Do you feel the need to wear safety gears when a certain friend is around? Is there an arch rival to whom you would send hidden signals when they are in danger from someone else, only because you envy some qualities in them? Have you befriended an individual who behaves differently when you two are alone vis-à-vis when in a group? Do you have a friend who compliments you “Oh! You are looking so beautiful!”, when you know you are looking your worst?
What does one even mean by Frenemy? Is it an outcome of a personality clash? Is it just a term for Women? Not always. I asked few good friends if they will help me list down parameters that could define this relationship. What feeling or trait does a person or everyone in that relational web should have that gives a reflection that not all is peaceful and acceptable between them.
Jealous: a feeling or showing an envious resentment of someone or their achievements, possessions, or perceived advantages. A frenemy will never say or feel “so what if I didn’t get it, at least she got it. I am happy for her.” There will always be an ounce of remorse in their heart that you have something that they do not, regardless of whether they even need it or not. A luxury car might be gathering dust in the garage, but the sheer fact that you bought the latest model would irk them.
Egoism: the fact of being excessively conceited or absorbed in oneself. If two people feel the need to boast about themselves, then they are frenemies. You can wear Nizam’s jewels or get a scholarship at Harvard University, your frenemy’s prima-donna behavior will never let them accept that your achievement is justified and neither would they come forward to congratulate, unless, it’s to throw a line of sarcasm at you in front of 10 others. The narcissists in the grip of ego will be of the opinion that anyone who has blessed you with these privileges has not come across him/her.
Manipulative: exercising unscrupulous control or influence over a person or situation.A friend will not try to control you. On the other hand, a frenemy may want to do exactly that because they are opportunists, considers themselves superior and do not trust your abilities. Also, their motive is mostly self-focused and manipulating a situation will help them gain personal advantage from it. When you are around a manipulative frenemy, you will eventually feel weak and lose confidence as they overpower you mentally.
Distrust: the feeling that someone or something cannot be relied upon. You cannot trust a frenemy and neither will they have confidence in you. The relationship is sealed with doubts and treachery. You will never disclose that you don’t believe even a word of what the other person tells you and your frenemy will not miss out on an opportunity to disclose your secrets or bitch behind your back. Be warned that a frenemy will act supportive and push you to get your secrets out, in their own manipulative ways.
Opportunism: the taking of opportunities as and when they arise, regardless of planning or principle.When it comes to self-benefits, friendship takes a back seat between frenemies. Friends would discuss an opportunity to see if they can include each other to share the fruits. Frenemy would not be concerned whether you are even aware of an opening towards personal gain. In fact, they may go at length to ensure things are kept under wrap until it is too late for you to act. You will be left shocked when you realize how games can be played unfairly to get a lead in the race.
Schadenfreude: pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune. This is a german word but fits perfectly for frenemies around the world. You can expect a frenemy to laugh at you when you make a mistake; if not in front of you, definitely behind your back. The worst part would be that they will share their interpretation of the happenings with 5 other people, leaving you embarrassed. These are cheap thrills for them and an opportunity to point out what you shouldn’t have done to avoid this misfortune.
Women are more prone to be targeted or blamed for the existence of this relationship because they are probably more vocal about their emotions. In fact, when you search for frenemy related content on the internet, you will find most of the blogs, images and gifs around women. Men are only seldom counted under this category because of the way they react in similar situations. A female frenemy will know they are screwing you over and might even feel the guilt from it, a male frenemy, on the other hand, would feel its no big deal. Jealousy is, without a doubt, the core reason for why frenemies exist. Read What Could Possibly Make a Man Jealous of his Friend.