How to Deal With a Frenemy at Work


We all have those relationships that bring to mind duos like Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl, or Olivia Palermo and Whitney Port on the The City. You know the types — friends who stick subtle verbal pins in you, deflating your confidence levels to new all time lows, or co-workers who take all the credit when you do something worth praise in the office. These are the people you secretly wish to defriend on Facebook accompanied by a message that’s….well, we won’t get into the details. But while casual friends who add negativity to your life can be tossed out and recycled, co-workers are unfortunately the types of frenemies that you just have to deal with.

Fortunately for you, there are ways of managing frenemies in the workplace! Here’s a quick lesson in Frenemy 101:

Distinguish Between Your Friends and Frenemies:
You’ll want to make sure that the co-worker who you think has it out for you, actually has it out for you before you start victimizing yourself and gossiping to friends and family asking for advice. Make sure you can recall at least one or two instances in which you were unfairly blamed for something that wasn’t on your plate of responsibilites or a time when your frenemy took credit for something that you put a ton of time and effort into.

Confront Your Frenemy:
Okay, no one likes confrontation (unless you’re a complete drama queen) — it’s just plain uncomfortable. But on certain occasions, it’s also completely necessary. Set up a time to meet with your now distinguished frenemy and discuss your issues. Be firm and straight to the point, and make sure to listen to what they have to say in response without interrupting or getting defensive. Hopefully you will be able to resolve your differences for the better, or at least clear up any miscommunications, but if it becomes clear that your frenemy is not ready to be cute and cuddly any time soon, ask at the very least to be treated with the same respect and fairness in the workplace that you offer them.

Remain Professional:
After your meeting, keep calm and cool by avoiding office gossip and instead focus on working diligently. If you need to blow off some steam, beeline it for the bathroom and release your negative energy there in private.

Clarify Your Responsibilities:
Talk to your boss or the person you directly report to. Specifically ask them what they expect from you as en employee, take note, and make it happen. Be sure to discuss this with your frenemy, stating that this is what you’ll be working on. This should clear up any confusion about responsibilities so that your frenemy can’t take credit for accomplishments that are rightfully yours.

At your next team meeting, speak up and let everyone know your personal work updates — it’s good to over communicate when you find yourself in a situation such as this. It takes the confusion out of any tasks, making everything more clear regarding who’s doing what and leaving less room for error.

Collaborate With Your Frenemy:
Agree to collaborate on ideas for a project that will force you and your frenemy to work together as a team. This will hopefully lead to a more cohesive relationship, and will result in something that both of you can be proud of, and that both of you can taken credit for.

Now that you’ve completed these steps, you’re well on your way to a happy working environment. Keep up the good work!

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