• Keeping Friends
  • Other Friendship Advice

How to Handle A Facebook Frenemy

Published: August 4, 2010 | Last Updated: August 1, 2013 By | 21 Replies Continue Reading
Have you ever had the unsettling experience of having a Facebook frenemy?


Dear Irene,

After years of friendship, my relationship with a colleague was damaged while both of us were enduring major losses in our lives. I think I managed to keep my issues out of the workplace, but hers caused her to be very angry. Unfortunately, most of her anger was directed at me. I suppose she decided I was the weakest link at the time.

She was nasty to everyone around her but even they would admit that her new hobby was attacking me. It was so stressful that my heart beat faster when I saw her name in my inbox; there was a good chance the message would be some kind of attack or insult. I eventually removed myself from the toxic situation several years ago and gained some distance between us. Since that time, I speak when spoken to, basically, but never reach out or contact her. She is no longer my colleague and I do not HAVE to stay connected although we do have mutual friends.

She recently sent me a friend request on Facebook and I accepted it, thinking that if I didn’t, she would interpret that as a rejection and start attacking again. In hindsight, I wish I had ignored it because she then sent me a very nasty Facebook message. It was inappropriate and unprovoked, but it showed who she is at her core — somebody who isn’t a nice person.

I think I have four options: Respond (which isn’t really a choice as far as I’m concerned); Do nothing; Hide my wall and its comments from her (so that my name doesn’t show up on her news feed and remind her that she hasn’t attacked me lately) or Unfriend her. What do you think I should do?


Ms. No Name


Dear Ms. No Name,

Facebook has added a new layer of complexity to the world of friendship—both in terms of whom we friend and defriend, and in terms of how we hande online frenemies. You aren’t the only one grappling with these problems. (BTW – Complicated Facebook privacy settings don’t make it any easier!)

In this case, your once-real friend is still a hostile person. This time it seeped out in the form of a nasty Facebook message. You have learned a hard lesson: Time may pass but character endures. So what do you do now? You have no obligation or reason to respond to a vicious email so I’m glad you eliminated that option.

You shouldn’t have to worry about a frenemy lurking each time you post so I would hide your wall and comments from her. The only reason to keep her as a Facebook “friend” would be to keep an eye on her and on your reputation.

Yuk! So sorry this happened to you.


This is a “lifeline” question:
Anyone else have a similar problem—how did you resolve it?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: KEEPING FRIENDS, Online friends

Comments (21)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Kevin says:

    The best option is to block her. She can arguably badmouth you all she wants, but without much of real evidence in the way of you reacting, she has no grips, and people who badmouth others when the others are not around are not well-trusted in real life. As adroit manipulators as they can be, the facade will crumble when they do not have you reacting. Facebook has a BLOCK function. The block function prevents you from accessing her page, and also prevents her from getting across to you. The priority is to protect yourself. I have high school classmates like her who are just keen on living in the past and dredging up events in the past and their impressions of you based on the past, and then start turning nasty when you challenge those. Avoid them at all costs for your mental and physical health!

  2. Jason says:

    No one is really your friend on facebook it’s all just a big show about who’s got the best life who’s doing what it’s so high school and filled with drama nothing but narcissists on it who need to fill their ego,They may add you as a friend but it’s just numbers to them,I had about 200 people on my facebook about 10 of those people I would see on a regular basis and talk face to face the rest were old high school friends or randomers who came across as egotistic maniacs,I never trusted anybody on facebook it’s toxic

  3. Mike Sarzo says:

    Not only unfriend her, but block her.

    If someone were that hostile to me, I wouldn’t even recommend accepting a friend request to begin with.

    • Soleil says:

      Exactly, I don’t know why I feel that she’s scared of that person, I’d have made her hate the day she was born and then block her, and before doing so, I’ll report her account, some people, if you’re not evil and harsh with them, will enjoy harming and hurting you.

      • Jess says:

        Those types of people are called antisocial personalities, otherwise known as sociopaths. I dealt with one of those for two years. She was constantly harassing me on facebook, every time Id block her, shed make another account and continue with the harassing. These people feel no remorse for any wrong they do and they typically get off on causing conflict with people; they feed off from the harm they cause others. At the time, I didnt realize that she was a sociopath, I just figured she was just another drama queen who enjoyed trying to hurt people. I did make the mistake of responding back to her emails, which usually only added fuel to the fire, Id say something to make her angry, so shed lash out at me even more. Eventually I got really tired of the back and forth pointless drama, so I just ignored her; I stopped responding to her emails, made my profile 100% private, and deleted anyone from my friends who I knew would report back to her about what was being said on my fb. Eventually she gave up and moved on to her next victim. After I began studying psychology, I did a detailed report on antisocial personalities, and came to realize that the girl I had fought with for so long, was actually a sociopath. And then it all made sense. Generally with these people, the BEST thing you can do is ignore them, move on with your life and do not mention them to anyone or on any form of website, because that lets them know that they dont bother you anymore. When the sociopath realizes that they can no longer get a rise out of you, they move on.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I feel for you. Often in life and that includes this blog people don’t answer the question being asked. I don’t have a suggested answer for you since I don’t participate in facebook. But maybe some kind soul who will take the time and patience to read your question will answer you with a relevant answer. Good luck to you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    i mean this does not answer my QUESTION

  6. Anonymous says:

    this does not answer my question i L.O.V.E love facebook how could Y.O.U do that??

  7. Anonymous says:

    yeah, defriend her otherwise you’re inserting yourself in her drama. Your non response is your biggest strength in character. She will show her true colors whatever and you won’t need to be privvy to all her animosity. Protect yourself and take the high road!

  8. Julie says:

    If you have a problem with commenters you don’t really know making odd comments and ruining it, you do know that there are privacy settings for just about everything on FB now, right?

    You can make groups of all your friends and label them, then make sure that only certain updates get shown to those groups. It’s not hard. You just have to fiddle around in the FB privacy settings a bit to figure it out.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a solution: DON’T JOIN FACEBOOK, PERIOD. I deleted my account several months ago because of drama and never regretted it. Problem solved.

  10. Targeted prey says:

    I recently split with my bestfriend, and facebook is now a nightmare! I don’t want to go on because she is always writing status’s about me but in a non obvious way to say its me, although it is. I don’t want to defriend her because I’m afraid she will spill ALL my lifelong secrets and destroy my life, we live in a SMALL town 🙁
    so I just want to stay informed, but not log on everyday. She is ranting and raving, any suggestions?

  11. Friends says:

    Disregard, block and the problem is solved. We feel an obligation to be “friends” with everybody, in this friendship-oriented social web climate. Would you feel any obligation to reply to a message from this person if it came to you in any other medium? No, so don’t feel guilty about blocking and having nothing further to do with this person who is causing you upset, stress and sadness.

  12. Shana says:

    This is YOUR Facebook account, and if a “Facebook Friend” treats you badly, they aren’t really a friend, now are they? I would take the hard line and say the person should not only Unfriend, but also Block, this person. There is no point in continuing a relationship that doesn’t do anything but make you feel bad. Life is too short. Cut this person out and move on.

  13. Anonymous says:

    1 set up 2nd facebook account, using your first and middle name.
    2 bulk message your “real friends” from your original account, and tell them to to accept the request to your new account
    3 set the privacy settings on the new account to “friends only” for everything
    4 let whoever wants to join your original account, but be exclusive with your 2nd account
    5 don’t post or respond to what happens on your first account. now people who you don’t want to deal with will think you’re just never on facebook, and won’t take the fact that you don’t engage them personally.

  14. Goody Truth says:

    I have a problem with folks that I haven’t seen in 25 years and don’t really remember commenting on my every post. These people have a personality disorder which though I am quite sympathetic has ruined some of my posts to friends that are truly friends but I still want on newsfeed. The answer is to defriend but I don’t want to ruin their limited social interactions. Thanks

  15. jonlinej says:

    I thank the writer friend for his writings on your site. I read all of it and i need to read new writings anymore. For the time being, i watched this type of topic on Facebook and i liked it so much. In addition, it’s one of the rare topics on the site.
    See you at a new topic…

  16. It’s a good thing this person didn’t engage the other person. It would have only aggravated the situation. But how sad for this other person who actually sought out a former friend only to attack her in a public setting.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I don’t have anything helpful to add, however I’ve often wondered why so many people have facebook accounts, yet do not want to meet new friends… It honestly doesn’t make sense to me. If I want to keep in touch with family only on FB, why not email? I don’t get it.

    I would be flattered and happy to meet new friends in my town by way of FB! Wish I were so lucky to receive requests.

    I think the considerate/kind thing to do if one doesn’t want to accept a person’s friend request (other than family/close friends) would be to state that in bio so that a person can avoid the hurt feelings.

  18. I live in a tiny town in the rural US. A lot of people who aren’t really friends, per se, try to friend me on FB simply because they live in my home town.

    What do I tell them?

    I only use FB with my family.–It’s not exactly true, but it gets people to back down without hurt feelings.

    It’s too late for Ms. No Name to do that, but maybe other folks will get something out of this trick.

Leave a Reply