Does being nice to a frenemy or narcissist work?

Kill ’em with Kindness

This phrase makes me laugh.  The meaning is to be overly kind to someone to the point that he or she becomes annoyed and doesn’t bother you anymore.  I don’t really know in what situation this has worked?

For a frenemy or narcissist being nice, sweet and kind is not necessarily the most effective way in dealing with them or annoying them enough to drop you as a friend.  In fact the opposite could happen – the situation could become worse for you.

Acts of kindness like compliments, helpful favors and support can come at a price.  If you start being extra nice or kind to your frenemy or narc then this isn’t a sincere form of kindness.

  • Believe it or not: A frenemy or narcissist can distinguish real, genuine kindness from fake, insincere kindness

When they sense fake kindness they can become irritated to the point where you are back at square one: being used, manipulated, insulted, etc.  I am not sure if the fakeness works to drive them away…I have never attempted this course of action mainly because it makes me to stick to my stomach to be nice to a narcissist (at least once I figured out that they are one).  If anyone has had this work please share your story.

If you are naturally kind or a people pleaser (I am) then your real kindness is something the narcissist picks up on.  They have this uncanny ability to sense this about you from the beginning and twist compliments, favors and support out of you.

  • Kind people such as people pleasers attract narcissists, narcissists can tell within a short time frame of knowing you that you are the ideal candidate to  give them a constant stream of narcissistic supply.

The sad part is the fact that your kindness gets abused by the frenemy or narc.  The good side is that once you have identified your friend or partner as a one then you can begin to do something about it.  Before I discovered this complicated phenomenon of the ‘frenemy’ or ‘narcissist’ I can honestly say that my acts of kindness led to more abuse from them.  Here a few examples:

When going to visit Lydia (lives 8 hours away) I offered to buy some things from the country I live in because she can’t them in the country she lives in.  The list that came back was longer than my normal grocery list that I thought she was joking at first.  I didn’t mind getting things for her kids but she had items on there for herself and the brands plus she wanted me to go to 2 different stores.  Okay…the list was very long…but when I had asked her it took her 2 weeks to respond and she responded 3 days before we left.  Because I worked I had to leave work one day early to make it before the store closed because she hadn’t sent her list before the weekend.

Whenever you give an inch the frenemy or narc takes a yard.  No joke.  Lydia’s lack of consideration with her untimely response and long grocery item showed her lack of friendship and gratitude.  I have many more stories but will highlight one more.

Don and Lydia stay at our place on their way to see their families.  Since the drive is long and we live in-between they stay with us and then continue the drive to their families.  For the past one and half years they have stopped in now 4 times.  Every time they stay with us it goes the same way.  They go and do what they need to do…whether it is going to their shopping places or planning things we didn’t know about…we run a hotel.  We have suggested things to do together but then we get a response ‘oh, we are going here…you are welcome to join us.’  

The time they spent with us is not about spending time with us.  It is about doing the things they need to do and going to the places they need to go to.  They come and go as they please and use me and my fiance’s place as a hotel.

Because I know now that I am being used I have slowly been adjusting my behaviors.  I no longer go out of my way for them.  I don’t offer favors and I haven’t asked if they are coming through this summer.  I’ve stopped.  It is has freed me from them.

Any stories about being nice?


9 thoughts on “Does being nice to a frenemy or narcissist work?

  1. This is not about being nice to narcissists, but about being nice to other offensive types.

    There is a residential development going up behind our house. There are at least half a dozen houses on the go, the one which impacts us the most is the house being built right behind us. There have been a number of tradesmen building here, all with really loud radios/sound systems on the go as they work. I ask them nicely if they would mind turning their noise down, most of the do, albeit begrudgingly. This morning, I asked the bricklayers to turn it down and was met with a nasty response. They figured it wasn’t 6.30 in the morning so why should they care about who they were affecting with their loud radios.

    I have spent the whole morning long beating myself up about this. After I realised my mother was a narcissist, I also read somewhere about boundaries and rights. I have the right to ask somebody else to stop doing something that is bothering me, regardless of the fact that ‘nobody else is complaining’, or ‘it’s not that bad’, or, ‘I am annoying them by asking’. Yet these rebukes keep circling around in my brain because it was drummed into me as a child that I didn’t have rights or boundaries, and the only ‘nice’ response I am going to get is if I do what my abuser wants me to do. Just put up with it and keep quiet.

    Being nice often gets no results at all. I figured rights are fine, as long as they are recognised by everyone, but once the other person decides your rights don’t exist, then good luck with that. In the end, all we can do is reassure ourselves, for as long as it takes, that we do have the right to say no. I have decided I will continue being considerate and respectful to others, even when I get a nasty response, because to get nasty back is only going to make me hate myself more. I have had enough of beating myself up, even when I am doing nothing wrong!!!

    One last thing about being nice to narcissists, they do take everything you give them and twist it around. I have also experienced losing control and yelling and arguing with them. What do they do? They turn that around also, apparently you are now the bad person for losing control and they don’t want to talk to you if you can’t speak politely and respectfully. In the end, you end up pleasing nobody, you quite simply have to treat everyone with the same level-headed refusal to put up with any and all bs and let them deal with the brick wall of determination that you have become. Easier said than done.


  2. The NM is good at disarming our own narcissism (the healthy kind)…the part when we should stand up for ourselves. We have rights and we should be able to stand up for them in a healthy way. People whether its narcissists or other offensive people will deny people rights…and you are right…it is up to us to reassure ourselves and each other that we do have that right! A person can deny it but they can’t take it away from you.

    The crazymaking of the N. When they make you look like the crazy one, they are so good at that…turning it around. A good point…we have to treat everyone with a level head and not feed into their evil manipulation of the facts. Yup…not always easy…a work in progress :).

    Stay strong and I hope that the construction workers are keeping the noise/music down.


  3. I gave some relatives of mine my car because I am physically ill and can’t drive anymore. I didn’t see that it was doing anybody any good by it just sitting in my driveway. It was in very good condition and low mileage. They always get high mileage cars that only last for a couple of years and then expect my dad to buy them other cars. I figured that I was both helping them and also my dad out by giving them a car that would last awhile.

    I almost wish I had not done it. My dad is grateful that I saved him money, but I have not had any gratitude from these ingrates. My brother-in-law has accused me of never doing anything nice for anybody my entire life. In fact he told me that everytime he sees me I “pick his pocket” He OFFERED to pay for lunch a couple of times and apparently I was supposed to say “no”?

    Meanwhile he is busy picking my dad’s wallet by refusing to look for a job. It has been almost two years since he has worked but he is just busy doing his own thing. But according to him I am the lazy one even though I am disabled. Go figure.

    Basically I have given up on being nice to him. I will be civil at family get-togethers but that is it. I have been blamed for all the problems in our relationship but I am not going to take that anymore. It actually is pretty freeing for me to realize that there is no law saying that I have to love him or even like him just because we are “family” I still want a relationship with my sister and nephew which is why I haven’t just walked away.


    • I can understand the frustration of dealing with that – especially when it is about giving and money. It feels like we’re just being used.

      It is mind-blogging how the generous gestures like you giving your car are totally not recognised. And their own ungratefulness and laziness are than projected back on to us. If someone projects a ‘bad’ trait on to another he/she doesn’t have to face it him/herself – they don’t have to face the pain of being perceived as bad (lazy, ungrateful) by projecting it on to another.

      Nice way to put – “there is no law saying that I have to love him or even like him just because we are “family”” – so true.

      Thank you for sharing your story.
      xxoo T Reddy


      • Having discovered a long time friend is a narcissit and a new friend is also a narcissit, I’ve learned that the best thing to do is DISENGAGE. Do not try to talk with them. Do not try to reason with them. DO not expect to be heard. Limit interaction. They are masters at verbal manipulation. ANd they only thing that truly irks them is being ignored. You will be surprised at the lenghts they will go through to get your attention back. Just remember to NEVER give them attention again. My coworker narcissist started making eye contact with me then looking away. Now I immediately break eye contact and look away if we happen to see each other and I feel so much better.


      • Hi Cece,

        Reasoning with them is difficult. I don’t think I have ever had a rational conversation with one. I have had to learn boundary setting and it is a struggle having not grown up understanding the concept.

        I have never thought of it like that – disengagement. I think when dealing with and forced to deal with that disengagement can mean limiting your interactions and not putting the energy there. That is an interesting way of looking at it. Maybe, spotting one before fully engaging can save the time in the long run.

        Thanks for your comment! xxoo T Reddy

        P.S. My apologies for my late response; I was traveling.


  4. Trying to minimize the negative mental energy that comes from dealing with a N. I am that “too nice” type…but purposely treating someone with less respect than I would treat a stranger is too much negativity for me. Made me feel like my N was still pulling the control strings. So…I started treating the N as I would any stranger….being polite…..saying excuse me if we got in the way of each other but nothing more than that. Threw the N way off! Then, she started trying to “out nice” me..looking for reasons to walk in my pathway and then saying excuse me – always for an audience – .but I was no longer playing the game…she is in a war by herself. She always spoke to me if she had a “management” audience, but ignored me otherwise. I ignore her in an audience, but speak to her when she is alone. Totally throws her off! I live with the other N in my life…and ignoring her manipulative behaviors has worked to some extent. She is angry, but can’t really direct it at me….nothing concrete to be angry about.


  5. Hello I just read your message and I guess I am going to change my approach to my narc. I thought this was the best way. Know I see that she is getting “using me” again. Do you have any ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Judy, It sucks to have to deal with an narc. I still have to deal with them from time to time as they are in family of origin and my in-laws. I guess I would recommend looking at the other blogs I have read, they are listed when you go to my home page on the right sidebar under Blogroll; they have great ideas especially if the narc behaves similar to one of the bloggers write about. For me, since my role is the scapegoat, I try not to put energy there and I use a few techniques (verbal abuse post:

      This technique may or may not work depending on the certain nuisances of the narc you are dealing with. I try to conserve my energy with ‘fighting’ (JADEing – justify, argue, defend, explain myself to them) and fight the battles that are important to me in a healthy way while still conserving my energy. I also do a lot of work internally to break away from what they think about me. They will always see me as the scapegoat so I am almost free of that, I don’t care about how they see me and I live how I want to. This was a lot of internal work that has taken years and I still work on it (better now) but I still have to remember an important phrase taught to me in the blogosphere by other bloggers “Think what you like”. This is probably the biggest part that helps me deal with narcs when I have to.
      I hope this helps. Good luck and I hope you look at the other blogs on the Blogroll for specific information on tactics.



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