The term "frenemy" made it's way into mainstream culture after the release of the uber popular, teen film "Mean Girls." Two of the main characters in the film, Cady and Regina, enter into a friendship that is wrought with jealousy. Both girls go to great lengths to undermine the other in an effort to be the most popular girl in high school.
While most of us can relate to the frenemy concept amongst teenagers, it may be somewhat difficult to acknowledge that frenemies can exist in our lives when we're 20, 30, 40, or older. The acceptance of the frenemy concept is, hands-down, in direct conflict with want we all want to believe in, and that belief is the humankind of people.
Our friends are the people that are supposed to be supportive. They give us a base of acceptance, offer advice, and are the unconditional shoulder to cry on. In a perfect world this would ring true of every person, but sadly it simply does not. So, how can you identify a friend from a frenemy? In our teens and early 20s, frenemies are fairly easy to spot. They're rather obvious in their undermining ways. Their efforts to make you feel bad will be things such as flirting with the guy or girl you like or negatively commenting on your appearance. As the frenemy ages, their abilities are honed. Therefore, making the frenemy far more difficult to spot.
Fortunately, frenemies display very consistent behaviors. If you can recognize that one person in your social group who is the last to praise you for your successes and the first to point at your failures, you have successfully spotted the frenemy. Not so easy? How about a few examples of frenemy words and behaviors?
Regarding the words of a frenemy, the come in the package of backhanded compliments:
"You really should be so happy that guy/girl is going out to dinner with you."
"I love your dress! I wish that I could wear something like that, but my breasts are too big."
“Bro, I like that shirt. I wish I could wear something like that, but my biceps are too big.”
"I love what you've done with your apartment! It's not quite my style but … "
"Congratulations on your promotion. One day you might just make as much as I do."
Regarding the actions of a frenemy, see if you recognize these:
Insensitive comments followed by a hug, handshake, or a laugh.
Attempts to steal the spotlight during a happy or positive moment.
Constantly comparing your life with theirs.
Competing with you over everything.
What's likely to be the singularly most confusing aspect of a frenemy situation is that this person was probably someone that you at one time consider to be a friend. Unfortunately, the friendship was always one-sided and this is probably the most difficult aspect to except. This person's actions are borne out of their own insecurities and the more that they successfully make you feel inferior, the more their sick superiority complex is feed. Just like a parasitic tick, this person needs to be removed from your life and flushed down the toilet.
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