Frenemies....what a wonderful word! They come in all shapes, colours and sizes; they come from all ages, races and social backgrounds. They can be appealing and sweet, funny and charming but also a woman's worst nightmare!
One definition of a frenemy is an enemy disguised as a friend. Another definition is: one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy. So if a frenemy is really an enemy, why do they stick so close to us, closer than jam sticks to peanut butter? Perhaps as psychologists peer closer at love/hate relationships-the frenemy actually enjoys the benefits of the friendship while simultaneously habouring feelings of resentment and hatred towards the ''friend". Frenemies are particularly common among the female species. We all remember Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie from The Simple Life. Their constant cat fights on the show coined the term "frenemy" and it has stuck in our vocabulary since then.
Ladies, we all have encountered frenemies at some stage in our life. From High school to college to the workplace:the friend who whispers behind your back when she thinks you are not looking, the friend who gossips all the gory details of your love live and your sexual trysts to the office staff, the best friend who flirts with your boyfriend and even God forbid-the so called friend who steals your husband! These actions whether committed clandestinely or blatantly all warn us that the friend whom we believe is a friend, is in reality the dreaded "frenemy". Sometimes when we discover their evil intents, we either try to banish them from our lives, sometimes with little results or we.....gasp...cling to them even more! What makes the frenemy so attractive yet unappealing at the same time?
I have heard many a story of the ''frenemy" and the devastating effects she had on her "victim". Sad to say, I have even encountered a good seven or eight of them in my still young years of existence.
Scenario number one: Imagine a beautiful woman who attracts lots of attention from the guys at the office and outside of the office. She has the shapes of Beyonce, lips of Angelina Jolie and derriere of Kim Kardashian! She attracts female friends also but for the wrong reasons since they all secretly hate her but wish they were her. She comes to work in her pretty work suit, hait perfectly coiffed, showing just the right amount of cleavage, just enough to make the guys go ga ga! She smiles at her girlfriends, completely unaware of the anger that wells in their souls. "Hey girls! What's up". As she turns her back, the jealous eyes roll at her and they all glance at each other conspiringly then chorus, "Heyyyy girl!" They are always eager to hear about her love life so they can gossip about her later and tell the other co-workers that she's a slut. They sigh loudly when her boyfriend dumps her then giggle behind her back later. When she comes to work and complains that her clothes feel tight, they gush with pleasure and say, "You've gained weight, dear! Lay off the chocolates cause it's already going to your hips!" She feels confused at times and spends many a night wondering if her friends really like her or are they....?
Scenario number two. The girl who tells all her business to her "best friend". This best friend knows everything about her love life, her roller coaster relationship and how much she loves her boyfriend. Best friend always encourages her to break up with him. Best friend is single and wants company. Best friend never advises her to talk things out with her boyfriend. Only tells her how worthless he is and she can do better than him. Best friend calls him a jerk, cheater, loser and no good. Girl finally gets the courage to break up with her boyfriend. Her best friend's encouragement has uplifted her and now she is strong. When she breaks up with her boyfriend, her best friend disappears, does not return her calls and no longer hangs out with her. When she realizes what is taking place, it is too late! Her so called best friend is busy making passes at her ex man and gasp.....she finds out she has been secretly hooking up with him all along...Girl is heartbroken but the pain from losing her boyfriend does not compare to the pain she feels at being betrayed by her female friend. And the scenarios go on an on and on...
But why do so many of us keep our frenemies so close to us? Is it because of the adage , 'Keep your friends close but your enemies closer'? Or is it the secret need for approval from our friends? Everyone wants to feel accepted and loved within their social spheres but do we go too far when we try to get love and acceptance in the arms of the frenemy? They back stab us, bad mouth us and at times publicly villify us but like a battered wife, we still stay in the relationship. Maybe we hope one day our frenemy will love us completely? Or do we love the frenemy more than we love ourselves? Perhaps there is an innate desire in humans to aim to win the affection of those who hate us.Do we need our enemies to love us to build our self esteem or is it our ego that propels us?
If a frenemy is both a friend and an enemy-does the word really hold merit? How can a friend be an enemy and how can an enemy be a friend? Do love and hate really co-exist hand in hand? Can we really hate and love a person at the same time? Researchers say it is possible. If this is true, then frenemies will continue to exist. They will continue to love us on Mondays, hate us on Tuesdays. They will continue to bad mouth us when we tell them our business. We will continue to hear our secrets revealed even though we only told one person. We will continue being unfriended on facebook by them. And we will continue to ponder every night on the authenticity of our friendships and wonder if they are really our friends or in fact our dreaded enemies.
As for the frenemy-she will continue to say, "Hey girlfriend!" when she sees you. Her smile will be sweet and pure and as you smile and pass on by...those dreaded eyes will roll...