The Lonely Dilemma: Is It Better To Have Frenemies Or No Friends At All?

by Lauren Martin

A harsh realization that came earlier for me than most was that having true friends is not an easy feat; in fact, it's damn near impossible. As you round milestones and gradually gain your footing in the world of tax law and monthly rent checks, you begin to develop a dissatisfaction for people in general, an understanding that they are never what they seem.

They end up disappointing you through a series of charades and false illusions until you realize you must choose your friends based on whose flaws you can learn to live with the most. That being said, as you become older and more self-involved, it becomes harder to look past people's flaws and ugly sides. Gradually, your idea of friendship changes and you come to realize that maybe the only type of people in this world are frenemies or nothing at all?

Frenemies was a term coined by tween girls and the Disney Channel to exploit the idea of fake friends who talk behind your back, friends that are secretly competitive, friends that would like to see you fail. I am not using frenemies to describe catty girls with hidden motives, but rather to exert that not everyone is going to be that unselfish, uninhibited bestie you imagined yourself living with until you found a suitable partner to pronounce sacred vows with.

I'm not saying that all your friends want to see you fail, nor are they looking for your demise, but there is a certain level of selfishness that comes with friendships in your twenties.

This isn't a statement on the disillusion of our culture, but rather an acknowledgment that people in their twenties are self-serving and unreliable, as they should be in this tentative period of their lives. People shouldn't be looking out for anyone but themselves, and relying on others is a naïve idea that will lead to nothing but failure and emptiness.

What you must take away from this is that your friends in your twenties can only be seen on a level equivalent to that of frenemies. The real question becomes: when are friends good, and when are they bringing you down?

A good friendship should bring respite from the rest of the world. Friends should bring confidence in your time of low esteem, security when you feel alone in the world, and a peace that only comes when you know someone cares about you. Everyone needs at least one person to confide in, to release the secrets held in the dark corners of your mind, to understand your pain. But if it's not bringing those valuable assets to your life, is it worth holding on to?

“If I'm not with somebody who really excites or inspires me, then I'd rather be by myself.” -Uknown

I'm not saying that finding real friends is impossible, I'm saying that holding on to friends that aren't real and aren't bringing value to your life isn't worth your time or effort. Frenemies aren't evil or conniving people, they are just fillers of space. They are people who do not add value or relief to your life, they are people who just fill your empty apartment so you don't have to be confronted by your loneliness. But what's so wrong with sitting alone in an empty room?

People discredit loneliness as isolation and depression. They put a negative connotation on preferring the company of yourself to others. But is it all that bad to be a loner? Is it so clichéd to enjoy the time spent alone over that with friends? In the most critical time in our lives, shouldn't our alone time be something of value and necessity? There is a certain value placed on friendships that isn't placed on isolation. Hoards of people surrounding you are presumably better than hours spent alone.

In my opinion, being alone is healthier, more productive and all around more enjoyable than spending life surrounded by groups of people who do not add value to your life. While it's good to have a friend to confide in every now and then, there is a certain respite that isolation brings that a person never will. How can you ever get to know who you are, if you don't spend anytime with yourself? Your twenties are a time of exploration and self-evaluation, a critical time of molding you into the person you are still to become. This time should be used wisely, and with steps towards yourself rather than others.

What if the poets, writers and actors had it right, what if there is no greater escape than that of solitude? If I had the choice between a room full of people or an empty room, I'd chose the solitude. I'd rather sit and get to know myself than make arbitrary chit chat with people who will never really know me let alone help me grow.

There is nothing wrong with being alone, with choosing yourself over others. However, my opinion is just another grain of salt in the massive ocean of opinions, thus I've compiled a list of some of the greatest artistic talents to share their advice on this matter.

Woody Allen - Isolation Is Best

The master of loneliness and aversion, Woody has no shame in admitting that he does not like people. He admits that the only times he finds true peace and inspiration is within the confines of his writing.

Ernest Hemingway

It was Hemingway who poetically said, "I drank a bottle of wine for company" and that statement did not resonate with me until I understood solitude and what it means to be alone. Wine, the effects of it, have the ability to open oneself in ways you never knew before. Sitting down alone with a bottle of wine can be just as comforting as drinking with some false friends.

Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison was made famous for his brooding personality and aversion to people. Rather to be left alone with his poetry, the lyrical mastermind created songs that bring refuse to those lonely and disturbed across the world, proving great things happen from solitude.

Top photo credit: Bod Hi Love