• 13/06/2024 16:31

A wolf in sheep's clothing: what are the Frenemi and why are they worse than your enemies?

Each of us has someone in our lives about whom we are not entirely sure. It could be a colleague who is friendly to you one day but screws you over the next day. It hurts more when it happens to friends. You've probably heard the term frenemi on the Internet. But what is frenemi?

Content What is phrenemi? Why are phrenemi worse than your obvious enemies? What should you do if you communicate with phrenemi?

Is your friend one? WomanEL will share with you the opinion of psychologist Adam Grant about why these people are even more dangerous than obvious enemies.

What is frenemy?

Experts define frenemy (friend + enemy) as a friend who doesn't have your best interests at heart, betrays your trust, undermines your confidence, or belittles your successes. A frenemy can be someone who doesn't show up when you really need support , does not respect your boundaries, or makes you feel invisible and unheard.

Unlike true friendships, researchers have found that phrenemi are characterized by:

  • Competitiveness (considering the other rather as a rival to be surpassed rather than a friend to be supported);
  • Envy (either in terms of social connections or material benefits);
  • Mistrust (lack of respect and care in friendship).

Why frenemi are worse than your obvious enemies

“The problem is that ambivalent relationships are unpredictable,” Grant writes for The New York Times. “With a clear enemy, you raise your shield when your paths cross. With phrenemi, you never know if Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde will show up.”

Indeed, research has shown that a frenemi can cause you more suffering than a direct enemy because these relationships are often so intricate that you never know how you will be treated. This stress causes adverse health effects. According to one 2012 study, ambivalent relationships lead to a greater risk of disease. They can also lead to increased blood pressure.

What to do if you communicate with frenemy?

How to communicate with frenemy, Source: freepik.com

We hope you understand that you need to stay away from phrenemi. But if you need to get in touch with him for one reason or another, the key is to set clear and firm boundaries. While you may feel uncomfortable dealing with someone's passive aggression or snide comments, having good emotional boundaries can mean that you don't take on other people's emotional burdens (called trauma dumping) or engage in triggering topics.

When it comes to communication, it is best to clearly define what you consider acceptable. So if you're not ready to talk about something, you don't like the tone in which people talk to you, or you feel humiliated by insults or jokes, be open about your barriers.

Even though you don't If you can guarantee they will respond correctly, you'll know you did everything you could to protect your well-being.

Want more helpful psychology advice? Stop chasing happiness (it's overrated).

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