It is human nature to want to have friends and companions to share our lives and especially our challenges with. Sometimes people show up with the outward appearance of a friend when they are the opposite. Here’s how to tell the difference between a true friend and a potential frenemy.
A True Friend
- Supports you.
- Believes in you and lets you know.
- Will do their best to avoid hurting your feelings
- Will be honest with you.
- Will be there with you through thick and thin, not just when your life is easy and going well.
- They will listen to you when you need an ear or shoulder to cry on.
- Will do things for you without expecting anything in return.
- Will be happy for you and your accomplishments.
- Will Cheer you on.
- Will help you come to an understanding of mishaps and follies in your life.
- Helps you.
- Treats you with respect.
- Cares about you and vice versa.
A real friend might hurt your feelings unintentionally, where a frenemy says things in a harsh way. The word toxic may come up to describe the relationship you have with a frenemy when you are left feeling abused, or hurt. A frenemy might appear initially like a friend, but before long their true colors are shown when you are left feeling wounded or upset whenever you have a conversation with them. They might appear thoughtless, rude or lack compassion. Explaining these behaviors away is a mistake. One hurtful comment could be an accident, however, if every time you spend time with this person you are left feeling hurt, “Houston, We have a problem!”
A real friendship involves give and take as well as forgiveness. Everyone makes mistakes every now and then. We can be in overwhelm when we receive a phone call or text from a friend who asks us for one more favor that can throw us over the edge. Being able to recognize the context in which a hurtful comment is made is important. Is your “friend” often hurtful, or does it only happen on certain occasions? When misunderstandings occur do you have the ability to discuss them, or do you just run away? Running away from difficult situations is avoidance and unhealthy. When we run away from conflict in a friendship we won’t be able to work through a challenge in a romantic relationship either. The longer we know each other and the more time we spend with one another, the chances are increased for having a difference of opinion. We have to ask ourselves, is the friendship worth fighting for, or is your choice always the easy route to walk away?
If you have difficulty speaking your truth, is it your problem or your friend’s?
- Uses you for your car, money, connections or abilities.
- Is critical of you.
- Makes it all about them.
- Is only interested in how you can help them or support them.
- Makes you feel bad.
- Is jealous of you.
- Covets your husband, boyfriend or partner.
- Cheats on you with your husband, boyfriend or partner.
- Might remind you of your overly critical parent.
- Gives you backhanded compliments.
- Seems uncaring.
- Is extremely negative especially when it has to do with you.
- Gossip behind your back.
- Make comments to ruin an achievement or accomplishment.
- Say hurtful things and then hug you or smile.
- Is in competition with you.
- Is always telling you in different ways how much more accomplished they are than you.
- When you ask a frenemy for help they duck, avoid or don’t respond.
- Use the most personal things about you to hurt and damage trust.
- Will stab you in the back.
What To Do? What To Do?
If you discover that what you thought was a caring mutually supportive friendship and it turns out not to be you have several choices. You can choose to avoid the other person if you don’t like confrontation. You can tell them that you need some space between you to understand what is going on. Or you can confront them openly and tell them how you feel. Be sure to use “I feel…..” statements, rather than, “YOU,” statements. Remember we aren’t victims. It is easy to go into victim mode when someone has been hurtful to you. If it is only one situation, perhaps they really are a true friend and they were irritable when the event occurred. However, if you find that the hurtful and critical comments are too plentiful to ignore it’s time to let this frenemy go. If you wouldn’t put up with it in a loving relationship why would you put up with this behavior in a friend? Take care of you and love yourself unconditionally. Book a session with Jennifer.