The word “Frenemy” (also frienemy) is a combination of two words – friend and enemy. With a frenemy there may be a rivalry, an intense dislike, or even an integrity concern. However, social or business obligations may require friendliness. Make no mistake that the deficits of the relationship outweigh the benefits.
Are you uncomfortable in the presence of a friend? If so, objectively evaluate your situation and make a decision. If this person isn’t good for you, it may be time to jettison the frenemy and move on to true friends.
Consider these frenemy examples:
Accessorizing Ashton- Ashton is generally very popular, but makes you feel more like an accessory than a friend. They’ll invite you “just in case the party is boring,” and leave you alone in the corner if someone more interesting appears. They’re sweet, but when you ignore or decline their invitation they overreact.
Gossip Gal: She makes untrue statements behind your back, and sometimes in front of you. Her small mind can’t expand enough to think about new ideas, or other conversational topics. Since she’s insecure, it’s easier for her to tear others down.
Lying Logan- He has new fantastic story every time you chat, and it’s something that’s totally out of character from your own experience with them. Their own life may be inadequate, so they feel the need to embellish at best and misrepresent at worst, to make themselves sound important.
MJ the Moocher- MJ never has money and is constantly expecting you to cover them. Sometimes they have funds, but still ask for cash. MJ mistakes kindness for weakness and will test your limits to see how far they can push the boundaries.
Narcissistic Nat- He is self-centered and only wants one topic of conversation: himself. He talks endlessly about himself and his problems, but gives no thought to you or yours. Your role is simply to listen, acknowledge and expect nothing. Maybe it’s time to find a nodding mannequin to take your place and search for someone who appreciates you.
The One-Up Wonder- Their motto is “anything you can do, I’ve already done better.” You are unable to mention anything that you’ve done without them immediately following up with their own, superior achievement. They try to overcome their insecurity by besting those around them. You ran a mile? Great! They ran three. You met a successful, good looking guy? Guess what, they met a billionaire.
Rude Dude- They infuriate and embarrass you in private and in public. They tell inappropriate jokes in front of your family, say rude things in public; and are rude and inconsiderate to you as well. He hasn’t learned the basics of polite behavior and makes you appear guilty just by association.
Sarcastic Sam: He is sarcastic with a dry wit, and at times takes his jokes too far. It may be an insult directed at you or another masked by “relax, it was a just a joke” “you have no sense of humor.” They’ll take advantage of a situation, target someone, usually in front of others and use sarcasm to defend themselves.
Stubborn Sal- They embody the phrase “my way or the highway.” Any discussion or decision about anything from morals to where to eat is up to them. They win arguments by interrupting, talking over or tiring out others.
Ulterior Motive Ursula- Ursula will offer to do nice things to please you, disguising this as as kind gestures to use against you later. “Remember when I gave you a ride the other day…” Initially you think they’re a good friend, but then you realize they had an ulterior motive. They’ll come around later to remind you of what they did earlier and say you owe them.
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE centre, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, and the National Business Journals. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.