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How To Share Mutual Friends With An Enemy

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"Frenemies." Not your kind of Mean Girls definition of someone who you pretend to like but really, you both know you hate each other. I mean "frenemy" as in someone who used to be your friend until some unforgivable drama ensued, or an acquaintance you don't like and everyone knows it. Unfortunately you share the same social circles and have the unfortunate privilege of bumping into each other more often than you'd like.

So your frenemy has the same friends you do, and you are faced with the task of adjusting your social life to avoid running into them. Jealousy wells up inside you as you realize that you are not invited to certain get-togethers because she or he happened to be invited first. Sometimes you ask a friend to hang out, but too late--they had already made plans with your rival. You suck it up and take a rain check.

But no! There has to be a way to coexist in this world with your frenemy. How?

1) GROW UP. You have to be mature about this and stop thinking that you have to "share" your friends with the person you dislike. Your friends are your friends. If they are unavailable to hang out with you, find another time. If you are invited to the same event as your frenemy, do yourself a favor and be civil to that person. Say "hi" and move on. It may be awkward for the first few minutes but if you accept their presence and they accept yours, you can both have a good time without actually worrying about each other. They're not going anywhere, so why should you?

2) HANG IN THERE. Don't retreat from your friends because they like to hang out with your enemy. Just do your best to make your own plans with them. If you keep running into the person you dislike and it really bothers you, then find a good time to talk to your friends and let them know that it really makes you uncomfortable to be around that person. Tell them you don't expect them to "manage" their time between you and the other person--there will be times where you can't avoid each other--but it would be nice to hang out some times without worrying about your nemesis.

3) DON'T JUDGE. Or if you have an opinion about your frenemy, keep it yourself. Be a better person and don't talk smack about them to your friends. You really should have better things to spend your time and energy on. Honestly, you and your enemy are probably more alike than you'd like to admit, and you wouldn't want THEM talking about YOU now would you? So just shut up and let it go.

4) If your enemy is your ex...BE STRONG. Your friends know better than to put you two in the same room together if it can be avoided. In the meantime, you both invested relationships with the same people, so just accept that your friends will be spending time with you as well as your ex and that's just the way it's going to be. Do your best to focus on yourself and what you are doing with your life instead of worrying about what the other person is up to. Try to expand your social circle and hang out with other people as well--finding new things to do and other people to do them with will enrich your life and make you new friends--ones you won't have to worry about "sharing".

And lastly...

5) KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. Cliché, but this really is the answer to any problem. And anyway, do you really want to be that person who has enemies? Whatever wrong-doings or offenses anyone had toward you, get over it. If it's hard for you to let go of grudges, then FAKE IT 'TIL YOU MAKE IT. Always focus on the bright side of things, laugh often, and soon enough you won't be bothered by the people you considered your "enemy".

Think of your friends: what you love about them, why they care about you, all the memories you have together. Promise yourself that you will continue be a good friend to them even though they are also friends with your "enemy". Never be quick to burn bridges; pettiness will only get you loneliness. Smile and know that your friendships are special. Each relationship you have with a friend is unique and it's yours to keep.


Nigel on August 19, 2014:

Hi, I have been reading about frenemies and toxic relationships for the last few days online

My story is, I'm a guy and I have this childhood friend (lets call him B) whom I have known for 20+ years. When I was a kid, I very much liked hanging out with him and playing together and all and his family became friends with my family through us. He was good friend, but very naughty and always got me into trouble with his work as well (Although I wasn't a trouble maker I honestly did enjoy the fun things we did and therefore always wanted to be friends)

I wasn't much of a social kid and was always sitting back in school but had a few friends there, he (B) was a social type and had a lot of friends in school. (we went to two different schools). when we were like 17 years, he introduced me to his friends and I became friends with his friends as well. Some of his friends were bad and some of them were good and with time I became closer to his friends than the few friends I made myself.

We both went to different Universities and in my University, I met and hung out with a few genuine good friends whom I value even today. I did well in my University life and personally grew up during this time and the subsequent years in my career. I am currently doing well in life as well and now we are both almost 31. My friend didn't do well in the latter part of his life and still acts like a kid to this day and his mom keeps calling me and others saying his son is playing the fool (at age 31)

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My problem is, I mostly hang out with the mutual friends I met through 'B' and two of them are more closer to me than him. Most of his other friends have left him because of his childish narcissistic and self centered behavior and some of them even questioned me why Im still friends with him?

After I did well in life and he didn't (because of his own failures) He is now jealous and is always putting me down. He says personal things and is always looking to pick on me. He always says what I have achieved and done were out of luck and not hard work and I think he is bitter of his own failures. He has changed from being a naughty fun kid to a spiteful jealous narcissist liar and have lost almost everyone in his life. Because of this I have always felt sorry for him and put up with anything he said or did coz I was always his oldest friend. I now believe he doesn't appreciate me and is hurt by this. He never called me his best friend although I was the only one who stayed with him and I always considered him to be my best friend.

I have come to a point in life where I just dont want to deal with him as meeting him is just a fight and it affects me psychologically for the next few days every time as i feel bullied. I tried to let go of his friendship a year ago but then he realized this and tried to turn all our mutual friends against me. but then as usual my stupid self decided to remain friends with him coz i didn't want to lose the only people I hang out with.

today almost all his friends have left him and only a few remain and of the few of them they like me more than him. I want to end my relationship with 'B' once and for all as I cannot take seeing or interacting with him anymore. The toxic relationship we have is so detrimental it affects me in the relationship I have with my Girlfriend and family! So I now know who is valuable to me in my life and have decided to throw him out as I believe he is now a fake friend.

Please tell me what I should do to completely cut 'B' off and how to deal with social events where I have to attend with his mutual friends? (he openly laughs at me saying why am I hanging out with his friends although a couple of them love me more than him and appreciate me, which he probably doesn't know). And given that I live in a small city, its hard not to not run into him although I could ignore him but Im scared Ill lose everyone else. Your advice will be much appreciated :)

P.S - I didn't relaize I have written so much but I wanted to convey my true full story!

Lilian on October 28, 2013:

My best friend and my boyfriend best-friend sexually assaulted me. He didn't apologize and my boyfriend is still hanging out with him as best friends.

I feel bad about it, but everytime I say something about it, he gets angry and says he doenst want to choose between us, and he thinks the guy DOES feel sorry, but he's just too shy to tell me.

byee (author) on June 11, 2009:

Mary James, sounds like you still have a lot of bitterness about the whole situation. I suggest taking a breath and calmly talking to your best friend about how that made you feel. If she says, "Well, everyone deserves another chance," then that's up to her. She might find that your enemy really is the type of person that one shouldn't keep around as a 'friend'. You're hurt, but try to get over it, be polite to the other girl and keep enjoying your true friendship. Too many years have gone by for you to act like you're all still in high school. You need to be above this!

mary james on June 11, 2009:

I agree great advice, but I need more, what if the situation is that 3 people were mutual friends 18 years ago and 2 of the people had not talked in 18 years. Meanwhile I had a flourishing friendship with both. Not because the 2 other gals were enemies at all but just completely different lives. about 4 years ago I became enemies with one for good reason. Still the other 2 girls had not seen eachother. Then all of the sudden my best friend of 30 years is spending time with her again and I showed up at a baby shower and My friend of 30 years invited the enemy whom had blown her off for the last 18 years. I would consider that slightly different than just having an enemy in a circle of friends. Why bring her back in at this point when my enemy never rarely over 18 years returned friend A's phone calls. Meanwhile I have been a consistent friend throwing her bridal shower. Attending children's B-day parties, Grad parties, Just being a good friend.

Jerilee Wei from United States on August 03, 2008:

Good solid advice!

glassvisage from Northern California on August 03, 2008:

Such a great Hub. Thanks for counting on the good qualities of people and emphasizing how bitterness will on mean negative things

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