How To Deal With Frenemies — The Snake, The Backstabber And The E.L.F.

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Are there people in your life who are difficult to deal with? Perhaps some of these people are even friends who’ve turned out to be backstabbers—or as some people like to call them, frenemies. I bet when you read the question, you had a least one person come to mind, if not six or seven!

Many people struggle with how to deal with frenemies and other types of difficult people. Unfortunately, there are some people who enjoy making the lives of others a little less pleasant.

Bizarre as it may sound, it is fun for them to create as much destruction in others’ lives as they can. Those close to them struggling with dealing with a toxic friend, while those who have the misfortune of entering into relationships with them will find themselves struggling with a toxic relationship.

Many times, these people can be found in positions of power, such as in government, education, and other positions of authority.

Three examples of these challenging personalities that we have probably all encountered from time-to-time are what I refer to as Rattlesnakes, ELFs and the Two-Faced / Backstabber. Learning more about these challenging personalities will make it easier for you to know how to deal with frenemies who may be making your life difficult.

1. The Rattlesnake

A rattlesnake is somebody who will bite you if you give them the chance. They silently lie in wait and if you get too close, BAM! They strike, injecting as much misery as possible. A rattlesnake is actually proud of its potentially lethal ferocity and rattle. Being confused with a garter snake is highly insulting, from the rattlesnake’s point of view.

Mean Girls GIF - Frenemies

A classic E.L.F.

2. The E.L.F.

An ELF is an acronym for Evil Little F**k. Elves have the same malicious intent as Rattlesnakes. The difference between them, however, is that Rattlesnakes will only bite you if you get within 8 ft. of them, whereas elves are so committed to their nefarious intent that they will seek you out to see what damage they can create in your life.

How to deal with a Snake or ELF?

The Rattlesnake and the Elf can be dealt with in much the same way. The main thing that will change your interaction with these characters is acknowledging what is. So many people want to believe in the goodness of man. This stops you from perceiving what is actually true. When you are dealing with a Rattlesnake or an ELF, acknowledge it. You don’t have to say it out loud to them. Simply learning how to change your mindset will enable you to see and acknowledge these people for who they are. This changes the energy of your interactions with them and it allows them to actually change, rather than being locked into having to prove just how nasty they can be, at your expense.

Here’s a classic example:

One woman who was involved in a lengthy dispute with her local city council found things went much better when she recognized what roles the various officials she was dealing with were playing.  The head of planning in her city was a Rattlesnake—she only struck when disturbed.  The planner in charge of her case was an ELF—she went out of her way to find additional ways to make the property owner’s life miserable.  She found these people frustrating and mystifying to deal with until she identified their true personalities and intentions.

Mean Girls GIF - you can't sit with us


3. The Backstabber

Two-faced people are always trying to prove that they are right. Whatever it takes. One way or another. They find a way to prove how right they are and how wrong you are. When you are dealing with someone who has all the answers and is always right, don’t fight them. Fighting them will not get you anywhere. It will only cause them to defend their point of view even harder.

The way to get around this is to say “I see what you’re talking about, and how about this?” Ask a question. Most people don’t ask questions when dealing with someone who is always right. They fight back. They attack. This causes the other person to defend their point of view even more.


The reality is, difficult people don’t have to be difficult anymore! At least not for you. Whatever situation you encounter, acknowledge what is, don’t fight back and ask, “What else is possible here and what could I do differently to change all of this with ease?’ Dealing with challenging personalities is an everyday occurrence, but it becomes easier to do once you know what to look out for. Once you’ve mastered that skill, it becomes easier than ever to know how to deal with frenemies or bad coworkers, as well as how to identify the signs of a bad relationship.

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Looking for more insightful advice? View more posts by Gary Douglas, visit the Access Consciousness site, check out Gary’s personal blog and view upcoming classes at, or visit the social media links in his bio!

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Gary Douglas is a gentleman who exudes the elegance of living in everything he does. A best-selling author and sought-after international speaker, he inspires people to see different possibilities. He founded Access Consciousness®, a personal development organization offered in 173 countries, helping to facilitate change in people’s lives. Gary is regularly featured in international media and as a thought leader.

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