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Identify, Remove, and Prevent Frenemies: How To

Before I begin this post, beloved readers, let me make this clear: this is not a post about “Haters.”

Let’s define what a Frenemy is for the purpose of this post. One humorous, and surprisingly accurate definition from urbandictionary.com is as follows:

“The type of “friend” whose words or actions bring you down.(whether you realize it as intentional or not) The type of friend you ought to cut off but don’t cuz…they’re nice… good …you’ve had good times with them. U know…they’re good people that you can count on to bring you down again sometime in the near future.The friend you may or may not have cornered about their quicksand like ways and keep around because “its in the past”…and so was one minute ago. The person that will continue to bring you down until you demand better for yourself.”

With that out of the way, let us discuss a particular aspect of Frenemy-dom that is often over-looked in these sorts of posts:

How and why they are attracted to (and use) certain people.

This is worth noting, to aid us all in avoiding being target for them and for understanding why they may be flocking to our lives. Knowing “why” they do so, can help you deal with their presence in your life. It’s also the key to eliminating them all together.

WHY?

Please keep this in mind, when dealing with Frenemies:

FRENEMIES HAVE PLANS FOR YOU.

Frenemies, like con-artists, don’t waste their time on relationships that do not give them something. That “something” may seem worthless to you (example: negative attention), but it’s of value to them, which means disrupting your peace and well-being is absolutely worth their time. Notice something, beloved readers?

Your peace and well-being is a means to an end, in these relationships, for Frenemies.

You are a vehicle to obtain something that benefits them–alone.

AND/OR

You also may have something they want or want to emulate. To obtain what you have (position, husband, social circle, tax-bracket, weight, features, hair, car, house, family, children, complexion, etc.) or to emulate something about you they like they must be close to you.

This is a (serious) problem.

Why? As we all know, beloved readers, Frenemies have a way of bringing a cloud of drama with them. The kind of Drama-with-a-capital-D they usher into your life is only going to hurt you (and even those you love). It’s the kind of drama that is only going to serve their purposes and further their plans for you in their lives.

I want to reiterate one of the major points of this post:

It’s important to know why you have Frenemies in your life.

There are two sides to this coin: Them and You.

They want something. You in some way are beneficial in achieving their gains.

That’s the “Them” side of the coin.

There is also a role that you play in the “Frenemy Relationship.”

That’s the “You” side of the coin.

The “You” In The “HOW”

Let’s get to the cream in the pastry.

We know they have a plan. We know they see in you something they want or a benefit in being in close proximity to you (if only to suck your joy and peace from you because they are unhappy with themselves).

The next question is:

How are they getting close enough to “plan their work” and “work their plan?”

The answer lies with you.

What I type next, may be a hard pill to swallow. Your knee-jerk reaction may be:

“You’re just blaming the victim here. I say good day, ma’am!”

Okay, maybe not so much, but, you may feel a knee-jerk reaction to click the lil’ red “X” in the upper left corner of your screen. I’m going to ask you not to, beloved readers. Please understand, I’m not saying it’s your fault you have Frenemies. (People simply shouldn’t be Frenemies. Period.) What I am saying (or typing, rather), is that you are a part of the Frenemy relationship.

The only part of the relationship you can control–you.

This is FREEING!

This is where the ball is in YOUR court.

You may be wondering: “How so?”

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the answer is going to require some introspection on your part, beloved readers.

Frenemies, as I mentioned up-post, are like con-artists. They want maximum return on the energy they put into maintaining close proximity to you. They feel that they get something out of you that is worth their time. As absolutely asinine and childish as that “something” may be to you–it is worth it to them to add their unnecessary drama to your life to get it.

Like thieves, Frenemies take the path of least resistance.

EXHIBIT A

You make a point to weed “toxic friends” out of your social circle (save for the Frenemy or two that manages to slip through the cracks). Your Frenemy does not. She constantly tells you about her latest toxic-friend-drama.

You care about her, so your heart bleeds for her. You offer the same advice again and again. You try to be available to help her talk. You shed new tears with her for the same old problems.

You are, in her words “such a good friend”. You are such a “good friend” that you spend so much time trying to mitigate her recurring drama that the handle you have on your own life concerns begins to waver. You have less emotional energy for the positive people in your life. You may begin taking on some of her cynicism, depression, or anger. You may resent the fact that your “good friend” advice is never heeded, or that she refuses to change the behaviors that constantly put her in these situations, but you do not articulate it.  It festers quietly inside.

She’s dumped her wave of emotions on you and now she feels great (for a time) when she taps “end” on her phone. You do not. Why? Your Frenemy succeeded in getting what she wanted. In this case: Catharsis. All she wanted was just to vent at your emotional expense. She was not seeking true help to nip the under-lying root of the issue in the bud.

How is this scenario an example of the path of least resistance?

She would not have called someone who told her, kindly and gently, that they are noticing a pattern. Someone who will–succinctly and briefly–offer their usual advice, offer truly heartfelt prayers/wishes that she sees she does no have to continue on this way. Someone who will then offer numbers to mentors, pastors, life-coaches, counseling services, etc. to help her stop these self-destructive patterns. Someone who does all of this while reassuring her he or she will be with her every step of the way; but, until she chooses to stop these self-destructive patterns, for his or her own peace-of-mind, he or she is not willing to speak about the issue; and hangs up. 

Please Note: I am not saying do not be a concerned friend who cares to listen to their friends troubles and help them through hard times. (By all means, be a source of support to true friends in times of need!)

This is not friendship.

Enemies damage you. Friends don’t. You may be thinking: Okay, great, but how does this get to the “How?” What does this have to do with “me?” You said the ball was in my court. I don’t see it.”

In the above scenarios, it’s you who has the power to not answer the phone, direct the conversation, or to say no altogether to her being in your life. The same is true with whatever else the Frenemies in your life are taking from you.

You are either denying them or giving them what they want.

(Even if you do not realize it.)

“What is hard to swallow about that,” you ask?

The reasons you do not deny your Frenemy/Frenemies access.

They can be very simple or very complex.

They may go all the way back to things that happened to you in your childhood, past relationships, or you just honestly did not realize (or chose not to realize) there were damaging relationships “cycles” occurring in your life because they are familiar, or you don’t wish to be alone.

They may have to do with your self-esteem and self-worth, and how you view yourself in relation to others. They may have to do with your marriage, your singleness, your weight, your financial state, your upbringing, etc.

The reason may be (worst case scenario): you are birds of a feather, engaging in the same behaviors with one another, in a mutually-destructive, co-dependent relationship.

Honestly accepting that you may be nurturing negative relationships, because of holes in your own psyche never feels good.

Sometimes, it hurts.

I understand that. I truly do. I’ve had to do this exercise with myself less and less as I became more adept at keeping Frenemies out of my life. Let me encourage you with this, beloved readers:

Acknowledging those “reasons” does not hurt nearly as much, in the short term, as keeping Frenemies in your life will hurt you in the long term!

You have the power to look at yourself objectively and say “This is where I have a weakness,” or “I need to feel I have the right to usher damaging people out of my life. I’m worthy of doing so.” (You truly are.)

You have the power to enact change in your relationships.

You may find that power through prayer, a make-over, or a year in the Peace-corps. I have no idea, no judgements, and no suggestions; it’s entirely up to you, beloved readers, as to what works best for you.

My hope is to is encourage and help equip you with the knowledge to do it, because I believe you can.

YOU CAN DO IT.