Childhood Frenemies: The Crappy Friends We Thought Were Awesome At The Time
Having a frenemy sucks. But at least there is some sort of unspoken agreement there—that you both acknowledge the sense of competition. The other night, some friends and I were talking about the concept of frenemies at a bar and I realized that I actually had my very first one in high school—only I had no idea that’s what was going on. Leslie* and I were best friends for about a year. But though I couldn’t identify it at the time, there was definitely something off about our friendship. Leslie would always ask me what score I got on a test, only to tell me that she had done better (even if it wasn’t true). And when I told her about the awesome job I’d gotten at a local movie theater, she apparently went in and applied without saying a thing to me about it. But the worst was when I told her about a mega crush I had on a guy in one of my classes. Apparently, at a party one night, she made out with him. When another friend told me this, I confronted Leslie. “Oh,” she said. “I wanted to find out for you if he liked you or if he would kiss another girl.”
At the time, I actually thought, Of course! She was just doing reconnaissance for me. I’m so lucky to have a good friend who looks out for me. But now I get it: she always needed to one up me to make herself feel better.
Talking to other women, it seems like a lot of us had this type of proto-frenemy relationship like this and didn’t quite realize what was going on. After the jump, The Frisky staff tells their tales. Add yours in the comments section.
“My best friend since I was a kid was actually kind of a bully to me when we were young. She was domineering and I was shy. (We’re both normal adults now and love each other like sisters.) Anyway, when we were in 6th grade, we played the ever popular ‘fainting game’ a lot. But I was ALWAYS the one who had to faint. ALWAYS. She also used to tell me she had more friends than I did and to prove it, she suggested we each make a list of all of our friends. She won.” —Amelia
“My best friend Carrie used to loudly point out whenever I had a pimple, which, in middle school, was basically daily. The minute I would come to school she would examine my face and yell to everyone in the vicinity, ‘Wow, Winona, it looks like there’s a volcano erupting on your chin!’ When I asked her why she did it she said she wasn’t sure if I’d noticed them and just wanted to assist in my acne care regimen.” —Winona
“Answer: ALL OF THEM. In 7th grade, for one brief shining moment I was a popular girl. I ate at the cool kids lunch table, I had a lot of friends and I blah blah blah. And then toward the end of 7th grade, the popular kids all decided to turn on me, not for any specific reason, other than because that’s what you did at that age. So I ended my 7th grade year pretty friendless. That was the downside. The upside was it gave me plenty of time to get into weird crap and discover stuff like cool music and ‘120 Minutes.'” —Julie
“I was at a sleepover at a friend’s house. I knew her since I was three years old but was seeing less of her lately because we were at different schools and I had started to land parts in lots of plays at a professional theater company. So, we were about to go to sleep and she said to me, ‘Ever since you started acting, you’ve lost that twinkle in your eye.’ Such a strange thing for a nine-year-old to say, but it absolutely devastated me. I feigned illness and had my parents pick me up. I cried myself to sleep that night.” —Ami
“I had a friend in high school who was a self-proclaimed ‘beauty expert.’ She was always eager to try something new on me, and I willingly let her. The first time she ‘made me beautiful’ was before our first high school dance. I noticed she was pretty focused on looking at herself in the mirror while she simultaneously held hot-ass curling irons over my head, but whatever—I trusted her. Well, before I knew it, the burning irons fell directly onto my arm, immediately creating two huge blisters. Huge! Her idea? Pop them! I listened, and suffered open, disgusting, pink wounds on my forearm that obviously repulsed my date. Likely an accident, but looking back, perhaps not because it didn’t stop there. A few weeks later, she convinced me to turn my natural curls into stick-straight locks a la Claire Danes in ‘My So Called Life.’ My friend’s tool of choice? A hot comb. Hot because it was taken directly off the stove. As soon as she touched the comb to my virgin hair, it hit the floor. I was prematurely bald in one very noticeable spot. As if I couldn’t get enough, I let her put Exuberance color shampoo my hair right after that and it turned out bright purple. A serious of unfortunate accidents or outright sabotage? I guess I’ll never know, but I still have those curling iron scars.” —Kamilah
Now it’s your turn — share your frenemy stories in the comments!