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The signs your best mate’s a secret frenemy – from being competitive to draining your energy


IS YOUR best pal copying your fashion or giving you negative advice, before insisting they’re the one with your best interests at heart?

Then you may have a secret frenemy within your ranks. 


From backhanded compliments to loyalty issues, there are eight signs that could mean your friend isn’t the person you think they are[/caption]

Yesterday Kim Baker told Fabulous how her “best friend” cost her job, her dream wedding and £50,000 in a fake work scam.

If you’re starting to get suspicious of your own circle, psychotherapist, writer and relationship expert Lucy Beresford gave us the signs your friend isn’t the person you thought she was – so does any of this sound familiar?


If it’s a friendship of many years, the key thing to watch out for is a shift in energy.

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When you reflect on this particular friendship, you may find that some of the things you used to get- joy, stimulation, support – are simply no longer there.

Or maybe the friendship has become painfully unbalanced, if one of you is more successful or has achieved certain life goals (like marriage and kids) before the other.


Do you find yourself feeling mentally or physically exhausted when you are connecting with this person –  both in person and online?

Do they seem negative about your achievements or pleasures, like they’re always trying to criticise or diminish what is happening in your life?

It’s absolutely vital for our wellbeing to detox negative energy from your life – and that includes our connection to old friends.

It is important to assess whether this friend is supporting you or dragging you down.


Are there signs they are jealous of you, which are disguised by your friend saying these are things no-one else can tell you?

They might want to give the impression that they have your best interests at heart, but if you pay attention to the words they use, the tone of their communication or if their actions are the opposite to their words (e.g. they say they support you, but they never celebrate your achievements), this could be a sign they are envious of what you have.


Ask yourself why you have allowed the drama to run for so long?

Could it be that your own unhealthy needs are being met by keeping this toxic person in your life?

Does remaining friends with this person help you feel less lonely, helpful, important or superior?

Toxic friends sometimes echo people from your past, like a critical teacher, an unavailable parent or a competitive sibling.


Do they seem to be trying to take advantage of you, or using you in some way? 

Maybe they’re always asking for favours or trying to get to know people you know.

This is a sign that the relationship is more about them, and they see you as an object rather than a person.


If you have mutual friends, ask whether your so-called-friend is talking about you negatively behind your back.

This kind of behaviour is poisonous, but it is also really clear-cut.

People who gossip and spread nasty stories are trying to divide and rule.

They are trying to create two camps, pitting each side against the other.


A more subtle form of frenemy behaviour is when someone is passive/aggressive.

They say things that sound pleasant or helpful, but are in fact negative or back-handed.

Or they can be very resistant to any plans you suggest, which is their way of acting out their negativity.

It is hard to call this behaviour out as the ‘passive’ side is deliberately designed to appear non-threatening.

But over time, if a pattern emerges, you know where you stand.


Has a friend become competitive with you?

It could be minor things like copying your fashion style or social life choices.

But some fake friends will also copy your career, or who you date.

his can feel very draining, as they are trying to claim a piece of you.

Or maybe they are always bragging about the things they have acquired or achieved, to suggest you have achieved less in your life.

This attempt to diminish you is a way for insecure people to feel superior.  


By asking yourself what your needs and values are, you will be able to see whether this relationship has passed its sell-by-date.

Letting a toxic friend go frees up energy but also space for different, healthier people to come into your life, bringing a warm, genuine and fulfilling relationship.

A Friendship Audit allows you to set boundaries, meaning you’ll be more alert to friendships which aren’t genuine in the future.

It doesn’t need to be a dramatic fallout, just elegantly end contact.

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They may push back, but stand firm.

By showing yourself respect, you will attract people who respect you too.

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