Keep your friends close and your frenemies closer

August 28, 2017, 5:00 PM GMT+0

54% of US adults have had a friend they didn’t actually like

Famous friendships on TV and in novels are often laced with drama, competition, and, occasionally, just downright repulsion. YouGov recently asked respondents whether they’d ever had their own “frenemy”—54% of US adults, either currently or in the past, have had a friend they didn’t actually like.

So, why keep someone around who's company you don’t fully enjoy? For 38% of Americans who’ve found themselves in this sort of quandary, the answer is that they don’t really have a choice in the matter (the person in question is a coworker or on the same sports team, etc). Similarly, 36% have had a frenemy in their friend group, so they were uncomfortable breaking it off for fear of creating an awkward situation.

Men who have had a frenemy are much more likely than women to say that they wanted to keep their friends close, but their enemies closer—31% to 17%, respectively.

Sometimes, though, friendships just become impossible to hold onto. In fact, 24% of US adults have had a conversation in which they’ve “broken up” with a friend.

And not all friends can be trusted: 20% of Americans have let slip a secret that was told to them in confidence by a friend. Similarly, 24% have made fun of or insulted a friend behind their back, 39% have lied to a friend in order to get out of plans, and 36% have purposefully ignored a text or social media message from a friend.

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