Tips For Telling If Someone Is A True Friend Or A Frenemy In Disguise

It's easy to tell if someone's your friend or foe, but recognizing a frenemy is trickier. The word "frenemy" is a blend of the words "friend" and "enemy" and the name suggests exactly that — someone who you are close with but oftentimes feel like they don't have your back. Frenemies can make you feel good but also bad at the same time. For example, they may hand you a backhanded insult disguised as a compliment. Or you might have fun with them but be drained when you leave their company.


While you might want to brush these yellow flags under the rug, it's important to listen to your gut. If you feel like a friend is actually a frenemy, you may want to rethink your relationship. However, since friendships ebb and flow and it's possible to have disagreements with true pals, how can you tell if someone's toxic? Look for these clues to determine if you have a real BFF or a frenemy in sheep's clothing.

They aren't happy about your accomplishments

Have you ever told a friend good news and felt like they weren't truly happy for you? That person is probably a frenemy. Perhaps you just got a promotion at work but your friend only points out the downsides of your new promotion. Or your partner proposed and all your so-called pal can do is lament about how single they are.


If you constantly feel a source of negativity from someone, they're probably a frenemy. They may criticize your life choices instead of giving you helpful advice. Frenemies are also quick to point out your supposed flaws and make you feel less than others. They also tend to bring you down in order to make them feel better about themselves. Rather than share your good news with that frenemy, turn to those that lift you up and make you feel like the star that you are. Real friends celebrate any accomplishments in your life, big or small.

It's always about them

Just like any romantic relationship, friendships are a give-and-take between two people. However, if you have someone that always makes everything about them, it can be a sign that they're a frenemy. You may find yourself trying to share something but the conversation always ends up being one-sided. What started out as you talking about your childhood somehow becomes about their unrequited middle-school crush. As a good friend, you might just sit back and listen, but over time, this type of relationship becomes draining. You can't be the only sounding board in a friendship.


If you have a friend that asks how you're doing and remembers important events, that is someone you want in your life. Just like you would check in on someone that's feeling sick, that same person should give you a call if you're feeling sad or worried about a test result. Someone that only cares about themselves and shows narcissistic tendencies is bound to be a frenemy.

You always find yourself in competition with them

Do you have a friend that always tries to one-up you? Just like their tendency to downplay your accomplishments, frenemies also often have a competitive nature that can make you feel like you're never good enough. They may buy the dress you've been coveting for weeks and were saving up for or interrupt you while you're telling a joke to your group of friends. Either way, this person is never going to let you shine.


While having friends that motivate you to push yourself is great, unhealthy competition can lead to a downward internal spiral. If you find yourself always falling short or trying to keep up with your frenemy, you will end up feeling bad about yourself. Keep the friends who you admire and can learn from, but also encourage you to be your best self. There is always room for more than one person to succeed in a friendship.

You don't feel respected

Having someone put you down is never any fun, but if a so-called friend constantly makes fun of you, then it's time to speak up. Light teasing between friends is normal, but jabs disguised as jokes are crossing the line. If you feel unsure about whether or not your friend's teasing is malicious, think about how you feel afterward. Are your feelings hurt? Tell your friend how you feel. If they laugh or brush it off, then they are not a true friend.


You may also feel disrespected in other ways. If your friend is constantly late meeting you, they don't respect you or your time. Sure, life gets in the way sometimes, but if their excuse for not showing up is because they just didn't feel like it, that is not someone that values your friendship. Additionally, if you find yourself getting invited to things at the last minute or because there was no one else available, then count your friend as a frenemy.

There is always drama with them

Is there someone in your life that's always facing some sort of disaster or another? Is that person all about the drama and relishes in the upheaval in their lives? Well, they could be a frenemy. Your role in the friendship most likely consists of you talking them down and helping them sort out their messes. While it's nice to be your friend's helping hand at times, they most likely don't listen to your advice and just need someone to vent to. A person consumed with their own problems is not going to make time for yours, causing the relationship to ultimately lack balance.


Having a frenemy doesn't necessarily mean you need to cut them out of your lives completely, especially if you've been friends for a long time. However, it's okay to set clear boundaries and make it known it's not okay to take advantage of you. A frenemy can turn into a true friend if they take the time to really listen to your concerns. If you feel like you're not getting anywhere, it's perfectly fine to walk away.