It was so easy in middle school. The divisions were drawn and the territories marked.
You were either friends or you weren't.
It was obvious where you belonged by the way you dressed, where you sat, or who you had lunch with.
But as you get older, the boundaries begin to blur. It's a fine line between love and hate. I would argue that it's an even finer line between friend and enemy.
So here are nine reasons every girl needs frenemies -- not just friends -- in her life.
1. Frenemies force you to be better.
Let's be honest. We all thrive on a little competition.
It's totally characteristic of a frenemy to have everything you have – only better. She'll earn more than you. Her hair will always look straighter and more presentable.
She'll rub you so hard the wrong way that she'll cause irritation in places you never knew you had. Until she finally pushes you to be better.
2. They remind you not to be a pushover.
I'm such a nice person. It's always been my downfall.
There's no room for nice when a deal is on the table and there's money to be made. Damn, I wish I wasn't so nice. If you're an eternal people-pleaser like me, make the most of your frenemy to help you break the cycle.
Not being nice doesn't mean being a terrible person. It just means putting your interests above those of others. Wake up and realize you don't want to be a pushover anymore.
3. We all need a little drama in our lives.
Frankly, life would be pretty boring if it weren't for your frenemy. Who doesn't relish a little drama?
You secretly enjoy the attention you get when public frenemy number one goes and causes another backlash.
"Accidentally" told your boss you think he's an intolerable a-hole? It's time to take the gloves off.
Both going after the same man? Out with the claws and fangs.
4. You'll go to all the best parties.
Your frenemy is in a constant competition with you, which means you raise each other's games. It also means that you'll get into the best bars and invited to the coolest parties. You know that new club that's totally impossible to get into? Trust your frenemy to get you in.
Because she feeds off your infatuation with her, she'll work pretty hard to become a VIP, and she'll take you with her on the way.
Sure, the first thing that comes out of her mouth will probably be that you have a boyfriend... but she wouldn't be your frenemy otherwise.
5. They make you watch your back.
Was that your frenemy cozying in the corner with your ex? Or was it just your imagination? What was she doing on your side of town at that time of night anyway?
My own best frenemy is a serial man stealer – my men. I actually need both hands to count on how many of my past loves she's comforted out of our breakups.
It's like a trophy for her. As if she won after all.
So, she's made me watch my back; just as your frenemy should make you watch yours.
You don't have to be paranoid, but just pay attention to the details. It can help you in all kinds of ways. Just think, if humans hadn't learnt to be on the lookout for predators, we'd long be extinct by now.
6. You'll care more about your appearance.
Ever been about to leave the house when your cell phone goes off? It's your frenemy deciding that she'll come to the bar after all. You instinctively rush back upstairs to change your outfit and slap on a little more lipstick.
It's a myth that women dress up for men. We do it for other women. Or rather, to look better than other women – specifically, our frenemies. Which means double the pressure and twice as long with the straightening irons. But at the end of the day, kudos to your frenemy who just raised the stakes. You went from pretty cute to smoking hot after one little phone call.
7. They make you lose those extra pounds.
Oh, I know it sounds shallow, but there's only one thing more effective than going through a breakup for losing weight; and that's seeing your frenemy six weeks postpartum wearing skinnier jeans than you.
You may have thought you were comfortable with the fact that your frenemy is just naturally thinner. I mean, you have bigger bones, right? Who wants to look like a skeleton anyway? But whether it's the postpartum jeans or the string bikini, once that flip is switched, the pounds will come falling off.
8. You can trade on insider information.
We've all been there at some point when our boyfriend had a girlfriend who he was uncomfortably pally with. This is classic frenemy material.
As you prepare for your romantic dinner with your man, he suddenly calls and asks if it's alright if “Jess tows along,” because she's “so sad about breaking up with her boyfriend.”
To which you reply through clenched teeth, “sure, it's no biggie.” Then later on she tells you what a great friend you are, before staring deeply into your eyes and asking if everything is “OK with you guys.” Because she knows him so well and he seems a “little distant” lately. Trust me, this is one frenemy who will always know the lowdown before you, and insider information is a powerful - and dangerous thing.
9. You'll become a better person.
OK, so this sounds like a bold claim. You may not start getting involved in philanthropy over night, but your frenemy will probably turn you into a better person. Or, she'll make you more evil. I guess it depends on your personality type.
When I see someone acting out of line, it doesn't make me want to be an a-hole by default. It makes me want to act better. Be better. Treat the wait staff nicely and put a smile on people's faces. Instead of spreading my RBF.
So, there you have it. Before you think about breaking up with your frenemy, take a tip (or 9) from me. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. And your frenemy on a short leash.