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The art of war: How to use your frenemy to your benefit

A frenemy is a term used to describe a person who pretends to be a friend but actually harbors negative feelings, jealousy or rivalry towards you. A frenemy may act friendly and supportive towards you at times but can also be manipulative, competitive or undermining behind your back.

This type of relationship can be emotionally draining and challenging to navigate as the person displays conflicting behaviors of both friendship and animosity. It is very important to be careful and mindful of such relationships to protect your emotional well-being and maintain healthy boundaries.

These types of relationships are common in various aspects of life including, especially in the work place and in social settings. Frenemies tend to stick closer than friends but once you know who your frenemy is, there is a way you can use this kind of relationship to your advantage.

This is where Sun Tzu’s Art of War strategies on how to deal with enemies come in handy. According to Sun Tzu, a person should know when to to fight and when not to. They should also know how to deceive the enemy by appearing weak when they are strong, and strong when they are weak. This way, if you know yourself and you know the enemy, then one cannot fear the results of a hundred battles.

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The first thing you need to do is to be aware of the frenemy’s true intentions and actions. Keep a close eye on their behaviours and avoid sharing sensitive or confidential information with them.

Maintain a civil and cordial relationship with the frenemy when necessary, especially in social settings or professional environments. Proceed to observe how the frenemy operates and recognize their tactics.

Use this knowledge to strengthen your own social and interpersonal skills, including how to handle conflicts or challenging personalities. These are among the key skills being sought in the corporate world today.

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In certain situations, a frenemy might have access to valuable connections including CEOs, human resource managers, bank managers and so forth; or resources including vehicles, social amenities and even finances. Utilize this knowledge strategically and network wisely to grow your career portfolio or social value that you can leverage to potential business partners.

This should be done after you identified shared interests or mutual benefits between the two of you that can be leveraged positively and you both stand to gain in spite of the underlying hate. Focus on the areas where your goals align and collaborate strategically but do so with extreme caution because backstabbing is as easy as breathing to them.

Make sure to establish clear boundaries with the frenemy to protect yourself from manipulation or exploitation; and be cautious about the information you share and the level of trust you extend to them.

Constantly assess the value of the frenemy in your life. If the negative aspects outweigh any potential benefits, consider limiting or cutting off contact with them altogether.

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