I arrived at your birthday dinner, a celebration of your success and achievements of the year. I sit down at the table, and there they are. 5 of them. In our conversations, I’ve heard you talk about how they have stabbed you in the back. How one of them slept with your boyfriend and how much you dislike being around them. Yet there they are, seated at your dinner table, sporting their best outfits and smiles. I wonder ‘why are they here?, why did you invite them?’ I know you don’t like them, you know you don’t like them, the vibe is awkward as fuck for me, and probably you too. And then it dawns on me. Could I be one of them too? Are we actually friends or am I a ‘frenemy’?
Keep your enemies closer they say….But why would I do that? To guard the every move or word like a paranoid lunatic, so that I can quickly diffuse or damage control every interaction that may have a negative affect to my image or life? Sounds exhausting! So that I can collect more evidence of why that frenemy should not be part of my life? Is that not harbouring negativity for myself?
How do you feel about me? How do I know that you genuinely like me if I see your enemies receiving the same treatment? How do I trust your words, your actions? What could you be saying behind my back? I mean, I’m here too, amongst your so called ‘friends’. Am I the only one who feels the underlying tension?
Why do you keep them (us) around? Are you lonely? Are you so scared of being alone and unpopular that anyone will do? ‘Any relationship, any friendship is better than none.’ Do you believe that?
Is it strategic? Are you playing some kind of sick revenge game like we see on those soap opera tv shows? Are you secretly planning a take down? Are you keeping them around because you feel you have to? Do they hold dirt on you that you believe they would use against you, were you not friends anymore?
Are you trying to be the ‘better’ person? A better Christian or whatever? and forgive and forget or fake it till you make it, in hopes that everyone might see what a good and understanding and mature person you are?
Do you feel pity? Are you feeling sorry for your frenemy, that they may not have other people in their life that would fill the void of you not being there? Maybe you don’t know how to break up or end a friendship in an adult and mature manner.
Whatever it is, I pity your insecurity and lack of emotional intelligence. I will not talk so loud however, because I know what some of that stuff feels like. I too have had frenemies. I know too well how to smile when I have to, and say the right things. I know too well the uneasy feeling of poison in my circle of friends.
And then one day, somebody asked me the above questions. And when I responded truthfully after some self-reflection, I saw how ridiculous I was being and how much energy I was expelling trying to keep up with lies and schemes. And one by one I debunked my hang ups. I decided that I would not be afraid of being alone if I liked the person that I was. I decided that I wasn’t going to settle for quantity over quality with my friendships and that popularity was a concept for high school and business. I decided I wanted more for myself, and that I would give my energy to those around me that I trust and those who genuinely wanted to see me happy and successful, those I could rely on. One of the best decisions I ever made for myself.
Maybe one day you will find that place too. Because really, who wants frenemies when you could just have friends?