There’s nothing worse than a wolf befriending a sheep. Avoid false friendship at all costs. If you are good, straightforward, and well meaning it should show in your eyes and not escape notice.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 11.15
Oxford defines frenemy as - “a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry (OED).” That’s a VERY generous definition. “A person with whom one is friendly…” is very different from someone whom I’d call a friend. When one starts using terms like “fundamental” when talking about why people aren’t actually friends (or enemies, for that matter), any shared, interstitial ground they happen to have in common will most assuredly be built upon mutual virtue, honor, civility, professionalism, kindness, and/or compassion, or it won’t be built at all… the insincerity of frenemy-ship cannot be the foundation of healthy relationships.
Regarding the making of honest relationships, wise Marcus counsels us to move through our lives with virtue, and that same virtue will be the light and Fire by which we brighten and warm the world, respectively. It’s the light that draws our friends to us… and makes our enemies aware of our presence. By being real with ourselves and in our relationships, we can shine with Integrity and not worry about whether others will be our friends or enemies. That will all work itself out naturally.
Finally, one of the great strengths of Stoicism is its relationship with reality. Without an understanding of and an established grip on reality itself, one cannot be in right-relationship with anything, friend or enemy. The concept of frenemy breaks down what is the real. When we’re in touch with the real we can’t see the “existence” of frenemy…
… only Virtue, or the vacuum where Virtue needs to be.
(See y’all tomorrow)