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HELP! - “How do I Handle 'Frenemies' (friend/enemy) at Work?”

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Courtney Elizabeth Anderson

Courtney Elizabeth Anderson


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In our HELP! SITUATION SPOTLIGHT™ series, we shine the light on challenges that community members have shared with me. This episode is, “How do I Handle ‘Frenemies’ (friend/enemy) at Work?”

What is a frenemy?

“A frenemy is a person you spend time with, enjoy talking with, and rely on at work—but you can't completely trust. He or she is so much a part of your working day that a relationship that isn't strictly business between you two is not just assumed—it's unavoidable. And, day in and day out, it's not unpleasant.

But at the same time you have been burned by this person, who hasn't demonstrated the unyielding loyalty and support you'd expect—and get—from an out-and-out friend.”  

What drives (or motivates) a frenemy?

Passive-aggressive behavior-

“Passive-aggressive behavior is a pattern of indirectly expressing negative feelings instead of openly addressing them. There's a disconnect between what a passive-aggressive person says and what he or she does.

For example, a passive-aggressive person might appear to agree — perhaps even enthusiastically — with another person's request. Rather than complying with the request, however, he or she might express anger or resentment by failing to follow through or missing deadlines.”  (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/expert-answers/passive-aggressive-behavior/faq-20057901)

How Do I Handle a frenemy?

Consistently keep confidential information to yourself. Position yourself weakly. Remain mindful of their strategy. Hope that one day they stop this negative behavior (to find their own future happiness).