We’ve seen frenemies in a lot of television and movie dramas but we are not clear on how to deal with them. These are the characters who typically start out as the main character’s good friend and turn out to be their worst enemy in the end. Common sense would say that we should put them on the list of toxic people we should avoid. But in reality, they can be hard to spot from our actual friends.
What is A Frenemy?
A frenemy can be someone you count as one of your friends. They can also be a colleague or even a family member. They keep up a friendly appearance and may even pretend to be supportive of you. In secret, they are actually sad when you win and happy when you fall into a negative situation.
In truth, all our friends are both our allies and our enemies. They can support us when we need them because they know us well. But they can also be our competitors especially in situations where you are both aiming for the same goals in different areas of life. For example, you might have a friend at work in the same department but you lead different teams. Depending on both your attitudes; you could have a healthy competition or become frenemies.
Comparison among friends is a normal occurrence but we usually laugh off our insecurities and show support for our friends to reassure them and boost their confidence. However, when one friend harbors feelings of resentment, envy, jealousy, and even anger towards another; then they might become a frenemy.
How to Spot Them
Frenemies are common in social circles and it is all because of our human nature. It is natural for us to compare our own lives with that of our friends. That is why there are some people who become addicted to social media interactions. Whether we admit it or not; those likes do boost our view of ourselves even if just a little. It is up to us to take the likes and compliments, as well as the criticisms, with a grain of salt. Essentially, a person becomes a frenemy as a consequence of protecting their own ego. Instead of reflecting on themselves, they resort to blaming the object of their frustrations, which is usually the person they envy.
Here are some signs that you are around a frenemy:
- Show signs of jealousy for your achievements like avoiding to compliment you or they blame you for their failures.
- Find underhanded ways to hurt you such as delivering hurtful remarks that they claim to be a joke or praise others instead of you.
- Talk behind your back or give negative feedback about you that they claim are from other persons talking about you behind your back.
- Ask you lots of questions but don’t actually give back supportive advice or they give you useless or even harmful advice.
- Sabotaging you through passive-aggressive behavior such as making deliberate mistakes that damage your reputation or hurt your feelings.
- They might say nice words to you but their body language show just the opposite.
They Are Around You
It is hard to spot a frenemy among one’s friends. Frenemies usually develop in our social circles where everyone is of almost similar level in life. That is because, they are the people who can beat your or the ones you can beat in your work environment or even in pursuing your other life goals.
One of the telltale signs of a frenemy is that they have an ambivalent relationship with you. In different situations, friends can show their support or their clear disapproval of your actions or experience. In the case of frenemies, you will have a nagging feeling that they are often ambivalent in their reactions towards you. You don’t really feel their clear support or disapproval on anything relating to you and your circumstances. Or they might do just the opposite. Showing their support or disapproval in an overly enthusiastic way so you won’t discover that they’re just pretending.
What To Do
The best way to deal with a frenemy is to make them your friends. Usually they are intimidated and envious of your success. Don’t rub your success in their faces; bring them along with you and show them you support them too. Build them up in front of your other friends. For example, you can introduce them to another friend who can help them with their passion project. Or ask them to volunteer with your for a cause you both are passionate about.
If you are finding it difficult to deal with a frenemy, then the best way is to slowly lessen interaction with them. This is similar to how you would manage toxic relatives. You need to be more proactive in defending and protection yourself If it is clear that your frenemy is out to destroy you.
The good news is that frenemies often change overtime. When they achieve their own success or realize that the object of their jealousy is actually a supportive friend; they do become real friends. Reflect on yourself too. There may be times in your life when you were secretly someone’s frenemy as well. Take note that we will encounter different frenemies at different stages in life. So they will come and go and we might not even notice them. We should always try our best to be understanding of those around us and reflect on our own actions and reactions. This way, we can lessen the risk of becoming someone’s frenemy.
Feature Image: Photo by Obie Fernandez on Unsplash.