Frenemies - Glasshouse Christian College


  • March 27, 2024


What do you remember most about your time as a Middle School student? Was it the formula for simple interest, or the volume of a cone? Maybe it was learning to say “it’s good to meet you” in French or to find onomatopoeia in a text.

Chances are, you remember your friendships the most. The mates you spent every recess and lunchtime with, knocked around with after school, and maybe even invited to your house on the weekend.

But Middle School friendships are not all fairy floss and ferris wheels. All too often, friendships can develop unhealthy behaviours that, rather than support and comfort, hurt and confused. Sometimes friends can become frenemies.

The Year 7 Cohort has recently taken part in a Pastoral Care program titled, “Frenemies: 10 Unhealthy Behaviours in Friendships and What to Do About It”. Here are the 10 signs that a friend might be a frenemy:

10 Signs of a Frenemy
  • 1. They gossip to you. If they’re gossiping to you, they’re most likely also gossiping about you to someone else.
  •  2. They tell other people’s secrets to you. They may use secrets of ’friends’ to try to get in good with someone else. If they’re telling other people’s secrets to you, your secrets are not safe!
  • 3. They tell you who you can and can’t hang around with. They might say you can’t be their friend if you don’t do what they ask. They may also ask in front of other friends if you are their best friend.
  • 4. They tell you that someone doesn’t like you or said something mean about you. They may say they told you to ‘help you’ or because they care. But they actually do it to make you feel bad, paranoid, or angry at another person.
  • 5. They criticize you all the time. This could be subtly or openly, to your face or behind your back. They may also criticize other friends to you.
  • 6. They keep a record of your wrongs. They may bring them up, often subtlety, especially when you call them out for not being nice.
  • 7.  They try to manipulate you into feeling a certain way or doing something you don’t want to do. They may do this even though you have made it really clear you don’t want to.
  • 8.  They demand a lot from you, without giving anything back. They might ask to borrow things or ask for money or food, but never let you when you ask them.
  • 9. You always feel on edge around them. The friendship often makes you feel unsure, hurt, stressed, or inadequate. Problems and fights always seem to end up ‘your fault’ even though you’re honestly trying hard to do the right thing.
  • 10.  They try to gaslight you. They may try to change the story to make you second guess yourself about what you think happened, or make you doubt what you know to be true.
How to grow good friends

During the program, Year 7 students were asked to think about whether students in their friendship group showed any of these frenemy behaviours. More importantly, students were asked to identify which frenemy behaviours they may do to their friends.

Friendship groups got together and were encouraged to make rules about what they expect from each other, make a commitment to call out frenemy behaviour, and back each other up when they do.

Lastly, students were encouraged to talk with a teacher or pastor if frenemy behaviours persist, to help set ground rules.

Friends are such an important part of school life and, just like other areas of schooling, need to be developed and grown to make successful lifelong friendships.

Larry McKeown, Year 7 Coordinator

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