March 13, 2011


It’s easy to draw a line between a friend and an enemy, but what if she’s both? A frenemy is like having a portmanteau, a leather suitcase that opens into two hinged compartment. When packing your clothes separate your travel essentials (the wet from the dry or the formal from the casual) in two caompartments but when you close the suitcase, they merge and become one. She’s therefore a “friend” (in quotations) and an enemy combined into one.
My curiosity got me to delve into this type of relationship when photos of the movie Black Swan showed actress Natalie Portman with Mila Kunis, the archrival of Natalie in the movie. They were shown dining and trading notes, seemingly convivial and friendly, but Mila was out to steal the lead role from Natalie, therefore she’s Natalie’s competition, her nemesis. But, hold on, could it be Natalie fits the same bill in Mila’s eyes?

Frenemies are bad news.
If you connect with people you may have lots of fun to share with and may even share interests with but they may have a dark side that makes them talk behind your back, focus on your faults and flaws with the intent to use you for their own gain, you have a frenemy. A frenemy is far from being your friend even if you wrongly listed her in your mobile directory or Facebook friends list. She’s toxic and she’ll devour you like Hannibal Lecter (with Chianti poured from a traditional straw-lined fiasco bottle, if at all).
Why? Because ultimately, it’s all about her. The limelight must be directed on her. You are just a prop, a shoo-in, therefore dispensable. If you don’t make her feel superior and outstanding, she will have no need for you and maybe then leave you alone – but only when you’re spent and your spirit broken. What a cheat.
I know of the case of my two classmates, Anna and Elisa, who were the best of friends. They went to the same school, graduated with the same profession and their husbands were best friends, too.

One day, Anna’s husband came home from a business trip in Geneva. In a steady voice, he said, “I’m leaving you. I don’t love you at all because I am in love with Elisa. She fulfills me”.
Anna was the last person to know. And to think that she trusted Elisa so implicitly that she named her the guardian of her children in case something happened to her. Elisa, her so called best friend, was, all this time, her frenemy.

Before it gets awkward, you must be in a position to get away from a frenemy and avoid her altogether. The funny part is that she enrages you so much that you too start talking against her. Not everyone will understand you. Others will, in fact, get curious to get to the bottom of your vendetta or your smear campaign, even if you’re telling the truth. It would such a despicable, heart-wrenching, lousy and negative exercise for you. Shocking especially to realize that she is capable of bringing out the worse in you and you won’t like what you have become.
Some say she sets a “trap”. She’d bribe you with everything under the sun – perks, travel, eats, shopping, and jewelry – fun stuff and the good times that you truly enjoy. She’d even introduce you to her charmed circle to keep you hovering by.

Is she with saving? Even if you confront her and she admits her wrongdoings, and she tells you, “Let’s start again and bury the past”, she’s not to be trusted because she’ll let the situation cool down a bit and be back to her old, insidious and damaging ways. This person will continue to bring you down until you demand something better for yourself.
When I asked someone to describe a frenemy, she replied, “An enemy disguised as a friend”.
That’s the key word. Disguised. She’s a fraud. I met this woman who wanted to sweet talk her way to the highest position in out office and she didn’t hesitate to use her physical attributes to gain a footing. For a brief moment, she was succeeding until everybody got wind of her evil motives and she was dismissed for fabricating lies and intrigues. She got caught in her own web of deceit.
So what should you do with frenemies? “Keep your friends close and your frenemies closer”. It’s a present-day take on Mario Puzo’s novel, The Godfather, when Don Corleone, played by Marlon Brando, said, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer”.
Must we? Why complicate our lives or surround ourselves with dark, negative energy?
It’s better to wish all frenemies “Godspeed” and bid them goodbye. And good riddance.


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