What if our friend, somebody we liked and confided in, really didn’t like us so much? A frenemy is somebody who pretends to be a friend but is really a rival.

Of course, we might not know it since they are friendly and attentive whenever we are around, but underneath it all, they have feelings of resentment, bitterness and maybe even hatred.

We all want to be liked, and it is especially difficult to find out that someone you like and trust is secretly talking about you behind your back. The betrayal is one that is felt deep.

Unknowingly, a frenemy could become a relational vampire, depleting energy by triggering emotions, aggressive behavior or undermining what we believe.

So how can you tell the difference between a true friend and a frenemy?

Here are ten warning signs of a frenemy:


1. A Frenemy Wants Instant Attention.

Frenemies usually want close relationships and wish to be the bestie almost immediately after you meet. They schedule “dates,” friend and possible even stalk us on Facebook, and begin texting all at the same day. When our “friend” needs us, they will be all over us, but the moment we need something in return, they suddenly disappear. Friends know that building a committed relationship takes time. Frenemies wish to be too close too early.

2. A Frenemy Over-Shares.

Frenemies will tell their life story, with highly personal information, over a first coffee. They offer to do personal tasks immediately, like picking up our kids at school, running errands or offering do something to make your day a bit easier. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.

In hindsight, we discover there’s an imbalance in such a relationship, and while seemingly doing tasks to help us, our frenemy is probably up to something. They often expect to be repaid, with excitement and with interest.

Friends always keep things about their own life private and enable us to do the same. Frenemies survive on relational entanglement.

3. A Frenemy Intentionally Sabotages.

A frenemy’s aim is never to help one to be more successful than them but to make sure that we fail, or perhaps feel unhappy about the situation. A frenemy often exhibits passive-aggressive behaviors and sometimes they display a clear intent of sabotage.

She will not be happy when everything is going well but would seem nearly gleeful when everything is going terribly. When something great happens like a new career, a raise, a fresh love, the frenemy downplays it or causes it to seem like a fluke.

4. A Frenemy Elicits That Nagging Feeling.

If there is the continual feeling that somebody is not being dependable or has an ulterior motive in seeking our friendship, pay attention – it is probably right. We need to listen to and trust our gut.


5. A Fake Friend Frequently Insults Others.

Her social networking updates include veiled insults about us or other friends. A frenemy does not celebrate our wins but will gleefully, albeit secretly, remind us of our failings. She often finds reasons to make fun of us or challenge our competence.

6. A Frenemy Likes to Dig up Dirt.

Frenemies feed upon negative info and usually look to get more. They would like to know why whenever we say we are feeling a little bit down. Was it an argument with one’s spouse? Are we depressed? The next day, they will move further and ask something different. They love to revel in our misery while pretending to be interested in our well-being.

7. A Frenemy Disguises Complaints as Humor.

Frenemies like to put people down, even in front of others. When questioned, they usually claim it was meant to be light-hearted, opening up the door for another slam. This might sound familiar, “I was just kidding. Many people just cannot take a joke.”

Frenemies like sarcasm are masters of the “Who, me?” game.

Friends might take part in good-natured ribbing. However, they respect our feelings. Frenemies utilize humor as a cover-up for dishing out hurtful blows.

8. Fake Friends Make Us Feel as If We Are Wrong.

Frenemies rarely give anyone the benefit of the doubt. Instead of assuming the best of intentions, they take everything personally, even if unrelated, and make us feel we are to blame.

9. Frenemies Overreact When Challenged.

Unreasonable and often over-reactions can occur when we challenge a frenemy about their behavior.  They are surprised and angered by the lack of faith when we question something the frenemy is doing or requesting. They refuse to discuss it and expect our complete and blind agreement with their plans.


10. Fake Friends are Insensitive.

Lastly, they are insensitive. They are quick to offer advice when we are experiencing trying times but can’t see the value in the advice we give them.

A frenemy is usually unaware of their real motive, which might stem from feelings of jealousy, inferiority, or resentment. However, it’s best to discover these harmful relationships and tackle them quickly.