Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Tuesday Twins II, Awards, and Frenemies

Well, they look alike to me.

I've been given two awards in the last few days, the Breakout Blogger award from Kaycie and the Rockin' Blogger award from Crystal Jigsaw. Thanks very much, guys, and here are my nominees:

For the Breakout Blogger award I nominate Pixie, the Rotten Correspondent (who already has every award out there but so what), VI, and Queenie (or Chantay as I know her).

For the Rockin Blogger award, I nominate annie, debio, Queen Vixen, and mind the gap.

All of you are great, and I enjoy your blogs very much.

Now onto the frenemy issue (and none of you are like that). Yes, it takes a special person to become a frenemy. Someone who is so confused and confusing in their behaviour that Freud would have a field day.

Here are some definitions from the Urban Dictionary:

"frenemy" 1. The type of "friend" whose words or actions bring you down.(whether you realize it as intentional or not) The type of friend you ought to cut off but don't cuz...they're nice... good ...you've had good times with them. U know...they're good people that you can count on to bring you down again sometime in the near future.The friend you may or may not have cornered about their quicksand like ways and keep around because "its in the past"...and so was one minute ago. The person that will continue to bring you down until you demand better for yourself. When you ask yourself is that person my friend or enemy...they are your frenemy. Straighten em out or leave them. Don't put up with it.
2. Someone who is both friend and enemy, a relationship that is both mutually beneficial or dependent while being competitive, fraught with risk and mistrust.

And that pretty much defines my relationship with the frenemy I mentioned yesterday. She is one of a group of friends who came together when our kids were at nursery together. Actually she and I met when I was pregnant with my first child and went on weekends away together and meals out before she ever met the rest of the group. But she hid this from them for a long time. I don't know exactly why but I have my suspicions. Her daughter is six months older than my daughter. Her son is three weeks older than my son. There is a LOT of competition about the kids. Her kids are pretty bright, go to private school, are given everything they ask for and more, go on exotic holidays every single holiday. Yes, they are spoiled. My kids can't stand them anymore. My son always disliked the boy, who is a bit of a thug and know-it-all. He used to beat up my son and the two sons of another friend in the group. He has broken things in everyone's house. We dread having him round. The daughter is morbidly obese and goes to Slimming World now (though officially we don't know that). She is also sneaky, hides food, and winds her brother up so he gets in trouble all the time.

We (my kids and I; hubby won't go) went skiing with Frenemy and her family in February. They have a house in Tremblant, Canada, which niggled me because I was the one who "discovered" Tremblant several years ago. But she graciously invited everyone in the group, and I was the only one to take up her offer. She was good fun, and she and I got totally legless on the plane (I threw up). Her kids, though, became a problem. We split the cost of a rental of a mini-van. I had the option to drive, but her husband did it all since he knew his way around better. We were all supposed to take turns sitting in the very back, but she never did and her kids only did it once. It became a big issue for my daughter, in particular, who thought it was unfair (and so it was). Frenemy and her husband bought her son new skis while there. The son wanted to use them there and then. They said no, he had to wait till Christmas. My kids saw him jumping on his old skis in an effort to break them so he could use his new ones. Didn't work. He lost his Spider ski gloves in a store (despite me finding them once and giving them back). Frenemy's kids made no effort to mix with my kids, playing on their PS2s when not skiing. I tried very hard to be on my best behaviour because Frenemy is the sort to remember things and bring them up at the most embarrassing moments. So I more than paid my share for food, drink, gas, meals out. I helped clean the house (because she is manic about having a clean house). I made coffee and breakfast every morning while she lolled in bed reading her book and eating breakfast (her husband brought it up to her every morning). She did not come down once without all her makeup on.

However, I did lose my rag once. At the kids, mine included. We'd agreed I'd take them swimming while Frenemy and her husband went to look at Jacuzzis (don't ask). We told Frenemy's daughter to meet us at the bottom of the slope, and I assumed the others either heard or she would tell them. Along the way, her brother tripped her and she fell. The rest of them skied on. I think she purposely didn't tell them because she was in a huff. Anyway, we're waiting, and the daughter eventually appears. We ask where the others are. She said they skied off without her. I walked up to the pool eventually, carrying my kids' snowboots (I'd hurt my back before we left and I wasn't feeling too good). I found the kids' skis, but no kids. I walked down. I took the gondola up. I took it down. Finally, they appear. I shouted at my daughter, who said the son had told them to look in the shops for his mother. I really wanted to shout at her kids, of course, but couldn't. I said I wasn't taking them swimming. Her son had a fit, and said lots of things about me to my kids when I wasn't there. To the point of making my daughter cry. I tried to put this unpleasant episode behind us, but Frenemy obviously thought I was out of line. She allowed her kids to make fun of me to my face. I didn't want to lose my rag again so I laughed it off and counted down the days till we got back. Still, I would have gone again but she and her husband made it clear they weren't going skiing in February. So I made plans with another friend in the group to go to Italy. Frenemy found out about it at a barbecue at the end of August and promptly invited that friend and her family to the Canada house at Christmas and New Year. In front of me. With no shame whatsoever.

It has been Frenemy's great ambition to become a magistrate (an officer of the court who hears minor cases and must demonstrate good character, social awareness and sound judgment). She put down my husband's name and another friend's as references, though she didn't bother to ask them first. This annoyed my husband greatly. Also, we know too much about her. We know she frequently drink-drives (with her kids in the car). We know she is unashamedly prejudiced about every minority group and is elitist as well. We know she has made comments suggesting our son is homosexual. I happen to know a few magistrates and gave hubby the phone numbers to ask them for advice. He didn't write a glowing reference, quite the opposite. She kept bringing up the subject when we saw her, how she'd heard nothing and she didn't know why. We would secretly smile. Then Friday she announced she was starting her magistrate training and she looked right at me, as if she knew something. Then she gave me two fingers (she knows which two fingers to use). I asked her what that was for, and she said it was for all of us.

Frenemy talks about all of us behind our backs to the others. And we talk about her. It's become a favourite topic of conversation. How do she and her husband get the money for the holidays, the houses? They buy and sell property. Allegedly. And now they're moving, despite her saying for years she'd never move. I am wondering whether my "friendship" with her will continue because I think she would like to push me out of the group. But she can't because I get on really well with the others, to the point that their kids and mine are almost like brothers and sisters. I think that really bugs Frenemy, though she'd never admit it. And why do I maintain this "frenemyship?" She and I fell out many years ago and didn't speak for months. It was very awkward for everyone, and my kids missed out on lots of stuff. A couple of the other friends in the group brokered a peace deal which we agreed to, and we've had our ups and downs since then. But this move might put things in a different perspective. I haven't wanted to upset the group so I swallow the shit Frenemy has tossed my way. And I'm not always the one she treats badly. So we'll see. Frenemy may fade in the distance at some point, though I would love to see how her kids grow up. And how her magistrate training goes.


ciara said...

i came by way of rotten correspondent and ppl like your frenemy really piss me off! lol

frenemy sounds toxic to me. i think it's better to cut your losses now (the group would probably LOVE her and her family gone). and i think the reason she likes to belittle ppl, let her kids belittle ppl, and goes on and on while trying to 'live like the joneses' is because they're jealous. i always find that people like that are either jealous, very insecure, or both. i can almost bet money and win that they are living way beyond their means.

Vi vi vi vooom!!!!!!!! said...

Agree with ciara - maybe they are having to move because they need to 'downsize?'

I would want this relationship to fizzle out if I was you. You seem to have plenty of other friends.

Oh and thanks for the award!

mind the gap said...

ta v much for the award - I'm dead flattered. Your frenemy - ergh. I think we all have them - those people we're obliged to keep friends with for the sake of others or because it's easier to just shut up. But it's no good for your mental state. Ditch the frenemy. I did a similar thing recently - small community, not a good idea to fall out, but boy am I relieved not to have to deal with the person anymore. Much better you do the ditching and lose the toxic energy.

debio said...

Just popped by to say a huge thank you!

Will be back shortly to comment - bit frantic here and all will be revealed soon....

Annie said...

Thank you very much for your kind award!

And, Frenemy? NIGHTMARE! Really.

I have a friend here who I started to think maybe she was a 'frenemy' because I can't decide if I like being around her, or if she drives me crazy. She does at times bring me down, but I think that's from my own insecurities on certain things, not her intentions - who knows? I limit my time with her though, so it's all good.

I hope your frenemy does fade into the distance.

marymaryquitecontrary said...

My goodness wakeup.... why on earth would you want someone who belittles you and your children in front of other people to be a frenemy or anything else in your life? I really could not be in the company of someone so horrid. Why do you tolerate her?

laurie said...

first of all, your separated-at-birth made me bust out laughing. good one.

second, your frenemy story is so eerily familiar. i can't blog about mine bcause she knows about my blog (though i don't think she reads it). but there were lots of echoes--the drinking, the erratic behavior, the good times, the hellacious, almost scary son, the possibly irrational ambition...

my frenemy is very smart, hysterically funny, always up for a good time. we go way back. we have taken myriad trips together. she's great company.

she is also the only friend i fight with, and she will fight with me relentlessly, viciously, until i burst into tears. only then does she stop. i've wept in her presence in new orleans, in tennessee, in scotland.... happens every time.

so what keeps us together? (i'm speaking of you and your frenemy, too.)

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Thanks very much for the award. You're too nice to me!

You know, the first thing I think with your frenemy is that you need to keep it on neutral territory with her. A vacation house she owns is always going to put you at a disadvantage. A nice person wouldn't take advantage of this, but something tells me she would and does. Travelling is fraught with enough issues anyway and someone treating you that way can't help. I also think something may be going on in her life that is pretty unstable.

Not an easy situation for you and I feel for you.

Queeny said...

That ski trip sounds like a dreadful experience, and your frenemy is one major, egotistical, arrogant, super beeeyatch! You should cut that cord and burn it.

On better things, thanks so much for making me a BOB! I'm a BOB, I'm a BOB! I'm so happy to be a BOB!

-Ann said...

Ugh. That sounds perfectly dreadful. But I seem to remember you saying that she's going to move an hour away. That's a built-in excuse right there to ease out of the friendship. A back away slowly and no one gets hurt sort of deal. Nice and easy.

I'm sort of a loner so I don't really get group dynamics, but what's to stop you from doing what you want, with whomever you want? And the opposite is also true, isn't it?

I'm sorry though to hear that your kids get caught in the middle and miss out on things, but it seems like there's a valuable Life Lesson in there somewhere. (Which I think is just a grown-up way of saying that something sucks but you just have to deal with it.)

And, my last piece of unsolicited advice - you can't change the way people act, you can only change the way you react to them.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Thanks to you all for your comments (and welcome ciara). I've thought of ditching Frenemy but it would be really difficult because of the kids and the other friends. Sometimes I think I overreact to her because she knows exactly which buttons to push. If I'm feeling really up, I can just laugh it off. As -ann said you can't change people, just your reaction to them.

Mean Mom said...

You and your other friends should have got together a long time ago and frozen out frenemy. You were the only one who accepted the skiing invitation, which suggests, to me, that the others would rather have poked their eyes out with a pointed stick, than gone on holiday with her and her awful family.

So she's moving. You should be dancing in the street! Pity the next group of people she gets her claws into, though!

Pixie said...

First thank you so much for me award, it's fab getting them isn't.

As for this woman, sounds really poisinous and to be handled much like you would a snake.... ugh!

jenny said...

Good Lord!! And I thought I had a bad frenemy!! No where near as rotten as yours! I tip my hat to you for your astounding patience with her and her family. Thankfully, since we moved 2 years ago, I dont see much of her anymore and I certainly don't miss the headaches I used to get, fretting over the latest insult or action made against me.

Hopefully, after the move, she'll find a new circle of friends.

blueangel said...

Sounds like everything is going to work out now that your frenemy is going. I've not got kids but I've had a manipulative friend like that before and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when they left the group.

Do you think you'll be able to forgive your other friends for allowing this woman to continue being part of the group? They should stick up for you since she's the horrible one.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Mean Mom: Hi. I was the only one in the group who could afford to go skiing and until this year, Tremblant was where my kids and I went every year. So staying in someone's house and saving a bit of money seemed like a good idea. NOT! Don't know when or if we'll go back to Tremblant.

Pixie: Yes, she is a bit like a snake in the grass. Seems OK till she bites you.

Jenny: Good thing you made a move. I'm amazed how many of us have had frenemies.

blue angel: First of all, welcome to my blog. Secondly, yes, you make a good point about forgiving the other friends. But they're the sort who don't like to make waves. And Frenemy is OK till she's not.I think this announcement might make them start to think differently about her.

Flowerpot said...

she sounds utterly poisonous and i quite agree - obviously insecure and jealous. to be avoided like the plague I should think. Not an easy situation though.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm too laid back and take people's shit far too much. But this is really taking the crunch. Dump her, once and for all. She really doesn't deserve your friendship or your enemyship (whatever that is!).

Crystal xx

debio said...

I think we all know people like this and I seem to attract more than most!

My husband says that maybe I just rub people up the wrong way but it's difficult to understand why when sometimes all I've done is appear to collect my daughter.

I'm not really a group person at all - well, not women anyway - ah, now, maybe that's the problem!?

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Flowerpot: But she's funny too because she doesn't realise how funny and stupid she sounds and she doesn't see that she's an object of fun to us all.

CJ: I'm going to sit back and see what happens, I decided.

Debio: I don't think the problem is with you. You have a lot of women readers and a lot of empathy with women. So it's more the type of woman you seem to encounter at such times as school pick-up times. You're probably attractive and exude an inner happiness that the others envy.

Just as an addendum, every year I cook a Thanksgiving dinner and invite some friends. I asked my kids who we should invite this year. My daughter said we should invite the Frenemies and thank them for moving. She makes me laugh sometimes, my daughter does.

lady macleod said...

congratulations, and well deserved!

I don't like that woman. Would you care to have me ask someone to come around and slap her around a bit?

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Oh Lady M., if you met her you would be much amused by her. Because she is amusing even when she isn't trying. She thinks she's superior but really shows just how inferior she is.

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Wakeup: You know, this frenemy person is draining your personal energy (I know that sounds a bit new age and you may think its rubbish, but there you go). You don't need friends or enemies like that, they just feed on your insecurities. I think it makes them feel stronger themselves, a bit parasitic really.

Personally, I'd just take several steps back from her, let the kids maintain their friendship but you just keep your distance. The added benefit of this strategy of course would be that it would really piss her off.......(sorry, I am SUCH a bitch).

No seriously, you don't need that sort of aggro in your life. Surround yourself with nicer people.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

swearing mother: Thanks for the advice. I think I'll take it. My natural inclination is to have it out with her but how much bitchier to just be cool and calm.