I opened the blog post on Rock n Roll Bride last week thinking, “What’s a Frienemy?” – and that pretty much sets out how naive some of you reading might think I am. A frienemy, it turns out, is a bit like a work acquaintance: someone you have to get along with even though you wouldn’t be friends if it wasn’t for work.
Like having a professional relationship with someone? No. Like pretending to be friends, when really you can’t stand each other.
Frienemies: a wedding industry issue?
It almost makes sense if you work in an office where everyone goes out for drinks together or to regular office parties. But in the wedding industry? Why is having frienemies a big issue for us?
Perhaps it’s the lovey-dovey nature of the business. Perhaps it’s because there are some very smarmy, old-fashioned wedding business owners out there who feel they have to pretend to be fascinated by their competitors’ new ideas. Perhaps there are so many sole traders out there we cling together for support more than other industries do, but it doesn’t work out. Or perhaps it’s none of the above.
The UK wedding industry – honestly, it’s not like that!
I’ve met many honest, genuine and moral people in this industry. I haven’t made frienemies. I’ve made some good friends. I’ve made acquaintances who, if we had more time, could become my friends. I’ve also spoken to people I don’t like very much, but I’ve never pretended to be their friend.
In my wedding business and blogging world, there are no frienemies. There are friends, there are people I like who I’d welcome as friends, and there are professional relationships. That’s it.
Frienemies: a new word for an outdated concept
Wedding blogs’ prevalence and the growth of social media will make frienemies a thing of the past. As Think Splendid‘s Liene says, “the markets with the least creative ideas, the least innovation, who are the last to participate in social media for fear that the world will steal their ideas… are frienemy markets”
How not to have Frienemies
It’s dead simple: be professional. Recognise a business relationship for what it is. Don’t fake anything more. If you’re faced with mingling with people you don’t like at wedding events, just avoid them and stick close to the ones you like. Your business isn’t worth the stress of a fake relationship with anyone you secretly despise.
It doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly…
Nurture baby friendships. People you meet, chat to, like… it takes time to get to know someone properly and they could be great friends. There are people I’ve met online in this industry who I admire and respect – who I wish I could get to know better but workloads have got in the way.
And share: be honest and open.
Don’t be afraid of the competition. Nurture your wedding business, make sure your products and services are the very best they can be. Take care of your brides and grooms, give them a shopping experience they will enjoy and remember. Any rival business out there who wants to steal your ideas probably won’t last long anyway. So share your ideas, discuss your plans and most of all offer help and advice to new businesses. I do, I have and I always will. It’s nice to be nice.
But I’d never pretend to be friendly because I wanted something for my wedding business. I’d never fawn over a wedding magazine editor or suck up to someone influential with some ulterior motive in mind. This might have been how it worked in the wedding industry ten years ago but it isn’t any more.
And the moral of the story?
I’m not quite sure how to conclude this blog post. I don’t think I’m naive, but perhaps I am rude – if I don’t like someone, I won’t talk to them. And if that’s rude I don’t particularly care! There’s normally a very good reason why I don’t like people.
I don’t think there are many people with frienemies in this industry. I don’t believe the wedding industry is full of people cultivating dishonest relationships to further their careers. (that’s politics) – but I see enough professional courtesy between wedding suppliers to reassure me that frienemies aren’t taking over our world.
I haven’t met anyone who’s tried to be my frienemy since I got involved in the wedding industry eight years ago.
Perhaps I’m not going to the right parties…