Publication date August 10, 2023

BFFs or Frenemies? Toxic friendships look like this.

At times we all have wondered whether our friend is friends for life or a frenemy? Toxic friendships come in all different forms, and it’s hard to recognize them during the initial days. 

Why are friendships important? Friendships are chosen bonds with people who make life more meaningful. We need friends to share the joys and sorrows of our life. Good friends make you feel comfortable in your skin, and at the same time, they motivate you to be a better person. The bond of friendship is always personal to each, and even if you tried to put it in words, it would not be completely possible.

But are all friendships pure and true? That’s for you to decide. Read further to understand what frenemies are and what a toxic friendship would look like.  

Frenemies come clothed as friends but are actually enemies in disguise. They behave like friends with you, but sometimes their ill intentions cannot help but spill out visibly through their actions and behaviors. This can continue over long periods without realizing they were subconsciously showing the signs. Yes, frenemies are hard to spot, but not impossible if you pay enough attention.

Friendship with a frenemy is never a happy one, it’s like how you feel when you have to meet them for a supposedly fun plan, but you’re anxious about the same. You even feel relieved if they cancel the outing at the last minute. Being around these frenemies is nothing less of a burden, as it feels like you have to limit yourselves. 


  1. Frenemies are usually secretly jealous of you. They stick close to you because they want to keep track of what you are up to, and what you are accomplishing, but they are not there to share the struggles or your apparent success. They want you to do good, but never better than them. They are happy for you as long as you are not surpassing them. Their energy tells it all before they get fully bitter about it. 
  2. Frenemies make sarcastic jokes behind your back. They enjoy joking about you behind your back, but they remain careful enough about being too direct. So they pull off these jokes in a sarcastic way. 

Toxic Friendships

Source: Greator

3. Frenemies judge you. Whatever you do, they have some judgment to pass. You will notice them say things like, “You are looking pretty, but maybe you should not have worn that black dress, or it's a nice pair of jeans, but it won’t suit your physique”. They pass off unnecessary and harsh judgments in the name of constructive criticism.

4. Frenemies are good at gaslighting. Except that they do it very sneakily. Because obviously, they don’t wanna ruin the so-called bond they have with you, do they? If you confront them about unacceptable behavior or about some boundaries in your friendship, they try to convince you otherwise. Meaning, they would convince you that they are at no fault, and even mislead your thinking to suit their agenda. Gaslighting is one of the traits of toxic friendships, and one should never tolerate it at any cost.

5. Frenemies might take advantage of your compassion. They would use you for your empathy and trustworthiness and dump all their emotional baggage time and again. However, they consistently aren't available to support you in times of need. In the worst cases, they just seem to be there, but emotionally they are not there for you. 

Toxic Friendships

Source: iStock

6. Frenemies drain your energy. Energy transfer is real. They seem to hurt you and your well-being just by their mere presence. That’s because no matter how much they pretend they secretly don't have good energy toward you. 

7. Frenemies use you. One common sign of toxic friendships is getting used by them to do favors all the time. Now, this could be slightly hard to understand because friends help you in need and even show up voluntarily to help you many times. But frenemies are different. It's like they ask you for favors more than you can even remember or keep count. 

8. Frenemies act like best friends, but their behavior is passive-aggressive. One day they stand up for you, and the next time you know they are absent, leaving you all confused. They also seem to be moody with you and just you alone. Their moods go from one to another really quickly around you. On top of it, they expect you to put up with all kinds of moods unreasonably. 

Frenemies have these toxic traits which makes it difficult to maintain healthy friendships with them. Just like any romantic relationship, if you ask us how to build friendships, we believe it’s slowly built over time, and anyone who quickly tries to become your friend, be assured that they aren't in there for the long haul.  

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