I should probably start by telling you that I’m guilty. I’m guilty of entertaining “friendships” with questionable women who display suspect behavior. Why? I’m not exactly sure, but I believe that part of it is due to my constant efforts to see the best in people. So much so that I tend to overlook behaviors that clearly indicate a person probably doesn’t have my best interest at heart.
I met my first frenemy in elementary school and it took her burning me several times in middle school before I finally woke up and realized that I’d better cut this girl off before she does the unimaginable, and of course, I’d have no one to blame but myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fool. I was always fully aware of her shady behavior, but I was in my early teens and I frequently second guessed myself. I believe that’s the tricky thing about frenemies. They are not fans of the obvious, but instead, they’re crafty masters of subtlety and doctors of deception. A frenemy will almost never do something so blatantly obvious that they leave you walking away determined to never speak to them again. Oh no, that would be too easy. A frenemy would rather strike you soft enough to come across as playful, but hard enough to cause you to want to strike back. They commit shady deeds that are so illusive, they’re almost unidentifiable and often leave you asking yourself, “Did that just happen?” which eventually leads to “Maybe they didn’t mean it that way,” and somehow becomes, in many cases for me, “I’m probably overreacting.” And of course, the cycle continues. As subtle as they may be though, you can almost always count on a frenemy to eventually go overboard and hurt you in an irreversible way. It may come now, it may come later, but I’d bet my last dollar that it will come eventually.
It took me encountering people like this throughout high school and college before it dawned on me that entertaining frenemies was like playing Russian roulette. Dealing with sly and underhanded people may seem harmless while in your teens, but as I got older, I quickly learned that the stakes are higher once you enter adulthood because you have so much more to lose, which brings me to my latest revelation. Several years ago, I formed somewhat of a friendship with a woman who eventually began displaying frenemy-like behavior. It was like a full-time job to show myself as someone welcoming enough to carry on a friendship, but keeping enough distance between us so that she couldn’t burn me. Letting her know enough about me for us to get to know each other, but not enough that she could use any of the information she knows about me to hurt me. I would literally attempt to stay five steps ahead of her just to protect myself from the wrath of the frenemy that I knew would eventually come. Then one day I slowed down and asked myself, “Who the heck has time for this?” Who has time carry on a not-so-sincere friendship with a person you can’t even let your guard down around because you have apprehensions about their loyalty? Either you’re with me or you’re not, right? I mean really, what grown woman has time to play the frenemy game? It’s silly, time consuming and in the end, a snake will always be a snake. In that moment, I made up my mind that my genuine friendship is gift, my time is precious, and neither will be wasted on insincere people.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since entering my twenties, it’s that real women don’t entertain frenemies. There are much better ways to spend your time, and with much better people.
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.