The Future of Mortal Enemies

I am aware that I posted about an issue raised by my TV BFFs, the How I Met Your Mother gang, just last week. I tried to avoid the show’s grip today, I really did. But I can’t stop thinking about the big question of last night’s episode, especially in the wake of yesterday’s post about mending a broken friendship.

The question of the evening was this: Can mortal enemies ever become friends?

I tend to think the answer to this question is no. I’ve heard stories of girls who hated each other in middle or high school eventually growing up and becoming pals, but it’s hard for me to believe that this could be a friendship in the truest sense. You know, the kind that involves trust.

Yesterday I asked if it was possible to win back a BFF after a friend breakup. A few people commented that they have reestablished friendships with those who once dumped them (or who they once dumped themselves) but in each case they said the friendship isn’t the same now. Once there is some level of betrayal, it’s hard to get back to a place of unconditional belief in one another.

My personal experience with mortal enemies is limited. The few I’ve had are usually of the frenemy variety—pretend to be nice to each other’s faces, not-so-secretly abhor each other when we turn our backs. Yes, I know that this is worse, more juvenile behavior than just shooting death rays out of my eyes at someone directly to her face, but what can I say. It’s the truth, and I don’t lie to you people. My enemies are of the passive aggressive nature. (For what it’s worth, these frenemy relationships were established when I was younger and dumber.)

Not surprisingly, none of those frenemies ever became friends.

I don’t mean to be cynical when I give the unequivocal no, but I just don’t think two people can go from hating each other to loving each other, despite all the romantic comedies to the contrary. If you are enemies, it’s probably for a reason, and it can be hard to forget all that baggage. You can put it aside or decide to move past it, but it will always be there, hiding beneath the surface like the stank of a gym shoe. You can dump a whole tub of odor eaters in there but it will only mask the smell. Once the stink creeps in, it’s permanent. (Not sure how this became a post about foot odor, but I did five loads of laundry yesterday. That must have something to do with it.)

So I say no, enemies cannot become friends. Final answer. Too much underlying animosity and history that could rear its ugly head at any moment.

But what do I know? Do you have stories to prove me wrong? Or right?


November 23, 2010 · 6:00 am

5 responses to “The Future of Mortal Enemies

  1. Jamie Collyer

    One of my closest friends now was once my Arch-Enemy. Tahnee and her husband lived next door to me and mine. Both of heard very nasty things about the other from another “friend” in the neighborhood, and all heck broke loose. We would go out of our way to snub the other person and avoid them (childish, I know). It wasn’t until my then-husband left me for Tahnee’s sister-in-law that we actually sat down and talked to each other. Turns out, the “friend” had made most of the nastiness up. We had spent months hating each other for no reason. A few months ago, I hired Tahnee to work in my office, and we are super close friends. We look back and laugh at all the drama that could have been avoided!!

  2. I’m not sure mortal enemies could ever be close friends. Maybe patch things up, but the same level of trust? Mmmmm, NO.

    That being said, I’m just curious what you think: are Betty and Veronica frenemies? Or mortal enemies-turned-best friends?

  3. Anonymous

    I didn’t think I had anything to add here, but then I remembered.

    There’s this girl that I’ve known since we were children. Back then, she was a complete brat who used her disability to gain sympathy from adults. She even went around panhandling at a conference we were at.

    We didn’t see each other for years, and the summer I was abroad I heard that she was volunteering at the camp for kids with disabilities that I had been to. I was surprised, and even more surprised when she won an award for her benevolence.

    Sure enough, when I returned the next year I found that she really was absolutely sweet and kind. The malice I felt towards her when we were younger was gone. Now, this shows her evolution, but also that relationships change.

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