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The College Student Vs. The Frenemy
Any friendship can have its ups and downs. Some friendships are significantly more stable than others where both friends reciprocate the shoulder-to-cry-on, taking turns paying for nights out, sitting around with that blessed cup of coffee while exchanging pleasantries. But then you have that one friend, or perhaps a few friends who seem more like enemies than they do friends. You constantly butt heads, are constantly consumed by their drama and you often find yourself arguing with them more than you are laughing. Those lovely individuals are known as Frenemies.
I have had more than my fair share of friends who I constantly bicker with. There were times that I even wondered why I even called them a friend. Sometimes it was like I was drawn to their personality despite how different we are and how opposing our outlooks on life were. There was one friend of mine who I found myself resenting a lot. We lived together for about two years and despite how much fun we had sometimes, it seemed she would do things to purposefully aggravate me. What her intentions were or the reasoning behind her actions remained a mystery to me even to this day.
For instance: I would work constantly and didn’t really have much of a social life as a result. I hadn’t enrolled into classes yet, had wanted to take a year off after I had transferred universities. She and I shared the same mutual friends and she would often hang out with them on campus. I would often ask what the new gossip was, what was going on with them, and request that she relay a universal ‘Hey, how are you’ to them for me. Perhaps ask them if they’d call me just to chat and catch up. She would shrug it off most of the time and tell me that they were too busy. At one point she informed me that a number of them didn’t care for me too much anymore and were simply my friend because I at the time was dating one of their friends. Since we had broken up they didn’t see the need to continue the friendship with me. After hearing this, I became quite discouraged. The only friend I seemed to have was a coworker of mine who seemed only to want me around when she needed something or when it was convenient. She was a friend though, other than my roommate so I couldn’t really complain.
When the time came when I finally enrolled at NMU-about six to nine months after my breakup with my boyfriend, I was nervous to find my old group of friends huddled together in an area of one of the commons areas. I saw my roommate with them and wanted to go say hello, since at that point, I didn’t really have any friends. Or so I thought. When I came upon the group I was surprised to find that they were all rather happy to see me, and they greeted me with genuine enthusiasm.
“Where have you been?”
“What have you been up to?”
“Your roomie says that you’ve been working a lot, you don’t have time for us anymore, what’s up with that?”
It seems my darling roommate wanted to isolate me from the rest of the group. Jealousy? Perhaps. Manipulative? Certainly. After that I fell into my once normal routine with them, talked to them regularly, and told them what my roommate had said about them and their feelings toward me which they greeted with a rolling of their eyes. She had sabotaged my social life by manipulating me out of it and socially exiling me with malicious lies to both them and to me. I never could quite grasp why she did what she did because on a day-to-day basis we tolerated each other quite well, I remained cordial to her and had never given her any reason that I am aware of to isolate me.
Besides the isolation, she ate all my food while I was at work, hosting large gaming parties so by the time I had a day off, I had nothing but Ramen to eat. I kept a mini fridge in my room, locked my room, kept canned food in my closet as spare so I’d have something to eat then found that she had picked the lock while I was at work and rifled through my belongings. I let it slide, but when something really bothered me I voiced my concern. This was always met with contempt and entries in her livejournal account which I would later hear about when I finally rekindled the friendships with my old group.
Later on down the line, she moved out and got her own apartment, while trying to hide some of my belongings in with the garbage elemental that had taken control of her room. After ‘finding’ a few of my belongings stashed within her stuff, things that were obviously hidden with the intent to abscond with them, I had taken it upon myself to help her pack while she was staying with a friend one night. I took back what was rightfully mine and packed the rest and drove it out to her new apartment much to her surprise.
Much to my ex-husband’s dismay, I still maintained a distant friendship with her despite her many manipulations. I’m not entirely sure as to why either. Could be that at some points she showed actual caring and made me laugh. Or it could be that I’m just entirely too forgiving. Even now I still have a number of friends that could constitute as enemies as a result of their selfishness. A few are long-distance friendships and only seemed to call when they wanted to drag me head first kicking and screaming into their dramas or if they’re actually close by-only contact me when they want something of me, a favor or request of sorts. Otherwise I don’t hear from them unless it’s convenient. Perhaps I’m entirely too nice and give one too many chances. Or perhaps I crave that feeling that I get when I am around them and the infrequent happy times while I ignore the bleak reality that the friendship is toxic.
How do you then, get out from underneath the thumb of the Frenemy? One option is that you can talk it out with them. Tell them how you truly feel and perhaps find a way to rectify the situation. Sometimes these friends don’t realize that they’re causing harm and don’t have intent to harm you. Sometimes people’s stress and drama are all that they see and they neglect to take into consideration the feelings of those around them. In these cases, if they’re genuine, they’ll apologize and find ways to alter their behavior so as to not be so offensive. In other instances this could cause another argument. If this is the case then perhaps it’s time to reevaluate the importance of this individual-especially if they’re actions are vicious, intentional, and malicious. There are many people out there in this world and we all have to face those people we love to hate but can’t seem to get enough of. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a slight case of self-sabotage and other times I wonder if it’s a masochistic need to want to make them into people we thought they were. Perception has a lot to do with friendships and sometimes our perceptions of individuals are horribly flawed. As soon as we open our eyes and minds to the toxicity of certain individuals, we are able to extract them from our lives and live much healthier and happier without being weighed down by the negative influence of the Frenemy.