We’ve all got them. Acquaintances, typically of the female variety, who go from friend to enemy in 4 seconds flat. Ok, sometimes the shift isn’t so abrupt- there are certainly various Frenemy types. However, Frenemy’s disregard for your feelings is usually directly proportional to the closeness of your relationship with her. We originally decided to blog this because we had to vent about a few real Frenemies in our lives. We cherish our Frenemy relationships, but at times they’re really frustrating and we don’t know how to deal! We hope to provide comfort to those of you who can relate to us on this. We’d also like to hear about your experiences with Frenemies, and how you deal with them. Please vent here with us!
The flip flopper
I’m really irritated with Frenemy M. One day she’s complaining, bitching, and moaning about mutual friend S. She’s telling me all these horrible things about S that frankly I don’t want to hear about. It drags me down to hear crap-talking, especially about somebody with whom I’m close. But I do want to be a source of support for M, an active listener. Arg, I’ve made my bed and now I lie restlessly in it. It sucks because I really don’t want to hear about the beef M has with S! I ain’t got beef with S, and I’d rather not let M’s beef influence how I perceive S. My usual solution is trying to get M to focus on discussing how she feels rather than on specific details about S’s transgressions and character flaws. Doesn’t always work. As I’ve harped about, the situation is super uncomfortable for me. My discomfort morphs into straight annoyance when-Today I call M and she’s hanging out with S as if no beef ever existed. Yep, that’s right, all is fine- peaches in fact!! It’s like M & S are in some kind of sorority, operating under the pretense that there was never a conflict and everyone gets along famously all the time. The conflict that created such discomfort for M and for me has been power vac-ed up and rocketed off to the Andromeda Galaxy. Did they have a discussion about their conflicts? Nope. Does M ever address with me the fact that she’s gone from verbally crucifying S to being besties with her? Of course not. I’m confused. How does M flip flop with such ease?!?Bottom line: people don’t like conflict. Instead of addressing issues directly and assertively, “passive-aggressive” interactional patterns frequently emerge to the detriment of many friendships. Please don’t be a flip-flopper- if you’ve got beef, evaluate your reasons and if worthy, address them with the person directly. Venting can be tremendously helpful in dealing with frustration, but try to restrict your venting to unaffiliated third parties.
How about the friend who just about requires you to send her a singing telegram to maintain her friendship? She makes you feel guilty for things and you never know why. God I get so effing annoyed with S. I call her, and she doesn’t call me back. Then she complains to mutual friends that I don’t call her! I imagine her sitting next to the phone, screening my call, and then turning her nose up when she sees my name on her caller ID. She chooses not to answer, gets upset with me, and then goes and complains about me to mutuals. Why? I haven’t an effing clue!! It’s really frustrating!! I feel like I can’t do enough to try to be her friend. I really think that she wants me to chase her, like she’s playing hard to get or something. Sorry S, I’m not trying to date you. And it’s no coincidence that you have never been in a relationship if you expect pursuers to run a frickin marathon to get you. I get tired! We all do! I’m not the type to badger a friend into answering my calls. I’ll call once or twice, and wait for a return call. I don’t have many friends who won’t call back. Yet..Frenemy S insists on ignoring me. And her stony silence is quite effective in communicating to me that I’ve done something wrong. She must be mad at me, or she would call me back. Ohhh the silent treatment, so cold. The conclusion of this is generally that I end up eventually running into S, and she behaves as if there are no hurt feelings. I joke that she hasn’t called me back, and I get the standard “I’ve been meaning to but I’ve been so busy” speech. Throw me a freaking bone here S. At least have the decency to explain your reasoning behind not returning my calls. The worst part about the situation is that S is a super fun girl and I truly enjoy her company. If only she could find it in herself to be assertive and to discuss conflicts with me. Sigh. Bottom line- see above.
Frenemy Y only calls you when it’s to return one of your calls. There’s never a spontaneous call. And related to spending time together, she has her entire calendar booked except she graciously offers to squeeze you in for 22 minutes in between her dog’s nail appointment, coffee with friend #31, dinner with grandma, and going to the mall with friend #18. Don’t you feel special that such an in-demand person is taking the time to fit you into her overbooked sched? The worst part about L is that she ½-jokingly scolds you for not calling her! And regardless of what you say, your excuse is never valid in her eyes. Here’s some shocking news: the door swings both ways, Y. Oh, and what’s that other idiom? Oh yeah, the phone works both ways. Apparently clichés are (sometimes) applicable to life.
Got a frenemy of your own to vent about? Mammies certainly constitute an unaffiliated 3rd party. Comment here!