Friday, January 13, 2012

Friends and Frienemies

When I was a little girl, we moved from our little home in the country to a temporary apartment in a small city. I was 5 years old and one quarter through first grade.
The new school that I enrolled in was within walking distance, but it entailed crossing a busy street at a place with no stop sign or street light. The cars travelled fast and I was terrified of crossing the street. But I had some older friends who held my hand and helped me across. They even came and waited for me at the front steps of the apartment every morning. They were my sweet, true friends.

But one day I was late. My Mother had overslept and I decided to get myself dressed and go along to school without waking her up. But I had missed my little friends and had to walk alone. I was terrified of being late, as the school was very strict and I had been punished more than once. Teachers were very strict in those days and were even allowed to hit us.

So as I hurried along, I came to the busy 4 lane street. I looked both ways and waited a long time until I could see no cars in either direction. I started across as fast as I could. But halfway, a big black car came around the corner going very fast. I froze. The driver tried to slow down and nearly came to a stop, but not quite. The car hit me. I tumbled and tumbled across the road until I hit the curb.

Luckily for me, I had on a very thick winter 'fur' coat and thick padded leggings. And there were no cars coming the other way.

Except for scraped up hands, and badly bruised knees, I was alright.  I was very fortunate.

After that I was transferred to a different school. This time there were crossing guards to help us across. But I had to leave my friends. For the second time.

I quickly made a new friend, her name was Leslie. She had beautiful big brown eyes and long blonde ringlets. She invited me over to her home after school one day. I was so excited to have a new friend. My Mother walked me over to her house, carrying my baby sister, holding my younger sister's  hand, and told me she would come back for me later. It was a few apartment buildings down from mine on the same street. Leslie's mother graciously invited me in. We had cookies and milk, then went into Leslie's room to play with her dolls. I had never seen such a beautiful room. Leslie was an only child and very pampered. I shared a room with my two little sisters.

We were playing nicely, sitting facing each other on the floor. We each had a doll in our hands. Suddenly, Leslie grabbed the doll out of my hands and before I could react, she reached over and scratched my face, digging her nails into my eyes. I let out a shriek, as my eyes burned. Unable to open them, I stumbled backwards, knocking over a lamp. Leslie's Mother heard the commotion and before I could say anything, Leslie told a wild and untrue tale of how I pulled her hair and pushed her down and then threw the lamp on the floor. Her mother grabbed me by the arm, and roughly shoved me out of the room and ushered me out the back door, calling me terrible names and slamming the door shut behind me, locking it! I cried for her to call my Mother, telling her I could not see! She never responded. I had no idea how I was going to get home because I could only open my eyes for one tiny moment at a time. They burned so bad!

It was getting dark and I was trapped behind the row of apartment buildings, behind locked chain link fences. Behind the buildings, the hillside rose steeply into a wooded forest. I had to make my way up the steep incline and through the thick forest full of brambles, find the back of my building and climb back down. All the while, unable to open my eyes except for tiny seconds at a time. I finally made it home after dark, my Mother frantically looking for me. She had quite a mouthful to say to Leslie's Mother on the telephone, after she dabbed my eyes with soothing warm water and set me in bed with soft pillows and ice cream to take away the hurts.

Leslie was a true Frienemy.

Someone who poses as a friend, and then betrays you. We have all encountered these types of 'friends'. They seem so sincere. And then they are going after your job, your friends, or your spouse. They are talking behind your back. They are setting you up to humiliate you. They are scratching your eyes out.

Frienemy; defined as a toxic person who poses as a friend but subconsciously wishes you harm. A backstabber who uses malicious gossip due to jealous feelings.

The opposite of a true friend. It is difficult to identify these types of people. It is hard to recover from their betrayals.

The only thing you can do is try and forgive them.

And try to avoid them. Sometimes they can do quite a bit of damage before they are through. They can cost you. Your job, friends, your spouse or worse, they can blame you for crimes they have committed. Or accuse you of things in a back handed way of appeasing jealousy.

These are truly toxic people.

'Only trust thyself, and another shall not betray thee' - William Penn

'When you betray somebody else, you also betray yourself' - Isaac Bashevis Singer

'Friends never betray you, only people you thought were your friends' - Anonymous

'There are three friends in this world - Courage, Sense, and Insight' - African

'Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world' - Eleanor Roosevelt

The antidote is to keep good friends and to be a good friend.

'The blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.' - Dinah Craik in 'A Life for a Life' (1859)

'Stay is a charming word in a friend's vocabulary' - Louisa May Alcott

True friends are hard to find. Cherish them. Nurture your friendships. Stay loyal.

'A true friend is one who overlooks your failures and tolerates your success' - Doug Larson

'The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers, and cities; but to know someone here and there who thinks and feels with us, and though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.' - Goethe

'People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within' - Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

So while we may encounter 'frienemies' in our search for companionship, it is how we react to them that is most important.

How you treat me is your Karma
How I react is mine 

So be true to yourself. Be kind, but all the more wise. For true friendship is hard to find. But once you find it, it is more valuable than gold.

'True wealth can not be found in your bank account. It can only be found in those you call a friend. Those with whom you share your deepest feelings. And those who accept you for who you really are' - Mary Vandergrift


  1. My heavens, what a story! My daughter was bullied last year at school and is now very wary of other kids. She's outwardly friendly and polite, but inwardly suspicious. I hate to see her so guarded, and unsure of her own judgement, but I can only honestly tell her that even once we are grown up, sometimes people fool us.

    I love all your quotes.

    And I agree that the best reaction is to forgive, and refuse to carry that pain any longer than necessary. I wouldn't want to be a person who never trusted anyone else, but on the other hand I agree with the verse in the Bible that says we must be "as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves".

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  3. Hi Christine, I am so sorry that your daughter was bullied in school!It does take time to learn to trust again. I do hope that she finds a friend and soon! I love your bible verse, it is so true. One true friend is worth waiting for! xx

  4. oh sis what a mean little girl she was...what goes around comes around....patience is a virture i say i have all the patience in the world HA...sorry that happened to you (tears) i love you..

  5. This one is very dear to my heart, reminding me of our move to Enumclaw in the 4th grade. I had befriended a group of girls right away and was so happy about it. One in particular, blue eyes and long blonde hair very similar to your Leslie. Melanie was her name. One weekend Melanie invited me over for a "Costume" Slumber Party....or so I thought. My mom and I worked hard on my sweet princess costume all week. Upon ringing her doorbell that night, sleeping bag in hand, fully aware of the slumber party rules. #1: Never be the first to fall asleep. Melanie opened the door and to my surprise. There was no costumes at this party. It was a simple slumber party. All the girls laughed and pointed as I ran down the driveway and hurried home. I was humiliated and sad at the same time.
    After several more similar set ups like this one, I was determined to win the battle. Years later we were able to put these issues in our past. She wasn't comfortable with a "new girl" in town to steal her thunder. To this day, she and I and all those girls are very close. We make a point of meeting once a month for a giggle fest and story telling of what is going on in our lives. Maybe it was my stubborn mindset, but I was very adamant about finding the core reason of Melanie's cruel hurtful actions. I am thankful now that we have cherished a friendship and moved past the elementary ways or we both would have missed out on many memories together.
    I believe that in our lives, there are reasons why God brings people into our lives. Sometimes it's to help them through difficult times and sometimes it's to be helped ourselves. Whether it be a friendship or a relationship, it can sometimes be hard to understand when to keep them or when to let them walk away. I know that I have made many mistakes in my life, I have been betrayed and unfortunately been the betrayer. It's never easy to admit this but forgiving others as well as yourself is the first step.
    Thank you once again Karen for a very inspirational story! Hope you are staying warm and cheerful in this weather

  6. Thank you, Sis. You are so sweet. xx

  7. Oh, Sarah, I love your story and your forgiving and insightful conclusion. I am glad that you were persistent, but it must have been hurtful, nontheless. It is always good to keep your heart open despite the mean spiritedness of others and you have proven that it can result in a happy ending. A very inspiring story and thank you for sharing! xx


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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