I don’t have any frenemies myself. I just don’t tend to enjoy being around people I hate or dislike, and when there are people who I have problems with I’d rather avoid them (even if they are in the same household as I am) rather than just spend time with them to enjoy the drama of the hostility. There are some people, though, who greatly enjoy having frenemies because they like the drama. Ultimately, it is a drama queen that tends to rejoice in having frenemies.
Though I had vaguely heard of the word frenemies for a while, it was not until I acquainted myself with the music of the Dandy Warhols (perhaps best known for their minor hit “Bohemian Like You”) that I became aware of just how well-known within a certain social circle this concept of frenemies was, or how much it permeated their own work (especially in one of their other minor hits, “We Used To Be Friends,” which was used as the theme song for the television show Veronica Mars), as well as the real-life frenemies of the Dandy Warhols, the bands with whom they collaborate but also tend to dislike at the same time. Some people are just drama queens I suppose.
Then again, in thinking back on it, I have posted about frenemies before in a different sense. That is to say, I have talked about people (one person in particular) who used to be a friend until misjudgments and bad blood turned us into enemies. But it’s not something I take any great pleasure in, nor is it a phenomenon I enjoy. I don’t plan on spending a great deal of time with my former friends, and neither do I rejoice in their suffering. I just wish they would repent so that they no longer had to be enemies. Such is the life, though.
I give this lengthy introduction because I see, almost daily, the phenomenon of the frenemy here at Legacy between one of our students and one of the Karen refugees who now stay here. The two of them are about the same age (only a year apart or so). They are both loud, bossy, expansive sort of personalities. Neither of them knows English all that well. As a result they both attract and repel–too alike to get along but clearly drawn to each other’s company at the same time, like two lionesses trying to prove their dominance. It’s not the sort of dynamic I like, but it’s one that I can definitely recognize.
I figured this would be the case from the start given such knowledge as to how personalities clash, but it is still intriguing to see it work. The two of them often play volleyball together or go to the store together. But they also often say to each other “I love you my enemy,” or “I hate you my enemy,” or call each other Mr. Bean or Mrs. Bean (in honor of the movie characters). It’s a rather immature and silly dynamic, but it’s one that we can all fall into if we are not careful.
The main trouble I have with the concept of frenemies is showing hostility to someone but actually enjoying it. Enjoying hostility strikes me as unnatural and perverse; it is one thing to be be hostile to someone as a result of duty or defense of what one loves, but to enjoy the drama and “chemistry” of hostility is a very dangerous sort of tendency. It is this mentality that leads people, especially young women to like bad boys that they can break up with to make up, because it’s such a thrill to them. It’s a bad sort of chemistry that can very easily seem more attractive than looking for a better type of chemistry without all the drama and problems. Some people thrive off of that negativity, though, and so they never find anything other than problems. Let us hope our resident frenemies find a better fate than that.