Have you ever had a friend who said your boyfriend was a loser, and then flirted with him a few days after you broke up? Or one who was secretly sad when you won and happy when you failed? If your answer is yes, you were dealing with an ambivalent friend, or simply put, a “frenemy.”
Life with frenemies can be tough, and here at Bright Side we’ve learned about who these fake friends are so we can tell you how to spot them in your social circle.
Who are “frenemies” and how they can ruin your physical and mental health
Ambivalent friends, or frenemies, are people who pretend to be your friends, but in fact are envious of you (frenemy = friend + enemy). These are people from your closest social circle, and can include your friends, colleagues, or even someone from your family. There are several signs you can look for that indicate you may be dealing with a frenemy, and here they are:
- A frenemy is not happy when you win. They’re happy when you lose, and they’re jealous of the things you achieve.
- They undermine you and hurt you with their words or actions.
- They say things behind your back.
- They may be telling you good things, but their facial expression and gestures won’t match their words.
- They blame you for their failures: “I would’ve done X, if you didn’t do Y.”
- They find passive-aggressive ways to hurt your feelings. For example, they might praise someone else to hurt you.
- Their compliments seem to be nice, but, in fact, they are mean: “You can be not-that-bad when you want to.”
- They don’t like your posts and statuses on social media, or they comment on them in a negative way. But they’ll never miss an opportunity to update you with their own achievements.
- They make deliberate mistakes to set you up or put you in an embarrassing situation.
Many of us can think of at least one friend like that in our surroundings. But even though having a frenemy seems like a normal thing, it’s not that innocent. Having a fake friend in your life can increase the level of stress you experience, thus damaging your physical and mental health. Some studies have proven, for example, that dealing with frenemies can increase your blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety level.
In this kind of relationship, you never know if you can count on the person or not. Will they support you when you need a helping hand or will they stab you in the back? The jealousy and envy that are the basis of this fake friendship destroy any chance for respect, trust, and love between the 2 people.
So, if you realize that one of your friends is actually a foe, it’s time to think about the future of your relationship.
How to deal with frenemies and put an end to toxic relationships
- Have a talk. Tell your frenemy that you’ve seen their manipulations and that you are tired of being undermined and hurt. Be honest, and don’t be afraid that this talk might lead to a break up. Sometimes breaking up is the only option.
- Take a break. Romantic relationships sometimes need a break, and so do friendships, especially when it gets tough. A break will allow both of you calm down and re-evaluate your relationship.
- Slowly distance yourself from the frenemy. If you are afraid of a sincere talk, you can slowly establish a time and space distance between the 2 of you. To do so, you can start texting instead of calling, take a longer time to respond, and respond in shorter messages. You can also get too busy to meet in person.
- Keep your achievements a secret. Don’t give your frenemy too many reasons to be jealous. Limit their access to the info connected to your plans, goals, and victories.
- Unsubscribe from or hide their updates on social media.
- Reconsider your relationship if your frenemy is an important person in your life and, for some reason, you don’t want to or cannot break up with them. Try to find out whether the envy and competition can be good for you and can stimulate you toward further achievements. If this is the case, then don’t take the words and actions of your fake friend too personally and try to look on the brighter side of the situation.
Here’s one more important thing. Even if we don’t realize it, from time to time, we ourselves can be a fake friend for someone else. So, after you’ve finished looking through your close circle in search of frenemies, ask yourself a question: “Am I a good friend?”
Have you ever had a frenemy? How did you cope with that relationship?