Q: So I have this friend who’s super nice, but she can also be super selfish. Like, she always cancels last minute on our plans, and whenever I need her help and support for different things, she’s nowhere to be found. But whenever she’s in trouble, I’m always there for her. I’ve also noticed that when something really cool happens to me — like when I got picked for the soccer team — she doesn’t seem happy for me. In fact, she seems more jealous than anything. She’ll say things that make me feel bad or guilty. I guess I’m wondering whether or not she’s a true friend.
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A: Well, it seems that you’ve got yourself a true frenemy — not friend. Ugh. First off, a frenemy is actually a rival in disguise. They’re the type of people who like to keep their friends close and enemies closer — yikes. Basically, they’re ultra fake and even more toxic. Frenemies are tricky to uncover because they come off as super friendly at first, but underneath they’re hiding gross feelings of resentment, jealousy and bitterness. But as difficult as they might be to spot, there are a few classic warning signs of a frenemy.
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1. She Wants to Be Your Bestie ASAP
A frenemy wants to be super close to you super fast. If a new friend Snaps you a billion times, adds you on Facebook, and asks you to hang out on the weekend all in one day, then chances are she might have an ulterior motive. Legit friends know that a true blue friendship, like any relationship, takes time to grow and develop.
2. She’s Happy When You’re Sad
A frenemy lives on drama, especially when it’s not her own. She’ll want to gossip and talk behind others’ backs, and will try her best for you to do the same. And if you suffer any kind of disappointment — whether it’s a bad grade or a breakup — she almost seems happy (ugh!) about it. On the other hand, if something awesome happens for you — like making the soccer team — she’ll downplay it and might even say she deserved it more.
3. She Criticizes You
Remember: a frenemy is secretly jealous of you, which is why she’ll criticize everything you do. Whether it’s your hair or what you’re wearing, it’ll never seem good enough for your “friend.” You’ll also notice how she’s ALWAYS right, while you’re always wrong. Gross.
4. She’s Competitive With You
If you get a new iPhone, she’ll get one the next day. If you want to go abroad next semester, she will too. If you start a Pilates class once a week, she’ll go twice a week. Sound familiar? This is because a frenemy never wants you to do or have anything “better” than her. She constantly sees you as competition, which means instead of cultivating her own life and identity, she’s always comparing herself to you instead. Yep, it’s twisted.
Sometimes frenemies don’t even realize they’re being toxic because their feelings of jealousy and insecurity run soooo deep. The best thing you can do is listen to your gut, distance yourself from your frenemy as best as you can, and surround yourself with the positive, supportive friends you deserve.