The term frenemy is a recent one, and comes from an amalgam of the words friend and enemy. A frenemy is a person who could be a close associate who is also a rival and competitor or a frenemy could be a person who is inimical but in the guise of a friend.
A frenemy at work is the individual who is all pally on the face of it, but who will stab you in the back as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
In modern times, workplaces are less formal and more egalitarian, even familiar than ever before, giving rise to a complex structure of relationships where few boundaries and demarcations are clearly set out.
The fact that we end up spending so much of our time at work means that we have little time and inclination to form friends outside of work, so that most ‘friends’ are also colleagues.
A frenemy is the person who you may like and may even enjoy hanging with apart from working hours, but whom, at an instinctive and atavistic level you do not really trust. A frenemy could display the following characteristics which you should look out for:
1. They may tell you about their own problems and even seek your help to redress them, but when it comes to doing the same for you, they seem to always have a plausible excuse – too busy, urgent call and so on.
2. A frenemy may have a fiercely competitive streak, which you can make out when they seem able to do anything to get ahead in their professional capacity.
If a frenemy has the same professional aspirations that you do, consider whether you want to be at all friendly with them; it may make more sense to simply maintain non-personal, cordial relations that end at the professional level.
3. A frenemy is a person who seizes the opportunity to show you in poor light or to make disparaging (but seemingly innocent or humorous) comments about you.
So learn to identify and steer clear of the Frenemy!