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Four Tips For Dealing With Frenemies

In the Sex the City movie, Miranda functions as a friend-turned-Frenemy and helps derail her friend’s dream wedding. At a strategic point in the upcoming nuptials she opens her mouth and actually puts down the idea of marriage to the commitment-phobic groom! In this one act, Miranda puts a nail in the coffin of her best friend’s dream. We will not reveal how things do turn out, in case you have not seen the movie. But there are lessons learned from this scene.

First of all, finding love is a challenge and, unfortunately, friends and family members can sometimes make it even tougher. When people in your inner circle become negative, pessimistic, competitive, jealous, or don’t show you appreciation and/or encouragement, it inflames your own doubts and fears. If you are in a new love relationship, these reactions can come on suddenly, or they may be familiar and ingrained parts of lifetime relationships that are so subtle you may not even be fully aware of them. In either case, unsupportive reactions toward you and/or your boyfriend can pull you both back into being hopeless about love. In extreme cases, they can sabotage a growing relationship, as Miranda did in the Sex the City movie! Negative reactions from people close to you can even stop you from getting out there and dating altogether.

I call people who interfere with your love life Frenemies. Ask yourself, do any of these descriptions sound familiar?

• A “best friend” who takes an instant dislike to a guy you really like
• A friend who insists that all the “good ones” are taken
• A sister/brother who reminds you of your past failures or the duds you’ve fallen for
• A dad who criticizes any guy you bring around
• A mom who clucks about how men would find you more attractive if you only lost those 10 pounds
• Your two closest friends who are no-shows at the first dinner party you are hosting with your number one guy

These are typical reactions of friends-turned-Frenemies. Here are four steps to take in handling Frenemies and protecting your love life:

Step 1: Uncover Frenemies

Who do you spend the most time with socially? For each person journal about the following:

a) Are they single? Are they in a relationship? If so, do they generally describe it as loving or not?
b) Do you feel good hanging around them? How do you feel right after being with them?
c) Are they supportive of your self esteem and attractiveness?
d) What are their attitudes towards love, men or relationships in general?
e) How do they react when you are in a relationship?

Step 2: Stop Your Whining

Often you are unconsciously encouraging your Frenemies to be negative by complaining to them about what is wrong with your love life. For three days, take a notebook and make a note of every time you complain to anyone. For the next three days complain to no one. Journal about how this feels.

Step 3: Make a List of What You Need From Frenemies

For example, you may need your best friend to stop complaining about how awful men are. You may need your dad to tell you what he really likes about your new boyfriend.

Step 4: Ask Your Frenemies to Give You the Support You Need.

Be straight and honest. Tell them you want to have a positive outlook about love and you need them to be positive too. Most will respond. With the few who do not and continue being negative, move to a more distant, yet polite relationship with them. You have to protect yourself and your own hopeful outlook on love.

Anyone can make a mistake and can turn Frenemy on you, just like Miranda did in the SATC movie. But if this does happen, follow these steps, you will find that you can turn things back around so that you have a truly supportive posse. And by the way, if you and your wonderful posse would like to see if your dating patterns are more like Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte or Miranda, take the quiz at www.mydatingpatterns.com. You can learn much more about the latest research on dating and dealing with frenemies in the new book, Love in 90 Days: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love.

psychologist, dr. diana kirschner, appeared on oprah and is a frequent guest on the today show. for 25 years she has helped thousands of single women find love. her acclaimed new book is love in 90 days: the essential guide to finding your own true love. for her etips, blog, dating articles, daily affirmations discussion forum visit http://www.lovein90days.com

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Listed: November 1, 2008 12:08 am