It appears I have been asked to teach a class which I also happen to be terribly unprepared for. I find this ironic because teaching has always been one of my dream jobs and I swear I will make it happen one day. So as unprepared as I am, let’s do this. Before we go any further, I just want you to appreciate that you may not leave this class with any ground-breaking new knowledge but you will learn the art of the frenemy.
1.1 Defining a frenemy
The Oxford dictionary defines a frenemy as a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry. It’s an oxymoron of friend and enemy. Frenemies are very common creatures. The oldest frenemies we can think of are maybe Saul and David in the Bible and this is just me taking a long shot but I guess you kinda get it. A frenemy is basically your friend who just happens to not like you very much. Ironic I know. Frenemies in popular culture include: That weird phase with Kim Kardashian and Amber Rose and every cast member of every Real Housewives franchise.
Synonyms: frienemy, palhole, friendfoe, moloi (for the braver ones)
1.2 Identifying a frenemy
Frenemies may be tricky to identify but watch out for the following signs. They make “jokes” that attack your entire person; they tease you about things you take seriously. You could say something like “I want to be on TV someday” and they will “jokingly” say “Haha, you on TV with that nose” then continue laughing. And should you God forbid tell them that you don’t think that’s funny, then you don’t know how to take a joke.
They also direct a lot of micro aggressions at you for no particular reason. You could say you like something then they would go an entire half hour telling you why that particular thing sucks. You can also identify a frenemy by their deliberate inability to tell you the truth. You could wear a weird looking outfit and they wouldn’t tell you until somebody else brings it up then they agree with that person. And then you ask why they didn’t tell you, then they’ll say they didn’t want to hurt your feelings.
So wait, you can tell me to my face that I am too ugly for TV but you can’t tell me if my dress looks funny…balance me.
1.3 The Frenemy’s Motivations
Why is your frenemy your frenemy? I mean if they hate you that much, why not just stop being friends with you? That would be easier but as we already see; the frenemy is a complex creature. See, most of the times these frenemies are people who see the greatness in you as a person. They are very aware of your talents, your abilities, they probably believe in you more than you believe in you…they actually believe that you will make it someday and that’s why they keep you around, because they know that knowing you will pay off for them in the long run.
Some frenemies have also been in your life for so long, it’s almost impossible to shake them and in the worst cases, some of your frenemies are family members so you are stuck with each other for the rest of your lives.
1.4 Dealing with The frenemy
Oprah said that you can’t be friends with someone who wants your lie and 8 times out of ten that’s what your frenemy’s issue is. They want your life. And Oprah said it you just can’t. So your best bet? Walk away. I am speaking from experience when you have someone in your life whose only contribution in your life is your make little jabs at you…ngazviende. I swear you are not losing anything. But if your frenemy situation is one that you can’t walk away from, say your frenemy is a family member (listen I have relatives I stopped speaking to because of the begrudging passive aggressive energy that they brought into my life). But if this is a family member that you really love (but don’t necessarily like) or one that you can’t get away from then maybe it is time to have the conversation.
1.5 Having the conversation with the frenemy
This is going to be awkward because you are calling someone out on a behaviour that they’ve been displaying for perhaps as long as you have known them. But Shonda Rhimes says “Say Yes to Difficult Conversations”. Tell them how their behaviour makes you feel. You might be met with some defensiveness, soldier on. Let them know how this affects you. You might be surprised to learn that perhaps they weren’t doing it intentionally.
1.6 Dating the frenemy
Yeah. There’s no compromise on this one. I remember in 2017, when I was first decided I wanted to go into film and TV professionally and I was “talking” to this guy-beautiful beautiful boy. So I mentioned to him that I wanted to be in film and he basically told me to be realistic. And that was it. That was the end of us or what we could have been or whatever. So if you happen to be dating your frenemy, it’s just better to walk away. Walk away now so you spend the rest of your life with someone who you resent. There’s no ripping anything off gently, just go.
Frenemeies are draining, emotionally, psychologically and if you’re really unlucky physically too. You don’t need that in your life. You need to be surrounded by people who love you, who wish you well, who you wish well, people you want to see winning.