We all have one. That person in your life who rubs you the wrong way on the regular, yet you鈥檒l still grab a morning coffee with them (weekdays only) or chat with them over cocktails at happy hour (in group settings, of course). We鈥檙e talking about a good old-fashioned frenemy. And while the relationship may seem like a no-win situation, studies have shown that frenemies can actually be a good thing.


Having a love-hate relationship with a close colleague benefits you at work by promoting creative problem solving and more accurate decision making. Plus, when you don鈥檛 see eye-to-eye with someone, you鈥檙e more likely to put yourself in their shoes and look at the situation in a new light. But let鈥檚 not forget 鈥 that鈥檚 easier said than done. So we caught up with Meredith Silversmith, a licensed marriage and family therapist, as well as the co-founder and clinical director of Nassau Wellness in Garden City, NY, to help us navigate the frenemy waters.

1. Set and maintain boundaries. 鈥淲hile you may spend some positive time together, it鈥檚 important not to be lulled into a false sense of security. This is a relationship that, even with its benefits, could become damaging,鈥 warns Meredith. 鈥淪et boundaries around topics of conversation, personal information you share and how much time you spend together.鈥 If it鈥檚 a work frenemy, consider keeping the friendly chatting in the office so you don鈥檛 open up after a few happy hour cocktails.

2. Use the rivalry to your benefit. If you keep the competition healthy, it can be good for your career and personal pursuits. 鈥淒on鈥檛 get bogged down feeling negative or overwhelmed by feelings of competition 鈥 use them to your advantage. Get motivated to work harder and strive to improve. A little challenge is good for you,鈥 Meredith says.

3. Keep your cool. You can bet that sometimes you鈥檒l face challenging or frustrating situations 鈥 opposite your frenemy. 鈥淒o your best to not react emotionally. Take a deep breath, take a walk or do whatever you need to do to continue to present yourself in a calm, composed way. You don鈥檛 want your frenemy to know when they鈥檝e gotten to you,鈥 says Meredith. Your frenemy mantra: Don鈥檛 give 鈥檈m the satisfaction!

4. Don鈥檛 gossip. Meredith advises to stay professional and keep the 鈥渆nemy鈥 part of your relationship under wraps. 鈥淥ne way to be sure to stir things up (in a not-so-good way) is to talk about your frenemy with colleagues. If you want to thrive in this relationship, hold back. It鈥檚 easy to jump into the negative talk, but it won鈥檛 help things go smoothly between you two.鈥

5. Keep your friends and your frenemies separate. 鈥淭hese are two very different types of relationships and it鈥檚 tough when they merge. You鈥檙e not going to be as open and honest with a frenemy as you are with a friend, so having them in the same place at the same time can be a really sticky situation. Do your best to keep the worlds from colliding.鈥 Amen!

Have you successfully managed a frenemy relationship? We want to hear about it! Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)

Having a frenemy is a blessing + curse. Here's how to deal with the situation like a boss.