Friday, May 16, 2008

Frenemy Mine


Some people really know how to be a good friend. Some people know how to be a really good enemy. And some people know how to be both at the same time. Those people are called frenemies. And Paris Hilton is their patron saint.

Paris and Nicole. Paris and Britney. Paris and Lindsay. Paris and Kim. If you can count on one thing, it's that you can't count on her to be a good friend.

It isn't just a socialite conundrum either. And frenemies know no age or gender bias. So, where do frenemies come from?

There are two kinds of frenemy relationships: real friends who pretend to be fighting, and real enemies who pretend to be friends. Relationships are complex. Sometimes it's a simple matter of two people who don't really care for each other but have other friends in common. Sometimes it's more complex--you need to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Other times, it's a competetive situation where you are forced to co-exist (say in the workplace) but know that person is really after your promotion. Whatever the reason, the water is awfully hard to navigate.

When I was in high school, my best friend had two best friends--and I found her other friend very intimidating. We were opposite in a lot of ways and never really spent much time together, which made it difficult for my friend (she always felt she had to choose between us) and hard for me because I was jealous. A year after we graduated, the "other" and I ended up working in the same place and our mutual friend had moved away--and wouldn't you know it--we actually got quite close. To this day, she is one of my favorite people. (By the way, my best friend is still best friends with both of us, and is quite bitter that we put her through all those years of angst when we ended up friends anyway.)

So I had a happy ending, but the middle sure sucked. What about you? Do you (or did you) have a frenemy? And how do you or did you handle it?

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9 comments:

  1. I cut off frenemies a long time ago. Who has the time?

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  2. I agree with Feisty--if I saw someone was evolving into a frenemy, I cut them off. No sense wasting time like that--life is too short!!

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  3. I guess I haven't paid enough attention to know if I've had frenemies or not.

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  4. I had a couple in high school, but so don't have patience for that sh!t anymore.

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  5. I still had to deal with some when I worked at a bigger company. Not so much now.

    Still, it wouldn't always be easy to just cut them off, say, if you were in a group of friends. Unless you don't want to be friends with the rest of the group anymore.

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  6. Good point about the group of friends thing...that puts a damper on things!!

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  7. I don't know about "frenemies" per se, but that best-friend-of-my-best-friend thing: definitely done that. It's *hard*!

    I always tried to be very, um, polite. Refrained from saying things to the friend's friend like "you know she likes me better" or "I was here first" ;-) ...and refrained from saying things to my friend like "what do you see in *her*?" :-)

    Occasionally friend friends have ended up my friends, too...but often it stays a somewhat tense, definitely polite relationship. :-)

    Cara

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  8. It's funny to me when I hear acquaintances call themselves my friends. Umm, no. I have friends. Valuable people in my life. If you don't love me you aren't my friend, you are an acquaintance.

    I cull the herd. This is a flotsam and jetsam free zone, babies.

    Kick em to the curb!

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  9. GAh - Frenemys, I know them well.
    Anytime they rise up, I remind myself, this isn't Seasme Street, we don't all have to be best friends.

    They're in the same boat as co-irkers.
    co-workers you have to be polite to and socialize with, for the sake of the office.

    yarg. *fft*

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