How to stop competing with Frenemies

I’ve decided to blog about something a bit controversial tonight.


I’ve been wanting to write this blog for some time but thought it was a bit too controversial. But over the last couple of weeks it has popped up in a few conversations with other people – and the topic also came up when I was watching SENNA (a movie I highly recommend you watch – it’s absolutely brilliant!).

What is a frenemy?
A frenemy is someone who is a friend on the surface but deep down you sometimes feel like enemies. They drain your energy, intuitively you know you don’t get along, you feel competitive towards them, you feel they copy you … but most of all … you know despite being “friends” they don’t have your best interest at heart (this YouTube video explains it quite well – just ignore the stoopid commercial ad in the beginning!).

But for whatever reason … you need to remain “friends” and always be “amicable” – usually because you are in the same industry/ field/ company/ business.

What lies at the heart of frenemy relationships
Frenemy relationships are competitive in nature because you’re always comparing yourself to the other person. It’s a game you can’t actually win because at the end of the day, the only thing your competing against is your own insecurities … of not being good enough, creative enough, important enough, attractive enough, interesting enough … whatever it may be.

Yes I have a frenemy too. Someone I prefer not to see because I don’t like who I become after I’ve seen that person.

I totally get it’s about my own insecurities and I will openly confess my biggest insecurity is that I’m not creative enough. If you’ve read my first blog, you will know this started out as a way for me to explore, discover and uncover my creative side.

My insecurities come from my childhood – do’h!
Growing up in a family where physics, maths and chemistry were perceived as my ‘strengths’ (I do wonder how maths got in there!) … As a child I was never told I was creative and as an adult I find myself yearning to be. Why am I bringing this up? Because if you have a frenemy that gets the better of you they can only ‘do that’ because you’re living from a place of insecurity.

If you produce/ write/ create/ design from a space of wanting to be better than someone else… you’ve already lost the game. The only way to win the game is to be authentic to who you are. To be real. To be honest. To be even be vulnerable. Whatever it is that’s real for you.

The power of intention
I truly believe it’s all about the intention behind your work. Why am I bringing this up? I learnt a super-duper valuable lesson last Friday from Darren Shirlaw (entrepreneur, mathematician and IP expert). He spoke about a lot of business related things but at one point he spoke about how all we carry our insecurities and fear in our auras … and how everyone we come into contact with feels and senses these insecurities from us (through our aura).

But what I loved is that he mentioned it’s really easy to shift and change our aura by changing our intention. I’m not talking about changing your intention towards your frenemy or your work. I’m talking about knowing the intention for your life and then channeling and living by that intention (yes I know this sounds a bit deep – but hang in there, it does come back around I promise! hehe).

The BIG question …
Darren Shirlaw challenged us to answer the question “Why are you here?/ What are you here to do?” And the answer ie. your intention, should be just one word. And usually the single word has an expansive feel to it.

For example, some people said their intention is to change/ to heal/ to love/ to empower/ to transform/ to honor/ to transition/ to pioneer/ to revolutionise/ to spark/ to reshape/ to unite …

If you wake up in the morning knowing what your intention is and then live it throughout the day … infusing it into your work and everything you do … you are no longer competing against anyone (no frenemies can touch you) … and your insecurities no longer have a hold on you.

My intention is to …
It took me 3 days to work out what my “word” is … initially I thought it was to transform but that didn’t sit 100% with me. In actual fact … my intention is to “illuminate” … to showcase, to bring forth, to highlight, to bring out of the darkness … that which is there but not yet seen (hence why I love showcasing different aspects of love … I love taking that which is painful and making it beautiful).

It makes total sense to me. With my couples, I am illuminating aspects of their relationship they do not yet see. With my blog and writing, I am illuminating aspects of myself I do not yet understand. When I meet with clients and other people in the wedding industry … I’m often giving them ideas and suggestions that help illuminate parts of their business that are currently hidden.

When you stop competing with yourself, you stop competing with others

And the best thing about living by this “one word” is … you could be in a room full of people with the same word and you wouldn’t be competing with them. The way each person lives out their “word” is completely different to the next person – in fact you are more likely to collaborate with each other if you have the same word!

So for example …. if you’re a photographer or blogger or stylist in the wedding industry … you may all be doing similar things … ie. taking similar photos / blogging similar things / styling similar weddings … but if you know what your overall intention is and if you live that intention .. how you approach that wedding / blog will be different to every other person. Even if to an outsider it appears the same, your intention behind it makes it different. And the deepest part of me believes your intention behind things drives what happens next in your life.

So on that note, I’m no longer striving to be creative … I’m just going to wake up each morning with the intention of illuminating everything around me. Life is much easier this way : )

ps. If you work out what your intention / word is … please make a comment below … I’d love to know! : )

Illuminating the darker side of love …
When I think of my favourite photo shoots, it would have to be Sean and Emma’s sad shoot and their shoot about an affair. The reason why I love these two shoots so much is because they illuminate the deeper darker emotions associated with love. They bring what is painful and what is often considered shameful and make it beautiful. I wish I had more couples willing to ‘go there’ in my shoots.

Photographer: Darren Wong
Art Director: thaoski
To see more images relating to this shoot, click here >>

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2 Responses to “How to stop competing with Frenemies”
  1. Thank you Thaoski for that post, it is exactly what I needed right now. I have frenemies too (who doesn’t!) and have really struggled on how to deal with them – and of course respond to my own insecurities at the same time. I have attempted so many solutions – unfollows on Twitter & facebook, being as nice (genuinely) as i can, trying to be honest but at the end of the day I have found the most effective way of dealing with all of this is to address what is inside you.

    I learn a lot from my Husband who is a man much a peace with himself and the world he lives in. He has taught me that I have a choice when it comes to other people and how they make me feel. I don’t have to be upset, I can choose not to let them upset me if I wish. I have applied this mechnism of emotional control quite frequently in recent weeks, it has really helped when the frenemy has said something hurtful or acted in a way that would – could have really upset me, it’s as though I’m saying, well you can do that, but you know what, I choose to not let your actions effect me emotionally, I choose to channel my energies into a positive outcome for myself today – completing those extra few tasks on my to-do list etc.

    As a Blogger i have been through the whole process of worrying I’m not creative enough, not a good enough writer, that everyone else is doing better than me, then I realised, my blog is my blog – no one else writes my blog, my visitors (the stats prove it!) come to my blog because they appreciate the content I provide and no one else provides content the way I do – I have my own style and I have taught msyelf to feel proud of that. I don’t follow many other blogs in the same genre as mine. I frequently hlghlight hundreds of features on Google reader and click ‘mark all as read’ because, truly, I like to feel I am developing my blog with my own inspiration, and not based on what I see others do.

    I’m waffling a bit, but anyway, I just wanted to say, thanks for giving me food for thought and making me consider an issue that has bothered me too, but in considering it – realising actually how much I have overcome my frenemy issues. And for that, I thank you 😉


    • thaoski says:

      Totally agree : ) if you are true to who you are and authentic in what you do and how you do it … nothing can bother or touch you : ) keep focusing on what you love doing and do the things you love : )

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