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Witnessing Frenemies

by Tahir Rashid

We all know what frenemies are: people who are both friends and enemies with each other or people who were enemies and now are friends. We see this in a lot of places in reality: sports, business, even in our own relationships. I am here to tell you the (made-up) craziest story of frenemies and the role of time collapse in their friendship.

Let’s assume there are two best friends named Bob and Steve . They have been friends since they were in kindergarten. When they were in the 5th grade, they had a very strict math teacher. One day, Bob forgot his homework, and he knew that if he told his teacher he forgot his homework he would be in detention. So Steve gave Bob the answers to copy. Bob was in debt to Steve. Later on, in the 6th grade, they got into a huge fight. Bob and Steve argued until Bob remembered that he owed Steve. He suddenly stopped arguing and apologized to Steve. This is an example of what we call time collapse. The feeling of comfort when interacting with a group that you have positive experience with. But for Bob, it was only one other friend. He was more generous with Steve due to Steve’s generosity in the past.

Commentary by Bernice Arricale

In the middle of an argument, Bob suddenly recalls the time Steve helped him and his feelings abruptly change. As Faulkner said,“The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past”. So many of the conflicts in the world today have roots that reach way back and seem to be unending and yet, conflicts do end. We can breathe deeply and create an expansion, a space where new responses can take root. Do you think that creating some emotional distance from a chosen trauma can help fresh thoughts emerge? What might prevent that from happening?