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Dealing with PTA Frenemies

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How to handle those women you love to hate.

It's back to school time, which means you have to deal with all the moms at school once again. Chances are, some of these women are your friends ... but some are also your frenemies. You know, women who pretend to be your friend on the surface, but are really anything but. Andrea Lavinthal, co-author of Friend or Frenemy, tells us how to spot and deal with a frenemy.

Five signs that your friend is actually a frenemy, according to Lavinthal:

• After spending time with her, you feel emotionally drained and exhausted.
• When you make plans with her, you hope that she cancels.
• When you call her, you feel relieved when you get her voicemail.
• You tend to communicate with her over email in an effort to avoid face-to-face conversations.
• She brings out the worst in you, often making you feel competitive and bitter.

Avoiding a frenemy who lives outside your zip code is easier -- but how to do you deal with those frenemy PTA moms at your kids' school you are forced to see frequently? Lavinthal gives moms the following pointers:

1. Treat her like a co-worker. The bad news about frenemy PTA moms is that you often have to interact with them in some way, on a semi-regular basis. It's unavoidable. Treat a frenemy mom like you would a co-worker: Be professional and keep your distance, but try to be polite.

2. Avoid sharing too much personal information. Just because she's the queen of TMI when it comes to what's going on in her house doesn't mean you have to return the favor. (After all, most of what you tell her will be spread around school or held against you later -- so who needs it?)

3. Choose your battles carefully. Let her undermining ways, annoying comments, or incessant questions slide as much as possible, especially if you don't have to see her everyday. That said, if she causes a huge problem or tries to directly sabotage you, then go ahead and confront her directly.

4. Resist the urge to trash-talk her. It's tempting to indulge in a gabfest with other moms about your frenemy, but you should keep your negative feelings about her to yourself. Just like high school (or middle and elementary school for that matter), it's likely that whatever you say will get back to her and just make the situation worse. Chances are, if this frenemy is that obnoxious or difficult to deal with, you're not the only one who has noticed.

How do you deal with your frenemies?

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7 comments so far | Post a comment now
DeniseTN July 27, 2008, 7:39 PM

I try to avoid them entirely. When my twins started Kindergarten, I tried very hard to be actively involved in the PTA. Every idea I had was shot down in not-so nice ways. I just walked away from it and stay involved in the kids’ classroom activities to save my sanity.

Anonymous July 28, 2008, 11:40 AM

I remember the PTA president (from DD’s grade school) walked around the school with a clipboard and acted like she owned the place.

teresa April 8, 2009, 10:49 PM

you copied this wording off a forum under type in google frenimies PTA and you will see the same one. WoW!! so sad

Anonymous April 25, 2009, 12:03 PM


the article on has the momlogic logo. Indicating to me that the used the article from momlogic (with permission I’m sure).

Anonymous April 25, 2009, 12:05 PM

sorry…response was to Teresa not Denise.

Anonymous April 25, 2009, 12:06 PM

Sorry…response was to Teresa not Denise.

gems March 23, 2011, 12:33 PM

I have seen this at my children’s school. Some of the PTA ladies just want to play martyr, they don’t really want to let some into their clique or use their ideas or help. They like being head chicken and complaining or being nasty behind their backs. Its really sad. Anyway they will just ignore you or slowly push you out anyway. I don’t do PTA, just class parties and I will send in money for fundraisers.

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