“Nixon’s Enemies List” is the informal name of a list of people President Richard Nixon considered his major political opponents. Then as the years went on he kept adding people to the list.
My mother keeps a similar list. It’s informal, too. It’s also very, very long since it includes her frenemies, relatives, neighbors… frankly, you’re nothing if you’re not on her list.
I used to have frenemies. Tons of them. They came in all shapes and sizes but not genders. There might have been a stray male or two but most of my frenemies were women, approximately my age.
After 25 years of psychoanalysis, I still wonder why I kept these women around. They were reptilian. Classic under-miners. Competitive. Jealous. And to top it all off, they were all hilariously funny. So it was difficult to get rid of hot pink and fill my dance card with beige. But I did it. (If you want to know how, please turn to page 7 in The Essentials of Fabulous by Ellen Lubin-Sherman.)
Are you wondering if you have a frenemy lurking around? They’re easy to identify and once you are rid of them, you’ll feel so much better. Of course you’ll grieve for the loss of someone posing as a dear friend but here’s the remarkable thing: Once you get rid of the frenemy, a real friend steps into your life. And then you can leap tall buildings in a single bounce or, at least, end a phone call without a shiv sticking in your back.
How To Identify The Frenemy:
1. The minute you hear “Don’t take this personally,” you’re sunk. You will take it personally and you will obsess about it for months, maybe years. This is how the frenemy operates. Every word out of the frenemy’s mouth is a lie.
2. Cancellations are not permissible except if the frenemy has to cancel. Fearful of my frenemy’s wrath, I went to New York City in a nor’easter and we ate lunch in the cafe at the frenemy’s office building because she did not want to get wet.
3. Faux empathy is their forte. Oh how they relish your misery. Try to keep your mouth shut when you’re around them. Talk about the virtues of drinking a kale smoothie.
4. Your relationship with your frenemy is lopsided — totally asymmetrical. Here’s the proof: They can never remember where they purchased that handbag you’re drooling over while you’re sharing the name of the doctor who got rid of that brown spot on your forehead. Can you believe they can’t remember, they say. Of course you can believe it because it’s a lie.
5. Beware of the temptation to conspire with the frenemy. The frenemy offers a little dish on a friend and you can’t help yourself…you enlarge the menu and bring your own little dish to the table. Voila! The frenemy casually mentions your comments to your mutual friend and bang, you ain’t going to that friend’s end-of-summer barbeque.
6. The frenemy has supersonic vision and hearing. She sees all, she knows all. And she tells all. Especially if it’s at your expense or someone else’s. Change seats or the conversation immediately — do not listen to gossip.
7. The frenemy can spot that pimple on your chin from an airplane. What are you waiting for? Get.Rid.Of.Her (or Him). Immediately.
This blog is dedicated to Joyce, my mother’s friend, who is 86 and recently asked me how she can get rid of her frenemy who is a spry (and evidently diabolical) 92. Joyce, if you’re reading this, please turn to page 7 of The Essentials of Fabulous by Ellen Lubin-Sherman.