Frienemies Will Come, Frienemies Will Go..
Oh yeah we all have them. Whether you admit or recognize them they do exist, and they exist in your life. You just may not know them by the name. You eat lunch with them, you attend their parties, you live next door to them. Just when you think they are on your side, you find yourself face down on a sidewalk for no apparent reason, and guess who is the closest one to you.
A memorable one in my life happened in when we moved to our home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, my “Shang-ra-la”, over 24 years ago and frankly I can’t even remember the bitch’s name. Forgive my candor. She was rather insignificant in my life other than we lived next door to one another. Her family consisted of two girls and a husband, mine two boys and a husband. Our children went to school together; elementary and middle, they were far friendlier with one another than we parents were. Yet we were cordial, we exchanged niceties, there were brief simple conversations, and did not interfere with our kid’s friendship.
One hot day I was picking my son up and my car died; I wasn’t so worried about the car, I wanted to get the kids home, and my husband was at work. I saw my next door neighbor and thought, “Oh great I can catch a ride with her, my husband won’t have to leave work and when he gets home later he can deal with this”. No, I did not have triple A at the time. If you are a parent you know the scene at school when picking up kids a stream of cars waiting their turn to pick up the children and whisk them away to the next destination, be it home or some after school activity. So I rapidly walked over to her minivan window and said ,”Hi___ (at the time I knew her name;by the time this was over she had a new one that I do still know) my car just died on me and I was hoping I could hitch a ride with you..” She looked at me with an acknowledging but blank look, then said in a cheesy manner while lifting up her cell , ” You can use my phone.” I put my hand up to say STOP squinted my eyes, and walked away shaking my head. I was livid. I had a cell phone, the wait was the issue. I tried to justify why in the seconds that preceded my anger. The oversimplified and most obvious was never far from my first thought. The Peninsula was not the most diverse area of Southern California. We waited for my husband to come and we survived.
About three days later, after the mail truck passed I was out at my mailbox and “she” came out while I was standing there. She gave me this uncertain smile and waved. I glared at her with contempt, our eyes met, I shook my head in disgust, smirked, and walked away. I never waved or spoke to her again. We lived next door to her family about a year after that incident and then we moved to Georgia. Needless to say without any type of exchange.
It is amazing how a simple not well thought-out act can change the course of relationships forever. Looking out for packages when no one was home, watching for strangers, being mindful of children, even paying attention while out and about became stricken from my mind. In reality I did pay even closer attention to those things, hoping for an opportunity to make the decision to be as much of a JERK to her as she was to me. After all now and understandably so, I would help an absolute stranger before I would lift a finger to assist HER in any way, fashion, or form.
I had to stop myself at some point though and realize/admit that we were never anything to begin with. That is what frienemies are about, they get or are close to you, the feign good feelings/ good will and when you least expect it.. watch-out-for-that-cement-truck-comin-at-you-too-late! Frenemies are neighbors , co-workers, relatives and sometimes they are close enough to be mistaken as friends. They want something from you. It may be as simple as, “I need to know you won’t let someone you know break into my house and rob me blind” or “How good are you at this job and how much competition will you pose to me in my quest for this promotion” to “I need to know you won’t let my mate sleep with you“. Get this folks “they” (shoe on the other foot) will let someone break in your house, sabotage your promotion, contest the will, AND sleep with your spouse!
Therefore watch out for them. If you run into someone who has virtually nothing in common with you but you just seem to click, or IF you run into someone who you have an amazing amount of things in common with; take a good look at what you PERCEIVE as the connection. For while strange new relationships seem novel at the time, sometimes with a closer look, you may save yourself an unwanted surprise awakening.