The Difference Between Frenemies And Friends

The Difference Between Frenemies And Friends

Updated on July 5, 2024

Are you familiar with the fine line that separates friends from frenemies? Do you subscribe to the belief that anyone who lends a hand during tough times is a friend, and conversely, anyone who wrongs you must be an enemy? Such notions often prevail in the minds of many. However, reality paints a more nuanced and complex picture. In this article, we embark on a journey to unravel the distinctions that separate true friends from frenemies. By shedding light on these subtle yet profound differences, we aim to equip you with the tools to discern between allies and potential threats, ultimately safeguarding your success and well-being.

Frenemies And Friends

Friendship is the cornerstone that keeps our society running smoothly, providing us with comfort and support. True friends have the remarkable ability to inspire us to reach our full potential. Unlike our parents, family members, or often our coworkers, the choice of our friends is within our control.

Good friends not only enrich our lives but also contribute to our success and overall well-being, potentially even extending our lifespan. However, lurking in the shadows is a sinister presence – those who masquerade as friends but are, in reality, our adversaries. These impostors have the potential to undermine our achievements and wreak havoc on our lives.

In the complex tapestry of our social lives, we often find ourselves entangled in a web of relationships that can be both nurturing and perplexing. Among these connections, two terms stand out: “frenemies” and “friends.” While both words describe people we interact with regularly, they represent vastly different dynamics in our lives. Understanding the distinction between frenemies and friends is essential for our emotional well-being, personal growth, and maintaining healthy relationships.

As we embark on this exploration of the subtle, yet significant, differences between these two relationship types, we will delve into the intricacies of human interaction. From the trust that forms the cornerstone of friendship to the hidden complexities of frenemy dynamics, we will unravel the various facets that define these two distinct categories.

In a world where social circles continue to expand and contract, where friendships can be tested and frenemies can lurk in the shadows, it’s vital to discern who stands by our side as genuine friends and who merely wears the facade of friendship. Join us on this journey as we shed light on the subtle nuances that set frenemies and friends apart, helping you navigate the labyrinth of your social life with newfound clarity and confidence.

What exactly is a frenemy?

“Frenemy,” a fascinating linguistic creation, is a portmanteau that seamlessly blends the words “friend” and “enemy.” This intriguing term encapsulates the paradoxical nature of a relationship wherein one maintains an amicable facade while harboring deep-seated antipathy or rivalry. In essence, a frenemy is someone who embodies the characteristics of both a friend and an enemy, blurring the boundaries between these contrasting roles.

This versatile term finds application across various domains, encompassing personal interactions, geopolitical dynamics, and commercial dealings. It is a lens through which we can examine not only individual relationships but also the intricate interplay between groups, institutions, and nations. Frenemyhood is not confined to mere coexistence; it often characterizes a competitive and, at times, tense form of friendship, where alliances are forged and tested in the crucible of conflicting interests and emotions.

Types of frenemies

Frenemies can be divided into different categories based on their behaviors:

  • One-sided frenemy: When one person reaches out or meets another person only when s/he needs help or a favor, then s/he can be considered as a one-sided frenemy to the latter person. This person doesn’t care about the life of the other person and doesn’t have any interest in what is going on with the other. Also, they do not show up in time of the other’s need. So, it is a one-sided relationship.
  • Unfiltered/Undermining frenemy: This type of frenemy insults his/her friend, makes fun of them, cracks sarcastic jokes about them so frequently that it gets hard for them to tolerate. S/He discloses their secrets in public. So, that person will eventually start to hate this frenemy.
  • Over-involved frenemy: This kind of frenemy gets involved in his/her friend’s life in ways that they might not approve. S/he reaches out to their family, friends or significant others in inappropriate ways without their permission to find something out. Their over-involvement bothers and irritates the friend.
  • Competitive work frenemy: This kind of frenemy is basically a competitor of one person. Since they work in the same place or area, s/he behaves well, makes compliments and acts as a well-wisher, but in reality, s/he never wants something good to happen to the other. S/He never wants them to become more successful than him/her.
  • Ambivalent frenemy: This kind of frenemy has both positive and negative qualities. Sometimes they can be helpful and polite but sometimes they also act in a selfish or competitive way.
  • Jealous frenemy: Jealousy can turn friends into frenemies. A person may become jealous of his/her friends because of their raise, success, beauty, personality, humor, social status.
  • Unsure frenemy: When one does not know exactly the status or closeness of their friendship. For example, they are not sure if the other person likes him/her or not, if they are real friends or just business friends, if the other will consider inviting him/her in family programs.
  • Passive-aggressive frenemy: They make mean remarks and give backhand compliments, but never directly to one’s face. They can leave a person feeling confused about whether they have done something wrong.

Source: Wikipedia Frenemy

Moral Story Of A Little Bird And Cat

Once, a tiny bird embarked on a journey south to escape the harsh winter cold. However, the frigid air took its toll, and the bird succumbed to the biting chill, plummeting to the ground in a vast, open field.

As she lay there, helpless and shivering, fate took an unexpected turn. A passing cow, oblivious to the tiny creature beneath it, relieved itself, covering the bird in warm, steaming dung. Surprisingly, the bird, encased in this unconventional cocoon, started to feel the gradual thawing of her icy body.

In a matter of moments, the cozy embrace of the dung transformed her discomfort into a sense of warmth and contentment. Overwhelmed with gratitude for this unexpected sanctuary, the bird couldn’t help but burst into a joyful song, her melodious notes filling the air.

However, as fate would have it, the sweet sounds of the bird’s song reached the ears of a wandering cat. Following the enchanting melody, the cat uncovered the bird beneath the pile of dung and swiftly ended her newfound solace by making her an unfortunate meal.

This curious tale serves as a poignant reminder that life’s twists and turns can bring unexpected comforts and challenges alike. It underscores the importance of staying cautious, even in moments of apparent relief, as circumstances can change swiftly and unpredictably.

Morals of the story:
1: Not everyone who does something wrong to you is your enemy.
2: Not everyone who helps you out of trouble is your friend.

Friends for only benefits

We often encounter individuals who appear as friends during our moments of joy and celebration but vanish when the skies grow cloudy and sad. These acquaintances seem drawn to those with wealth and social status, readily offering their support for personal gain.

Their motivations are solely driven by self-interest, seeking to reap the benefits of the association. However, when circumstances take a downturn, and the person’s wealth and status dwindle, these so-called friends are nowhere to be found, unwilling to extend a helping hand or even a simple meeting.

Who Are Real Friends?

There exists a category of friends who stand out from the rest. These steadfast companions are the ones who remain by your side through both the highs and lows of life. Their motivations are never tainted by self-interest; instead, they’re willing to make profound sacrifices for your well-being and readily step forward to assist you in times of trouble. Their presence is a source of solace and motivation, spurring you onward towards success.

Loyal friends have a unique way of elevating our spirits. When we find ourselves in the depths of despair, they are the ones who lift us up, and when we falter and err, they do not hesitate to call us out.

What sets genuine friends apart is their ability to identify any negative influences in our lives and address them with care and guidance. They staunchly support and encourage the positive aspects of our journey.

These good friends, characterized by their sincerity and honesty, expect nothing less from us in return. Their most valuable gift is the investment of their precious time and boundless energy. They refrain from engaging in gossip behind your back, maintaining a level of trust that is unwavering.

Should any issues arise, a true friend will approach you directly, aiming to facilitate your personal growth and betterment. As the years pass, real friends stand the test of time, bringing out your best qualities and nurturing your self-assurance.

They offer praise genuinely, reserved for moments when you’ve genuinely earned it, and they never dispense insincere compliments. Criticism, if ever expressed, is done with utmost discretion and in private, never exposing you to public scrutiny. In the world of genuine friendships, constructive growth takes precedence over critique.

Some make you feel enemy

There exists yet another intriguing type of individual who, at first glance, may come across as aloof or distant. Their behaviour can often be mistaken for that of an adversary, as they rarely smile or engage in prolonged conversations. Curiously, these individuals do not concern themselves with their status or wealth; they remain seemingly indifferent to these superficial aspects.

However, when the storms of trouble gather on your horizon, these enigmatic souls step forward without a prompt, extending a helping hand and taking the necessary actions on your behalf. Their actions are devoid of any ulterior motives or expectations of gratitude; they help simply because it is in their nature to do so.

Identifying such individuals can be a tricky endeavour, as their initial demeanour might lead you to believe they are unfriendly or disinterested. Yet, once their genuine intentions are uncovered, it becomes clear that they stand apart from the traditional concept of friendship. Frenemies, on the other hand, thrive on proximity but harbour hidden agendas, deriving sustenance from your energy while concealing their true intentions.

Recognise real friends

It’s a common human tendency to form judgments about people based on their outward appearances and behaviours. However, as you astutely pointed out, this approach can sometimes lead us astray. The true essence of an individual often lies hidden beneath the surface, concealed within their hearts and intentions.

In our pursuit of companionship and connection, we extend our trust, offer our friendship, and invite people into our lives with open arms. We confide in them, sharing our innermost thoughts, secrets, and even our family matters. It’s during these moments that some individuals can skillfully disguise themselves as true friends, creating an illusion of trustworthiness and camaraderie.

Yet, when the opportunity arises, these individuals reveal their true colours, and rather than uplifting us, they seek to bring us down. This unfortunate scenario highlights the importance of discernment in our relationships. While it’s essential to be open-hearted and welcoming, it’s equally crucial to exercise caution and take the time to truly understand the people we allow into our lives.

Genuine friendships are built on trust, mutual respect, and the authenticity of the heart. These connections stand the test of time, providing unwavering support and understanding through life’s ups and downs. To avoid falling prey to the wrong friends, it’s essential to look beyond the surface, understand the intentions of those around us, and nurture relationships that are grounded in sincerity and trust, rather than superficial appearances.

The Difference Between Friends and Frenemies

Qualities Of True Friends

  • Always be there to help you in trouble
  • Always ready to do anything for you
  • Never judge you
  • Forgets and forgives you when you are wrong
  • Never jealous of you
  • Sad to hear anything against you
  • Happy about your success
  • Keeps his/her promises and makes you keep yours, too.
  • Neither leads nor follows but walks with you
  • Share problems with you rather than just words

Read Never Keep Bad Friends

Read Forgiveness Leads To Light, Love And A Joyful Life

How do you spot a frenemy?

  • Never think good of you
  • Happy to see you face problems
  • Try to hurt you in any manner which is bad for you
  • Sad about your success
  • Talk rubbish about yourself to others
  • Try to put you down

This doesn’t mean all who are not friends are enemies.


In the intricate dance of human relationships, it becomes evident that appearances can be deceiving. While we often assess others based on their outward demeanour, the true measure of a person lies within their heart and intentions. The stories and reflections we’ve explored serve as a poignant reminder that trust and discernment are vital in building lasting connections. Genuine friendships, grounded in trust, mutual respect, and authentic intentions, endure the tests of time and offer unwavering support. In our quest for companionship, let us remember to look beyond the surface, nurturing relationships that enrich our lives and stand as a testament to the enduring power of authentic friendship. While making friends and telling your secrets make sure you have a really true friend and not a frenemy.

What is your view about true friends?

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