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How to Spot Frenemies

If you have a friend who sometimes acts more like an enemy, you may have a frenemy on your hands. These guidelines will help you sort it out.


  • Step 1: Gauge their reactions Notice how they react when you have good news. Do they seem genuinely happy for you, or do they respond with barbed comments and backhanded compliments?
  • Step 2: Assess their supportiveness Assess their supportiveness. Do they sabotage your self-improvement efforts -- perhaps even egg you on to be self-destructive? A true friend has your best interests at heart.
  • Step 3: Misery loves company Ask yourself if your misery attracts their company. Frenemies like you best when you're at your worst.
  • Step 4: Note how you feel around them Note how you feel after you've spent time with them: Good friends are uplifting; frenemies leave you feeling annoyed with them or bad about yourself. Or both.
  • TIP: If you both cancel plans more than you keep them, you might be frenemies.
  • Step 5: Note how you behave around them Note how you behave around them. Do they bring out the best or worst in you? Frenemies do the latter.
  • Step 6: Examine your own conscience Examine your own conscience. Do any of the preceding bad behaviors apply to the way you treat any of your pals? If so, my friend, you yourself could be a frenemy!
  • FACT: The word "frenemy," which originated in 1977, was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2009.

You Will Need

  • Self-awareness
  • Honest appraisal

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