This post contains adult language. Reader discretion is advised.
Frenemy (noun): A person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry
Frenemy: such a made up term. And to the ordinary person, seemingly something that only happens in Hollywood. Taylor and Katy, Lauren and Heidi, Beyonce and Kim — the Hollywood classics. Something that doesn’t happen to normal people with real lives. Or so I thought, until it happened to me.
I still remember the day I learned I had a frenemy. It was about 2 years ago, and was a sunny summer day, like any other summer day. The birds were chirping, I had eaten a delicious lunch, and that afternoon, I found out that someone I liked, respected even, was actively trying to sabotage me. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?! I’m not naive. Even though I like to think I’m immensely likable, not everyone likes me. And I’m 100% ok with that. I don’t even care if people talk shit behind my back – that’s just a part of life. But sabotage? Now that’s a completely different story. Two years later, I still have this frenemy, but I’m two years wiser, and so I’m going to offer you some tips to deal, should you ever find yourself in a similar predicament.
Step 1: Admit you have a frenemy
When I first found out about my frenemy, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. How could this even happen? Was it even real? Surely it couldn’t be. But the more I heard about how my frenemy was trying to put major wrinkles in my otherwise mostly perfect life, it dawned on me that this was a real thing, and I was going to have to deal with it. The basis of my relationship with this person had fundamentally changed, and whether I liked it or not, there was a new reality emerging.
Step 2: Feel your feelings
This is a critical part of the process. Feel your feelings. All of them. I was hurt, angry, confused. I released a torrent of expletives. I was enraged. I was outraged. I was disappointed. If you find yourself with a frenemy, just remember that you will feel the same, maybe even more. It is all normal. You have to let yourself go through the process of grieving (which is frankly what it is) to be able to tackle steps 3, 4 and 5.
Step 3: DO NOT ENGAGE
I repeat, DO NOT ENGAGE. When you first find out about your frenemy, you may be tempted to strike back or confront them. DO NOT DO THIS. For one, your frenemy will either immediately go on the defensive, or become passive aggressive, or react in some other negative manner. It will not end well. And if you’re trying to seek revenge, then perhaps you deserve to have this frenemy. As Michelle Obama says “when they go low, we go high”– listen to FLOTUS. Go high, and do not engage. And besides, no one needs that kind of negativity.
Step 4: Develop a strategy
If your situation is similar to mine, you will have to encounter this person, even if you don’t want to. The best way to deal with this is to develop a strategy. Mine is to kill them with kindness, but generally keep my distance. I’m polite but not overtly friendly. I may laugh at their jokes, and even compliment them, but I keep the conversations short. I will not go out of my way to avoid them though– my thought process here is that if I treat them politely, then it will be that much harder for anyone to believe any sort of negativity this person is trying to spread about me. Once you’ve done Step 2, come up with your own strategy when you are of calm and logical mind, and then stick to it.
Step 5: Lean on your inner circle
Truly, this will save you from a lot of heartache. I cannot even count the number of times my inner circle has heard me rage and cuss, but they are true friends and they let me vent, and they give me advice. And most important, they keep their ear to the ground and let me know of anything that may be coming my way so I’m not blindsided. They also make sure I don’t do anything stupid like vague Facebook posts or subtweets, because no one has sympathy for that. They help me keep my head and my wits about me, for which I am eternally grateful.
So there you have it. Before I end, I want to leave you with something one of my spin instructors, Jenn Sommers, used to say “Things will happen to you. You can’t control them, but you CAN control how you react to them.” Don’t fall victim to your frenemy’s ways. You are better than that.