You know that person who you hang out with and leaves you wondering why they bothered? Wonder do they even like you? That is a frenemy. So why do they charge us up? Why can’t we walk away without feeling beaten up? I don’t know about you, but I find it infuriating.
When a frenemy comes around I don’t feel comfortable being myself. I become quiet in the presence of the verbal slights, condescension and sharp responses. In a perfect world I would brush it off and not let it bother me. But, it does and I end up taking it very personally. Even worse, I get mad at myself for not speaking up. I would love to respond in calmly, ”the way you’re treating me feels terrible”. But, I don’t. I’m afraid I would blow up the ‘friendship’. Instead I become shy and endure.
There’s a part of me that feels like I deserve that treatment. I tell myself I’m being sensitive. I know I’ve been short and unkind to others. I remember being a condescending jerk, assumed I knew what was best for someone and really screwed up. I own all of those moments. I have been a frenemy. For the record it doesn’t feel good.
Being a frenemy or being around a frenemy feels gross. There is a lack of sharing, no room to be yourself, no room to shine. Most the energy is consumed by avoidance, being careful and choosing words. Those relationships rarely grow into true friendships.
After a recent frenemy exposure, I researched how to deal with difficult relationships. I found Debbie Ford, a self help author (The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Spiritual Divorce and The Secret of the Shadow) and teacher. Here’s one of her brilliant ideas…
I love Ford’s idea that we’re all just a set of flaws we need to accept. After all, everyone has the capacity for great love, hate or worse, apathy. I have plenty of open plugs, qualities in myself I’m trying to accept. I’m impatient, a control freak and a bit jealous. Its hard for me to share and I struggle with feeling like I belong. I fear missing out, being left out, of being alone.
Instead of being tuned up by unpleasant interactions, I can pay attention to what frenemies and others ‘plug’ into. Maybe next time my frenemy comes around I can meet her with more compassion. After all…
For now, I’ll keep working on accepting myself and one more thing… my friends… and I? We like me…open plugs, flaws and all.