When are frenemies and narcissists nice?

As a contrast to the last post about if you should be nice to a frenemy or narcissist, this post is about when are they nice?  Because they can be nice, they have their moments!

There are predictable moments when a female frenemy or narcissist will be nice to you.  I began to notice a pattern when dealing with the frenemies and narcissists in my life.

Frenemies or Narcissists have an ulterior motive for being nice; Nice is a means to an end!

The moment they are nice is the moment they need something from you. I was blind to their niceness because at first it was not recognizable that they were after something.  Marian wanted to use me and my car.  She wanted me to chauffeur her around and sometimes wanted me to be the designated driver for her.

The female narcissist, to my observations, is nice to you in terms of compliments.  There are the few moments when you hear a pure compliment instead of a back-handed one.

Pay attention, stay alert when you hear a pure compliment come your way…the favor they want from you is just around the corner.

Lydia just last week was being nice.  Lydia never responds to my emails unless I send 2 or 3 emails.  I stopped doing this when I realized she was a narcissist.  All of sudden last week I got an email entitled ‘Just Hi’.

Just Hi
How’s things in your city? Any plans for the long weekends? Would like to plan and come visit you guys some time soon. BBQ season is definitely here and we’re missing our drinking buddies! 
(see below for follow-up¹)

Here is the thing…when Lydia goes home to her parents she makes a ‘pit’ stop at our house and then continues the drive onwards to her home country.  In a previous post I mention that Lydia and her family come through and use our place as a hotel.  The email is NOT to say Hi and see how we’re doing.  It is to talk dates so she can plan her holiday and stay at my apartment on her journey…a free bed & breakfast!

Narcissists or frenemies are nice to you when:

1.  They want something from you.  They are using you to get what they need.  Whether it is a ride somewhere, borrow something, helping them move or babysit…they are nice to you at the moment of need.

2.  They are feeling grandiose.  When something really good happens to them…a promotion, their soccer team winning, buying a new car, came back from vacation…they are nice to you.  They are getting the attention from everyone and then some…they will be super sweet to you at this time.

3.  When they get a sense that their normal attention or niceties are being withheld from them.  When I started changing my behavior to Marian and Lydia (waiting for them to respond to an email instead of following up or not giving them attention over and over again) they started to be super nice to me.  It was disgusting…I wasn’t rude or didn’t do a 180 on them I just recognized that I was being overly attentive to them and that is not normal.  When I adjusted my behaviors they noticed and then the superficial compliments came my way.  Don’t worry, it won’t last for long.  They will then turn on you if you continue down this path.

It is unfortunate that a person you call a friend feels the need to treat you nicely only to get something from you.  If you are unsure about how genuine they are then you may be able to see patterns in their behaviors after they give you a compliment or offer you help that really isn’t help.

Taking a step back and just observing their behaviors and letting them be who they are will tell you instantly about who they are.  True friends will not be nice to you to get things or favors from you, they will just be nice by nature and expect nothing in return…just true friendship.


¹I responded to the questions however I decided to not take the ‘bait’ on getting together. Lydia later caught me on Live Chat on Facebook and then wanted to talk dates (on when she would be coming through).

10 thoughts on “When are frenemies and narcissists nice?

  1. Dealing with a female coworker narcissistic right now. I am trying to be strong and not let her voice and my inner voice influence my self-confidence (which it has in the past). We’ve worked together five years and after several bad bosses – we finally have a boss that is empowering and full of positive reinforcement. Her need for attention at the expense of others has gone into overdrive. Can she be nice at time – definitely. However, she seems hell-bent on responding to any compliment that comes my way with some passive aggressive joke. I seem to be the brunt of most her angst right now because we are considered the two contenders for promotion into management. She can be very charming and funny. She can be a lot of fun – but she will definitely go for the jugular on a dime. I was able to get close enough to her for a while to see how she works people. She has some fooled but on the outside there are those who aren’t fooled. We are in a group of six and I have NEVER brought my true feelings out to anyone else in the group. I think they see but just want to get along and get through the day themselves. What you described I see on a daily basis with this person. It messes with my mind sometimes and I think maybe there is still hope for her…but then she does something that supports that I do need to keep my wall up with her. The more I pull away – the more she pushes the boundary wanting to know WHY or making remarks about my not sharing anything with her anymore. I think I am doing the best I can right now by keeping the peace for myself politically at work. I have to be viewed as the credible/mature one. The new boss needs more time to make up his own mind. He’s already made some comments about her blaming me or making remarks about me as a joke so a little more may be enough. I know she gutted our old managers to him within the first few months…never a good thing in my mind. He states integrity means a lot to him…so I am hoping he will see that she does not have any. There is high potential I may supervise her in the next few years if things continue as they are. So — the saga will continue. Any suggestions welcomed.


    • Wow…reading this brought back my own struggles with a narcissistic coworker and we also had a string of horrible managers. It cannot be easy to go to work everyday.

      Having a good manager, which it seems like the new you have, is a big help in this matter. Because the essence of a good manager is to look to people who exhibit integrity because they show integrity in how they approach things.

      The suggestion I have for you is to continue to behave in your job with integrity and good character. This will shine through especially in contract to a frenemy at work. Continue to do the right thing at work, if this means sharing info she needs to do her job then share it. I think it shows you have a good character because you haven’t discussed her with other coworkers. Trust in others that they will see her bad behaviors, that will give you the confidence in yourself as well. Be how you would be under regular circumstances. This is how I would suggest to approach everyday…now, the big question is dealing with the mind games that come your way.

      Along with the above approach you can consider one aspect – You need to allows have proof. This means do not deal with her alone. If you have to share info with her to do her job share it over email where you have a digital record. If you bring an idea to the table make sure other colleagues are there to hear it and not just her. I would suggest always having another person in the room and never a one to one situation with her when dealing with work stuff. Save all your emails with her. This is sad but if she is good at mind games then this security will help you get through your days.

      When you end up supervising her, I would recommend documenting the good and bad of people who report to you. Not to do this to be mean but you are busier when supervising people and documentation helps create an objective image of the team. Just write down all – good accomplishments, good and bad behaviors.

      As for the personal attacks because you are both up for a promotion…this is a difficult path but I do think you have the confidence to get through this. You have thus far handled the situation well…5 years is a long time. Know that you have a good character and if others don’t see that know that the problem is with them. Her attacks are not personal, meaning if someone else was up for promotion she would be focused on them. But that is the distinguishing characteristic between you and her. She is focused on making her competition miserable so she gets the promotion while you are focused on doing a good job the right way! That is your confidence!

      Bear in mind these are only suggestions from past experience and may not be the best for you. You know what is best for you and listen to that. You are strong and I hope it works out at work whatever you decide. Take care.

      T Reddy


  2. “Character is how you treat someone who can do nothing for you.” Something to remember when developing or continuing relationships. And a measurement to decide if a relationship should be ended.


  3. Pingback: When Warmth becomes Wrath | In Bad Company


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