Frenemies in the Office: How to Identify and Handle Them

Frenemies quickly teach us who to trust and who to avoid! What is a frenemy? It is a person who comes across as a friend but who stabs you in the back or undermines you in some way. This is an unavoidable reality of work life. Therefore it is important to identify and manage frenemies in the work place.

Types of frenemies

Envious Eddie: he is very insecure deep down. His strategy is to praise you too much and be overly friendly. He keeps on telling you how wonderful you are and what amazing work you do. Be wary to read much into what he says. Turn your focus to his work and take an active interest in what he does. Envious Eddie becomes nasty when you achieve something. He is unable to give true credit where it is due.

Conforming Carol: she supports what the majority support. She has no opinion of her own. If you chose to go against what the group says she will go out of her way to make life difficult for you. In fact she will encourage the rest of the frenemies to turn against you as well. So wear a mask. Be careful to differ too much from the group. If you do disagree, find ways of doing so outside of the group. Otherwise you will be outnumbered and ostracised.

Lazy Larry: he goes out of his way to look for short cuts. He also likes to steal your ideas. Because he is lazy he will do anything to get you to collaborate with him. You will end up doing all the work and he will take credit for it. Be cautious of frenemies like Larry. Keep your ideas to yourself. Ensure that you come across more neutral as opposed to showing how excited you are about a project or idea. Make sure that others know that an idea came from you.

Manipulative Marais: he knows what buttons to press to get you to co-operate. But know that he will not be willing to help you out. Give him as little information as possible. Do not give him reasons why you are unable to help him as he will find subtle ways to pressurise you. He is only interested in his own agenda.

He can be charming and full of flattery. But this is only done to get you to help him. He is always scheming how to get others to help him achieve his goals. If possible avoid him completely.

Flighty Fiona: she never delivers. She has all these wonderful ideas about what she will do or what is possible. The problem is that she never does anything! She chops and changes because she makes decisions based on her moods or emotions. So make sure that you focus on her achievements, not what she says she will do. If you see that she is all talk and no action, cut her out.

Peter has a colleague like this. She is quick to generate a whole lot of things she wants him to do and then keeps on changing her mind. Initially Peter became very frustrated with her. He has however, come to see that she is all wind and no substance! As a result he sees her as one of the office frenemies, and ignores her and her suggestions.

Rather focus on working with those people who do take action and who keep to their word.

Gossiping Georgie: she is friendly to your face but talks about you behind your back. She also has something to say about everybody in the office. Be very careful of her. In fact make sure that you refrain from talking to her about other people. Purely keep to the facts. She often adds her own interpretation of what happens – and these are way off the truth.

Pushy Paul: he will tell everyone what an amazing job he is doing. He talks about himself the whole time. Keep communication superficial and refrain from sharing your achievements with him.

Sly Sally: if things do not go her way she will bypass the correct channels and talk to her super senior or influencers to get what she wants. Be wary what you share with her as she cannot be trusted.

The reality of frenemies

It is crucial to know about frenemies. As much as you may prefer to be a good person and interact with others in an authentic way, it does not work like this in the real world. People have their own agendas. They also have their own emotional baggage and insecurities. All of this is played out in their relationships with others.

So it is important to take time to understand another person’s character. Work out what their underlying values and motivations are. Also take note of how their behaviour changes over time.

Life coaching will help you gain better insight into the behaviour of people who come across as friends but who are actually frenemies.

Posted in Business, Relationships.