I looked at my co-worker, on the opposite side of a half-wall. He looked at me. I said, in jest, "This is not a wall representing our friendship a wall representing our ______."

We laughed, knowing that the wall was used to describe or relationship in the same way a half-cup of water in a 1-cup glass is used to describe someone's outlook on life.

What would I use to fill in that blank, which best works as an antonym to friendship?

  • What do you mean by "antonym" here? So the relationship is not a friendship; but can you describe in other words what it is?
    – herisson
    Nov 5, 2015 at 21:19
  • @sumelic by "antonym", I mean something that I can use to contrast the word "friendship", where if friendship were x units from a central, neutral line, the other word will be x units on the other side.
    – Ky -
    Nov 5, 2015 at 21:24
  • 1
    @Supuhstar: Does such a line exist? Not all words for relationships have a single polar opposite. For example, I don't know what the opposite to marriage is. I'm worried that different people will have different opinions about what the opposite to "friendship" is; these opinions are probably more based in philosophy than in linguistic knowledge. That's why it would be good if you described the state in more detail, the way you imagine it, so we know what specific type of relationship you'd like to describe.
    – herisson
    Nov 5, 2015 at 22:25
  • "Best antonym" is undefined.
    – Drew
    Nov 5, 2015 at 22:45
  • @AndrewLeach I believe this is a lot more clear to what is being asked. I believe that it should be taken off hold
    – anonymous
    Nov 5, 2015 at 23:35

4 Answers 4


This is not a friendship; this is an enmity.

: a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism Random House


Depending on severity/context you could use the word:


: competition for the same objective or for superiority

Typically you cooperate with your friends and compete against your rivals. It also works well with your given statement:

This is not a friendship; this is a rivalry.

I also think this term fits your updated phrase and situation quite well considering coworkers can be in competition for a promotion.

This is not a wall representing our friendship [it is] a wall representing our rivalry.



  • a feeling of hostility or ill will, as between enemies; antagonism

  • a feeling or state of hatred or animosity:

The Free Dictionary


false friendship

"This is not a friendship; this is a false friendship." False friends are friends when things are going well for you. They are friends when they want something from you -- time, energy, an ear to listen to their problems, help with homework, money. But when you need a friend, the false friend is not there, and always has an excuse as to why it's a bad time, or what you want can't be done, or why he doesn't want to get in the middle of whatever problem you are having.

There isn't necessarily malice in a false friend, like there is in an enemy, but the false friend just can't be bothered. It is not clear from the context whether the OP means enmity or false friendship.

With an enemy, you know what you are to him. It can take quite a while before you understand what you are to a false friend.

I found only low-grade references for this term. But see Fake Friend/Real Friend Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-pragmatic-aspie/201109/fake-friend-real-friend

  • 1
    You could also replace "false" with other negative adjectives if you want to describe the reason why this isn't a good friendship. For example you could say "parasitic friendship/relationship"
    – Erik
    Nov 5, 2015 at 23:13

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.