Do You Have An Office Frenemy? Here Are 5 Ways To Deal With Them

You might have an office BFF. You know, your lunch date, your coffee companion and the one you confide in re your boss’s passive-aggressive emails. 

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Your work BF is a friend for life. But what about your office frenemy? A frenemy is a friend that is also an enemy. The dictionary defines a frenemy as, “a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry.”

You’re nodding right now in agreement. You know the exact colleague it is. It’s the one who leaves 30 seconds on the microwave and doesn’t CLEAR IT! Every week they tell you about the new diet they’re on, or undermine you at every opportunity they can. 

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We all have an office frenemy, but how do we navigate this complex macro-counter-of-a-person?

1. Breathe 

Sounds ridiculous, right? You’re thinking, who is this chick telling me to breathe– she’s not my yoga teacher! I’m not a yoga teacher, unfortunately. I’m terrible at handstands, I want to stay in savasana for the whole hour, not the last five minutes, and the only mantra I live by is– a green juice a day makes all the bad thing’s I ate go away. 

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But, advice that was given to me by an *actual* yoga teacher has helped me to deal with my office frenemy. She told me to take three deep breaths every time I feel angry at my colleague for sending me emails even when she sits right next to me (c’mon Deborah, I’M RIGHT HERE).

2. Don’t Gossip 

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about the workplace, it’s that gossip spreads as fast as I run to the door when Uber Eats says its 1 minute away.

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Yes, it’s excruciating when Heather shows you photos of her niece’s, brothers, cousin’s newborn, or when Michael wears too much Lynx Africa (Michael, if I wanted to be in a nightclub, I would go to one). However, gossiping about your colleague’s annoying habits will always make its way back to you– and you’ll be known as the office tattletale. No one likes a tattletale. 

The exception to the rule is if they steal your lunch. This is the worst kind of person and everyone needs to know about them. Gossip away.

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3. Confrontation 

Yep, I said it. The big C word. Let’s face it, no one enjoys confrontation, and if you do, you’re a low-key psychopath. But, if your office frenemy is truly grinding your gears, you might need to confront them about it. 

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For weeks, I’ve suffered from hypothermia due to a colleague insisting on having the air-conditioner at Antarctica temperature. It was when my fingers became discouloured and my ability to type was compromised, that I knew I needed to say something. 

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The outcome? I now get control over the temperature every second day! That’s right, extremity numbness and continuous shivering for 3 out of 5 days! What can I say, I’m really good at negotiation *It really hurt to type this– SO YOU BETTER BE ENJOYING IT*

4. Avoid

If confronting your frenemy doesn’t work, you may have to do some serious avoiding. 

Think when you’re at the shops, and you see Nancy from mothers group. What do you do? You run to the non-organic aisle because you know Nancy is profoundly opposed to chemicals and ingredients you can’t pronounce.

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This same rule applies to your co-workers. Know David won’t go anywhere near a tuna? Opt for a tuna sandwich EVERY LUNCHTIME. Kim’s not a fan of Taylor Swift? Play ‘Shake It Off’ until you know every lyric (exhibit the dance routine for a double amount of never-come-near-me). 

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Avoid as you would a neighbour on bin night. They’re judgemental eyes when you put the recycling instead of the green bin is too much to handle.

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5. Acceptance

And if all the above tips have not solved a single thing– you might have to accept that you work with an obnoxious-collogne-wearing-per-my-last-email kind of person.

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Now go forth and conquer your frenemy! *Names have been changed, but you know who you are MICHAEL*

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