned upon, I would be shooting myself in the foot by remaining direct and confrontational. Modes of communication may vary from place to place and it’s wise to adapt to the situation I may find myself in. Paying attention to the values that are prioritized in new spaces may just provide one with a new perspective.