“Veronica, I don’t think you can cut it as a lawyer. You just don’t have what it takes!” The faltering sound of her voice, as she responded, told me that my words crushed her. I felt guilty, but that didn’t matter. The seed of doubt was planted. My life was falling apart and riddled with insecurity. Meanwhile, Veronica was hopeful about her future. I simply couldn’t stand it!
Last week, Shasta Nelson, founder of friendship-matching site GirlFriendCircles.com, asked me how I became an expert on frenemies. As I responded, “I’ve had to deal with frenemies,” I knew that was only part of the truth. The other half of the story is that I have been the frenemy!
September is International Women’s Friendship Month, a time for women worldwide to celebrate the soul-strengthening bonds of friendship. But, it should also be a time to examine how we friend others…because sometimes a frenemy can lurk within.
While we spare no tears over losing enemies, it hurts to the core to lose a friend. And during our darkest hours, the friendship of a frenemy can prove to be comforting. But, that’s not enough. Frenemies have to be challenged to deal with their issues and grow!
My negative self-image caused me to project my insecurities onto Veronica and as long as she allowed me to—I disguised my issues as her problems. Knowing I was wrong, I hated myself even more. Thankfully, she outgrew my madness and when she learned to follow her heart, I had to face my mess.
If you value your friendships, I encourage you to do as I had to one day—examine your heart for frenemy tendencies by asking yourself the following questions:
1. Do you speak the truth in love? I like to be told the unvarnished truth and then I manage my emotions around it. I’ve learned, however, that this doesn’t work for everyone. I used to disguise my motivations for speaking my unfiltered mind under the guise of being direct. Truthfully, I valued feeling superior, I now try to operate from this perspective: If I am motivated by anything other than the desire to see others improve or succeed—I need to keep quiet!
2. Do you vanish during the up times? I loved donning my super shero cape, but when it was time to break out the party hats, it was nearly impossible to find me. The truth is I felt “needed” in my friendships when I could come to the rescue and share in my friend’s misery. But I always had excuses for not showing up when it was time to celebrate. Finding comfort in a friend’s misery, rather than their celebration screams of being a frenemy.
3. Are you intimidated by their friends? New friends on the scene alarm the frenemy! They need to control things, so they either consistently find fault with new pals or jockey to establish a relationship with those individuals to the point of excluding the mutual friend. Insecurities and jealousies keep the frenemy involved in “one-up” maneuvering.
In December we started the conversation of “Friending Wisely” and continued it a few weeks ago with “Working with the Frenemy.” Tune in next week, as I share how to address the frenemy with in.
Do Your Work! If you’re a frenemy, the first step to change is admitting it to someone you trust. Allow the right person to hold you accountable and develop new behaviors.
Define Your Wealth! Affirm out loud, “I am a loyal, faithful and loving friend. I can celebrate others, because I am learning to love myself!”
Recently named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to turn their Worth into Wealth as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.