Frenemies come into our life and tend to stay for a long time. They drain our energy and take advantage of us. This may sound like a toxic friend, but it’s more difficult to notice. Toxic people are easy to point out and walk away from. It’s easy to say no to a toxic friend, and put up a barrier. But what about a frenemy? Keep in mind a frenemy can be a friend, classmate, work colleague, family member, romantic partner, boss, or acquaintance. The thing about frenemies is that is takes you a long time to notice, and when you do, you start to question whether that person was always a frenemy or if the friendship evolved into one.
Did you know they are 3 types of frenemies?
- Ambivalent Frenemy: This type of friendship is where you get great things out of the relationship, but the negative outweighs the positive aspects. For example, you both are constantly competing or putting each other down.
- Long Term Frenemy: This type of friendship stems from knowing each other for a long time. You both have a history together, but now the friendship feels like a drag. You feel guilty ending the friendship because of all the experiences and good times you’ve had together.
- Involuntary Frenemy: This type of frenemy is difficult to stay away from. For instance, this person is part of your group of friends or even a coworker. In this case you are affected because if you try to distance yourself from this person it will affect your other relationships.
How to pinpoint a frenemy
- Dream Killers: Frenemies try to deter you from your dreams in a deceiving way. For example, they may say something like: “I don’t think it’s a good idea, I don’t want you to get hurt” or “I don’t think that will work, but what if you do this instead”?
- Undermining Your Accomplishments: When something exciting happens in your life, frenemies won’t give you credit. They may say something like: “You’re so lucky”. Instead of acknowledging all the hard work you have done.
- Passive Aggressive Comments: This is when a frenemy says something sarcastically mean and you don’t know whether it was intentional or a joke.
- Inappropriate Compliments: Frenemies may start out by saying something nice and then twisting it at the end. For example, “That dress looks so beautiful on you, you don’t look fat in it”.
- Disappear When Needed: Frenemies will be the kindest and most lovable people when they need something from you. They will compliment you, make you feel important. But when you need help, frenemies tend to give convincing excuses not to help you.
- Unnoticed Emotions: This happens when you aren’t fully aware of the negative feelings you have towards your frenemy, but after you spend time with them you may feel anxious or bad about yourself.
- Constant Competition: It doesn’t matter what you and your frenemy are doing, they always turn it into a competition. For example, you are playing basketball with them and they try to make a deal on who wins.
- They Aren’t Truly Happy for You: A true friend will mirror your excitement, but a frenemy won’t.
- Questioning If It’s Fun: When you are hanging out with a frenemy, you might catch yourself thinking: “Is this fun”? or “Am I having fun”?
- You Aren’t Sure If You like them: This occurs when you don’t like your frenemy, but you try to convince yourself that you do. You look for reasons why this friendship benefits you.
- You Feel Drained: During and after hanging out with a frenemy you feel completely drained of your energy. Its as if you have been running a marathon all day.
- Feelings of Guilt: This happens when you don’t want to be friends with your frenemy, but you are scared of hurting their feelings. This usually happens when it’s a long-term friendship, and you don’t know how to end it.
What to Do?
- Ask yourself:
- What keeps me connected to this relationship?
- How does this person make me feel?
- Do I trust them?
- Are they truly happy about my achievements?
- Speak Up: When a frenemy says something hurtful towards you. Don’t stay quiet, you won’t be able to control their behavior but you sure can stick up for yourself.
- Say NO when needed: You can still say no, and be a kind person. There is no shame in not wanting to do any favors or even hanging out.
- Limit Information: Don’t tell your frenemy about new goals and if you do, don’t give out too much information.
Staying away from frenemies isn’t easy especially when it’s an involuntary relationship, or when you don’t notice. But we need to remind ourselves that we have the liberty of picking out our friends. You under no obligation, need to stay with a frenemy. I’ve always kept this quote close to my heart: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.
Also, feel free to check out Psych2Go’s Book: Mental Illness Recovery Series. It’s a wonderful book that contains 100 true life stories from people all over the world. Such as the U.S., South America, Europe, Germany, U.K and much more.