Have a friend that constantly brings you down with snide words or odd actions? You may have a frenemy in your midst. Read on to find out how to identify a frenemy, and learn a few trusty ways you can handle them.
The One Who’s Competitive. This person lives by the “anything you can do, I can do better” motto, and are easily identified when you are unable to talk about anything you’ve done without them immediately following up with their own superior achievement. You ran 5km during your weekend exercise? They ran 10km. You scored 85 marks on a tough exam paper? Great job! They scored 90 marks.
How to deal: While having an overly competitive friend can be ultra annoying, don’t engage in their petty games or squabbles. Instead, rise above gracefully by acknowledging their accomplishments and giving praise where it’s due. And instead of having them work against you, try adapting their competitive nature to your advantage – partner up in group projects, be their ally in team games, or identify common goals you could work towards together.
The One Who’s Narcissistic. All this person wants to do is to relentlessly talk about themselves and their problems. They will pay no attention to any of the people around them, or care if they have any problems of their own. Basically, your role in the friendship is to just nod and agree with whatever this person is saying.
How to deal: Chances are, these pals care mostly about themselves and little about anyone else. If you’ve decided to stop going along with their one-man love fest, start by slowly distancing yourself from said friend – start establishing personal boundaries and be wary of sharing too much about yourself. Focus on other friendships where you can receive actual care and empathy from likeminded friends.
The One Who’s Secretly Jealous Of You. This is the person whom you get along with consistently – they talk to you regularly, you hang out after school almost daily and they even confide in you their deepest secrets. But underneath the friendly facade, they are (almost) always inserting snide remarks that’ll have you second guessing their praise or even trying to downplay your achievements to make you feel bad. At worst, they’re secretly scheming behind your back, spreading rumours in an attempt to ruin your reputation or a friendship you have with someone else.
How to deal: It’s a delicate situation. Ignoring your friend’s issues may raise even more resentment in the long run, while confronting it head on may cause some serious backlash. Before any action is taken, put yourself in their shoes and try to understand their point of view; what happened to have him/her feel this way? What would they say during a confrontation? Do you behave in a way that could cause them to feel jealous (like bragging or rubbing your successes in their face)?
When actually broaching the topic, do it in a calm, rational and honest manner. Avoid accusing them of being jealous – try sharing your feelings about how distant your friendship has grown, and invite them to share their thoughts. Give constant reassurance about how much you value the friendship, and your honest admiration for their character/achievements. Being open and candid about the matter will help to shed light and hopefully fix the issue.
The One Who Gives Backhanded Compliments. This person probably took a page out of our resident favourite Mean Girl, Regina George’s playbook. Every time this person says something to you, you get pretty confused because you’re never really sure if they were complimenting or insulting you.
How to deal: There are several effective ways to respond to these confusing remarks – either ignore it, acknowledge only the good part and thank them for it (which will probably annoy your ‘friend’ to no end), use humour to counter that snarky statement, or address it straight on: “that comment was hurtful”. Whichever way you choose, don’t raise to their petty bait!
Other ways to deal
Find Out What The Problem Is
Before taking any drastic action, try reaching out to this person and ask them why they’ve been acting in a particular way towards you. Who knows, they might not have had any idea that their actions were causing you any distress. Talking about what’s been bothering the both of you in a non-confrontational manner can help repair any damage done and help to get the friendship back to normal.
Set Some Boundaries
We’re not saying that every moment you spend with this person is negative, but it’s important to not be tricked into having a false sense of security. While it might be unnatural to do so, set boundaries around various topics of conversation, and always avoid sharing personal information. The key is to not overshare and give them something they can use against you in the future.
Don’t Fight Fire With Fire
It just creates a bigger flame. It’s easy to want to give them a taste of their own medicine, but it’s not worth it, especially if you think that the friendship might be worth salvaging. Being mean towards them or talking about them behind their back would just mean that you’re stooping to their level, and it would create more tension and could potentially lead to an explosive argument between you two.
Know When To Let Go
Lastly, if you’ve tried everything on this list and nothing else works, then it might be high time to end the friendship. Some people are just not worth the emotional draining. Losing the friendship may be hard at first, but your mental wellbeing comes first, and removing this toxic person from your life will help you feel better in the long run.
What are some other ways you utilise to help deal with the frenemies in your life? Let us know in the comments below!