Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Frenemies (Part 2): Good Friends vs. Frenemies

In my previous post, Friends (Part 1): Good Friends vs. Frenemies I talked about what makes a good friend. A lot of those traits, I try to apply to myself so that I don't accidentally become someone else's frenemy. However, there is a lot more involved in how a frenemy actively sabotages the friendship.

Traits of Frenemies

1.) They trigger your intuition
Frenemies will make you feel as if something is wrong or that they are talking behind your back. It will always seem like they are trying to use you or that they have ulterior motives. Be careful however not to let your own fears or paranoia make you believe your totally awesome friend is a frenemy. They don't deserve that!
2.) They don't know why their "old friends" or "everyone" says they are mean.
They probably won't have any perspective about themselves and might say things like, "I'm not mean, I just speak my mind" or "I'm not sure why people thing I'm a jerk". This means they don't take ownership of their own faults. There is a difference between being an asshole while owning up to that fact and being an asshole while pretending it's just them "keeping it real".
3.) They exhibit narcissistic behavior
A frenemy displaying this trait will be dismissive of your thoughts and interests by either pretending that those ideas were there own or "old news". The relationship will be about them; when they want to hang out, where they want to go, who they want to go with, etc. And most likely will manage to make every conversation about themselves.
 4.) They are accusatory when you put your loved ones or yourself first
This trait compliments the about narcissistic behavior. They will expect to drop everything for them with unrealistic vision. An example of this would be if you were at your Grandmother's hospital because she was about to die and your friend was sending you many angry texts because you couldn't come over to help her dye her hair. A frenemy will believe their hair crisis is more important than your dying Grandma.
5.) They do not listen
Most frenemies select what they want to hear. Sometimes they even hear nothing until it relates to them. This selective hearing is often used by a frenemy to validate their hurtful behaviors and can be used to gaslight you into false guilt.
6.) They are not there
Frenemies are simply are too busy for you or not interested in being around you. This is habitual and usually for reasons that are hurtful. They will pass up being there because they have a hangnail. When a friend cancels on something important or can't be there remember that there is a difference between real reasons and fake excuses.
7.) They don't accept you
A frenemy simply won't like you or will want to change you. This tends to be a progressive passive aggressive trait. Over time all the things you do or say will slowly be rejected by them. They might even go as far as trying to control or change you so that they CAN like you. 
8.) They do not forgive
A frenemy will see any little slight against them as the real damage to the friendship. These "slights" will often be reviewed and restated for years. Sometimes they might even create falsehoods that are unforgivable. Often what they can't forgive you for is so mundane compared to the things you've repeatedly forgave them for that the imbalance can be absolutely soul crushing. Remember that there there are two winners in a healthy friendship because friends thrive off each other. 
9.) They can act on their own paranoia.
They might ask you if you are still friends or accuse you of not being a good friend. A frenemy can even believe falsehoods about you to match whatever idea they have of you within their minds. They'll be passive aggressive or fluctuate rapidly between acceptance and anger towards you depending on their mood.
Of course there are other behaviors of frenemies and often a person doesn't have all these traits. However, if you cringe at reading this thinking about a particular person than it might be time to address that elephant in the room. A good friend will take intervention to heart. A bad friend will start casting blame or reject you for bringing up these feelings. 

Good luck out there in the world of friendsies!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Friends (Part 1): Good Friends vs. Frenemies

I thought I would share what I've learned about spotting the good friends in your life and weeding out the bad friends. I have had a number of frenemies over the years and I have realized that sometimes they are hard to spot.

Understanding the differences can help you in a number of ways; you can begin to address the problems that are occurring in your relationships, you can mitigate toxic people from your life, and you can start to understand the traits of the people you want to bring into your inner circle.

Traits of Good Friends

1.) They listen
When friends listen, they really listen. That means minimal interruptions, re-framings of what they hear, asking of questions, and other symbols of quiet compassion. 
2.) They are there
The friends you want in your life are present. That means they listen and they want to be there for you. When you ask them for help, they offer it gladly. If physical distance is an element to your relationship, they do little things to remind you that they are there.
3.) They are happy for you
Good friends are genuinely happy for you when your life is good. When you hit a snag,  they cheer you on, They are eager to hear how things turn out and are thrilled when you share your good news.
4.) They accept you
They aren't trying to change you. Good friends like you. They like you at your best and they like you at your worst. 
5.) They push you to accept yourself while encouraging you to improve
This means they do accept you but they also listen to your ambitions. They are your cheerleader and coaches. They are the ones that give healthy perspectives and that feels damn good.
6.) They have your back
This means when you do something stupid they don't shame you. They jump in with you. Yes, they might want to have a conversation with you if you want to go on a murder spree. However, in everything else you have a unquestioning partner ready to bring it.
7.) They practice forgiveness
Everyone makes mistakes and a friend understands this. They will be the person that is eager to forgive you because you are important to them. Just be sure you aren't putting your friendship on line by expecting unreasonable or repeated forgiveness.
8.) They will humble you
Their caring for you will act like a mirror. It will inspire you to want to be better and invest more into the friendship. It will remove ego and make the relationship about the friendship and not the individual.
All of these things are elements of a good friendship and of course there other things to consider like; shared interests, personalities, distance, etc. Soon I'll address what things can be indicators that you actually have a frenemy on your hands.

Edit: Here is the post about frenemies called Frenemies (Part 2): Good Friends vs. Frenemies for your enjoyment.