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How to “Break Up” with a Frenemy


When a long-term friendship ends, the buzz immediately starts. Probing questions are whispered behind backs: “Did she try to steal her boyfriend?” “Is she jealous of her weight loss?” “What happened between them?!” What those whisperers fail to realize is that it is normal to outgrow a friendship. However, it’s typically seen as cruel to declare to a friend that it’s time to part ways. This stigma often causes people to hold onto relationships way past their expiration date in an attempt to avoid unpleasantness, unnecessarily clinging to friends for whom they’ve completely lost love and affection. The result? The frenemy: a “friend” that displays enemy-like characteristics. Spoiler: true friends never display enemy-like characteristics. It’s important to know when and how to sever ties with a friend (or friend-no-more). If you don’t, you might find yourself in the midst of a huge blowout with unnecessarily hurtful words (and possibly shoes) being thrown. Learn how to break-up with your frenemy before they become a volatile enemy.

Think it Through
Now don’t be hasty. Sometimes in a fit of anger, you might feel the desire to completely cut off someone. That’s not what we’re talking about here. The decision to end things with a former friend, or any other person in your life, shouldn’t be taken lightly or made at the peak of an argument when your adrenaline and anger are both running high. Sit down, and have a rational conversation with yourself. Make a list if necessary. If you think things can be worked out, then you should definitely try. However, if you find that your friend is contributing more bad than good to your life, then say goodbye. 

Acknowledge the Facts
This step is the hardest. Accepting the fact that you no longer want someone in your life can be painful and uncomfortable. You suddenly remember all of the fun that you two have had. The shopping sprees and girls’ vacations come rushing back. This is the girl that you met and immediately bonded with at your university’s freshman orientation, and you were quite sure that you’d be taking pictures together on graduation day. Hoarding emotions is an easy way to distract yourself from the less-than-fun task you have in front of you. Remember this: the past is the past. While you’ll always have those warm memories to reflect on, reminiscing doesn’t solve the issue at hand, nor will it resuscitate what you once had.

Talk it Out
Invite your frenemy out to coffee or over to your place. Calmly and rationally let them know how you’re feeling. This conversation is not meant to turn into an argument. Now is not the time for snide remarks and dirty looks. That behavior is what got you both here in the first place. If you know that you are an emotional person and thus likely to stray off track, keep a small post-it nearby reminding you of the main points that want to make. Express to your frenemy that while you’ll always remember the good times and appreciate all the memories, you feel as though your friendship has run its course. If you need an example, refer to Lauren Conrad’s epic goodbye conversation with former best friend Heidi Montag on MTV's reality series “The Hills.” Lauren was calm, rational and ladylike when she stated that she wanted to forgive, forget and move on. While there is a slight possibility that your frenemy might be taken off guard like with Lauren and Heidi on “The Hills,” chances are, they’ve been feeling the same way.

It may be difficult to determine if you’re dealing with an actual frenemy or just going through a rough patch with a friend. There is a distinguishing factor. The frenemy and emotional vampire are often one in the same. An emotional vampire is a person who drains the happiness and positivity from your life. This is someone who thrives on negativity, drama and conflict. You might feel a subconscious dread when you know that you are going to see them or a relief when they leave your presence. How do you spot such a person? Be wary of those who often deliver underhanded comments, subliminally trying to bring you down. A frememy is not a very good source of support and is often absent when you need a shoulder to cry on. Also, remember that misery loves company. This person might love to remind you of mistakes that you’ve made in the past and will be less than thrilled when good things happen for you.

While breaking up with a frenemy can be an extremely difficult and emotionally draining task, it’s a necessary and inevitable part of life. Sometimes, we outgrow things that we once cherished (see: your lime green glitter nail polish/Hannah Montana bedspread/high school boyfriend). Frenemies and other toxic relationships bring psychological clutter into your life, causing you to neglect other important relationships. If, at some point, you realize that most of the negativity in your life stems from a particular source, take the time to evaluate that relationship. If you find that you’ve got a frenemy on your hands, you’ll know what to do.

By: Adjoa Bruce | Image: Source

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