• Keeping Friends

Sticks and Stones: Perversions of the language of friendship

Published: February 16, 2008 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | 8 Replies Continue Reading

I found a new-to-me friendship term in the Urban Dictionary, frienvy. It describes the envious feelings someone has towards a friend who loses weight, gets a promotion, or finds a new love. OK, it’s kind of cute.

The dictionary also defines friendwhoring, the verb: stealing someone else’s friends and making them your own. Getting a bit more nasty.

Another questionable term that has entered the rapidly growing friendship lexicon (although no one is quite sure how to spell it) is friendenemy, frenemy, or frienemy. It describes friends whom you feel ambivalent about, or friends who feel ambivalent about you. In both cases, two people are friends by all outward appearances but they really can’t stand each other.

The social networking site MyFrienemies.com seizes on this perversion of friendship and takes it to a new height. The site facilitates connections among people who share frienenemies. “Rather than dwelling on the negative, we invite you to foster new friendship based on shared dislikes, annoyances, and disappointments,” boasts the home page.

Their categories of frienemies are somewhat illuminating. These include: cheaters, complainers, depressives, drunks, hostile-aggressives, indecisives, know-it-all-experts, lazys, liars, negativists, one uppers, paranoids, pathological liars, psychos, scenesters, silent and unresponsives, soul suckers, super-agreeables, total bores, and users.

But the stigmatizing language on the site (e.g. psychos and drunks) positively rattles me. As does trivializing the notion of an imperfect friendship, which turns out to be a very common but painful experience.

Yes, ambivalent relationships exist and you need to get over them, but I’m not sure this type of social networking is the best route.

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Comments (8)

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  1. Irene says:

    What an awful situation! If your organization is large enough to have a Human Resources office, you should speak to them in confidence and let them know your concerns. If that isn’t an option, keeping a written record of your interactions with The Liar seems prudent. It might be best to keep your written account at home in case you lose your planner.

    I would also suggest keeping your contacts with this individual to a minimum, only interacting with her on a professional level, and preferably in writing. If you need to speak to her in person, it would be best to have a third person there with you.

    This sounds like a very difficult situation so I would also keep my eyes open for another job opportunity should it arise.

    My best,







  2. Gert says:

    About 3 years ago, a coworker lied and I got in trouble at work. My supervisor said she had a hard time believing either of us would do the thing, but had known her so much longer than me so she chose to believe her. I soon found that small lies had been laid that I had been unaware of that set the tone for me to be seen as untrustworthy. Now, I have built my reputation up and I see the pattern happening all over again. I have caught the liar in several small lies–and called her on them. Other colleagues say this is her way and to beware, but boss and supervisor are her friends. What do I do? I have started keeping a log in my planner, dates/events/ tales she’s told that are inconsistent from one to another. Jobs are scarce or I would move on. For now, I hide in my hole. I am a loner, she’s not–a real outgoing, friendly sort. I’m not a tattler or whiner, but I don’t want to jeapordize my good name, either. Word gets around faster if it’s false and you can’t unring a bell….

  3. Irene says:

    Hi Cash Gifting (is that really your name?:-)

    I’m glad  you enjoyed this article and appreciate your reading my blog.



  4. cash gifting says:

    I think this article done a great job.What a best way to describe your view. Thanks for sharing with us. Really like your informative article. Hopefully we will get more interesting topic from you in future.

  5. Irene says:

    I agree. Thanks for reading my blog, Sandy!

  6. Sandy says:

    Just today, I learned about this word from someone else. Unfortunately, it is true that there are these types of people in our lives from time to time. The trick is to identify them early so that we can avoid heartache and wasted time. Thanks for your post.

  7. Anonymous says:

    For starters, I LOVE UrbanDictionary.com and have laughed out loud at some of the creative ways people are manipulating language. I’m not crazy about the word “friendwhoring,” though. I’m also with you regarding MyFrienemies.com; the site does touch on some important (albeit fairly obvious) qualities that can lead to problematic/dysfunctional/toxic relationships (not just friendships)…but I’m NOT impressed with the concept of the site. I mean, if it’s to be taken seriously at all, it seems to be about unity through hate–not exactly something I’d classify as dwelling on positives! Relationships are so complex and this site seems to be catering to (even encouraging) the lowest common denominator. They even suggest people who join pinpoint CELEBRITIES they consider to be frienemies. Hmmm. ~Alexa Young, author of FRENEMIES (HarperTeen, 2008) http://www.alexayoung.com

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ok, the MyFrienemies concept is a little disturbing to me. It says the site keeps the “frienemy” names private, but I wonder how long it is before the frienemy knows exactly who’s being talked about. Feels a bit like grown-up bullying.

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