“The Hills” originally aired from 2006 to 2010, and the Oxford English Dictionary added the word "frenemy" in 2008. If you’ve witnessed a few seconds of the interpersonal relationships on the reality series, you know this was not a coincidence.
Watching "The Hills" raised many questions about your own social circle -- mostly, who are these people hanging around me who don’t seem to actually like me? The show didn’t just help give us the word "frenemy"; it taught us everything we needed to know about handling the frenemies in our own lives...
Having a frenemy doesn’t make you a bad friendMTV
Lauren and Heidi didn’t start off treating each other badly. First they were friends who cared about each other, which is what fueled the battles when they weren’t. Lauren’s struggle to make sense of it all was a comfort to viewers who found themselves in similar situations, reminding us that just because a (former) friend may turn against you sometimes, it doesn’t mean you deserve it; it just means they’re a frenemy.
You can’t hide from your frenemies
The biggest difference between frenemies and enemies is that, like Lauren and Heidi, you're both in the same social circle. Unless you want to stay at home (and let them win), you better be prepared to run into your frenemy at every social function. Have a superior outfit and death stare ready to go.
Boys can cause frenemies
It wasn’t just drama king Spencer who was causing problems for the "Hills" gals, whether they disapproved of their friends' taste in men or approved of it a little too much (hi Jen Bunney!). Justin Bobby and Brody Jenner made all kinds of frenemy-related trouble too. Boys were as big of a frenemy trigger on the show as they are in real life. As a general rule, if you don’t hate on -- or hit on -- your friends' crushes, you’ll have significantly fewer frenemies.
Guys can also be frenemies
Being a frenemy may seem like a girls' game, but dictating who people can and cannot be friends with is one of a frenemy's trademarks -- and it’s also Spencer Pratt’s jam. He breaks up with his buddies, Brody and Frankie, over just that. For most dudes, the frenemy dynamic dissolves so fast, it’s easy to miss. This kind of man-on-man drama is too embarrassing to not shut down immediately.
Frenemies can happen in the workplace
It was hard to believe that Heidi could hold down a job in addition to the full-time gig of raising Spencer, but she managed to move up the ranks at Bolthouse Productions, at least through the first half of the series. And no, she didn’t do this through hard work. She did it by befriending a coworker, Elodie, and then backstabbing her for a promotion.
Workplaces can be competitive and contain many potential frenemies. You don’t have to be the paranoid weirdo at the office, but don’t be naïve and completely vulnerable either. It’s not personal; it’s just business.
One person’s friend can be someone else’s frenemy
Just because your friends have you in common, that doesn’t mean they have anything else. When it came to Audrina and Lo, Lauren learned that tough lesson; Lo and Audrina’s aversion to each other came naturally because they had Lauren’s attention to compete for. Thus, they were instant frenemies. Sometimes your friends mix nicely, and sometimes they don’t, but it’s always best not to force it.
Frenemies aren't forever
The best thing about frenemies is that they’re only temporary. A frenemy relationship is just a holding pattern; eventually you get over it and become real friends (or, in extreme cases, real enemies). Lauren was able to graduate from frenemy to friend with most of her costars, often because she didn’t care anymore.
Holding onto petty hate towards people you’re always around is exhausting and no way to live. It's not healthy or realistic, and it keeps you from getting to know people whom you might potentially like.
Short-term frenemies happen to everyone, but long-term ones? Those are just haters who still get invited to things.