Important Lessons I Learned From My Frenemies

There’s usually one of them in every social circle —the frenemy: a negative succubus disguised as a best friend. If you’ve gone through life without encountering one, consider yourself lucky. For most of us, they’re an unfortunate staple in most periods of our lives. It’s not all bad, though — here’s what my frenemies have taught me about life.

  1. Real friends don’t bash you.Frenemies will playfully knock you down with light insults disguised as jokes. A real friend doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself. They see the best in you and make sure you see it, too.
  2. Friendly competition isn’t healthy.When it comes to about every area of your life, your frenemies will want to one-up you. They’ll do anything to beat you to the punch when it comes to landing that great career, excellent spouse or achieving materialistic goals. Your real friend just wants you to be happy.
  3. If they don’t have your back, they’re not your friends.A frenemy won’t stand up for you when you’re not around and are only on your side when it suits them. Unless you’re wrong and it’s in your best interest to accept that, a real friend will always support your actions to your face — and behind your back.
  4. A friend loves your success.When you do well in life, a real friend will be elated. They won’t take jabs or go on about how surprised they are that you did so well in an endeavor. Only frenemies do that.
  5. Trust shouldn’t be given freely.It’s good to be able to trust people, but having too many frenemies through life can cause you to wonder if anyone can be trusted. Trust your friends, but make sure they’re worth it before you do.
  6. Friendship is a two-way street.A true friend will make time for you, listen to your problems, and be there for you when you’re down. If your friend is self-centred, talks without listening and makes no effort at the friendship you may have a frenemy.
  7. You can still have fun with fake friends.Although frenemies can be draining, the relationship you have can be exhilarating. It can be hard to see at first how toxic it is because you’re still able to go out and have a blast together.
  8. Frenemies can distort your idea of friendship.There’s a difference between back-handed compliments and constructive criticism. It’s one thing to tell your friend the harsh truth and quite another to insult them for the sake of it. Not knowing the difference could distort your vision of what true friendship is supposed to be like.
  9. The frenemy will never last.A relationship with a frenemy will always have an expiry date. Either the frenemy will get bored of you, or you’ll tire of the nonsense. No matter who cuts the cord, these are the type of friendships that weren’t meant to go the distance.
  10. Frenemies will always have more friends than you. They have mastered the art of the huge social circle and theirs will always be bigger than yours. It doesn’t mean that you suck as a friend, it just means that they know how to play the game and you’re above all that.
Angelica Bottaro has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Trent University and an Advanced Diploma in Journalism from Centennial College. She began her career as a freelance writer in 2014, racking up bylines in The Good Men Project, MakeWell, LymeTime, YouQueen, and more. She eventually shifted her focus and began writing about mental health, nutrition, and chronic disease for VeryWell Health.

You can follow her on Facebook or check out her website at She also posts on Instagram @a.ct._b and Twitter @angiiebee.