Has the unsuspecting punch of betrayal by a frenemy ever landed on your heart? If it has, am sure you can relate to the excruciating pain of an open sore, laced with a ton of salt and wrapped in a bandage of treachery. Such a staggering and daunting experience! If you haven’t been a victim of betrayal, thank God and hopefully, it stays that way. Like many people, I have experienced it firsthand and was trapped in a bubble of shock for the longest.
It is one thing to pull through the pain of betrayal and another when you don’t get the chance to learn from it. This is the unfortunate case of the deeply disturbing account of 25-year-old Shanquella Robinson of Charlotte, North Carolina. Her life was snatched at her prime by her so-called friends. Her story has been in the news for some time now and generated a global outcry for justice.
Local media and her family members reported that on October 28th, 2022, Robinson and six of her friends went on a birthday trip to a luxurious resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Ironically, this holiday was allegedly paid for by Robinson. She was a successful entrepreneur and was known to demonstrate generosity to others.
The Mystery surrounding Shanquella’s Death
The next day after their arrival in Mexico, one of Robinson’s friends called her mother, Salamondra Robinson, saying her daughter was sick and showing signs of alcohol poisoning. A few hours later, the friend called back to inform her parents that Robinson had died from alcohol poisoning. Her friends returned home to North Carolina, leaving behind her body in Cabo San Lucas.
There was a lot of initial mystery surrounding Robinson’s death. Thank God for maternal instincts. Her mother and family suspected foul play. She told Queen City News: “Each one of the people that was there with her was telling different stories.” An autopsy report revealed Robinson’s death was far from alcohol poisoning. It was a sinister tale of horror and betrayal. According to WBTV, Robinson’s death certificate showed her neck was broken, she had a back spasm and her spinal cord was cracked. There was obviously more to this unbelievable story, especially since her friends had surreptitiously parked their conscience in a conspiratory code of silence.
A Video Surfaces
Whatever is done in the dark, has a way of coming to light. A few days later, a shocking video of a helpless Robinson attacked by one of her so-called friends surfaced. It showed her other friends watching the inconceivable assault, especially a male best friend of hers, who was filming the attack and whose voice can be heard telling Robinson: “Quella, can you at least fight back?” to which she replied “No.” Fortunately, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Mexican authorities got involved and opened an investigation.
I pause to reflect: How can so-called friends do this to another friend? Not just anybody but the person that paid for their trip to Mexico? How can they lie about what happened and continue living with a straight face? What kind of frenemies in sadistic friend clothing are these? Was this preplanned? Did envy and disdain play a role? I mean, what is this world turning into?
Robinson’s body was flown back to North Carolina where she was laid to rest on November 19th of this year, in the presence of her family members, friends, well-wishers, and sympathizers.
An Arrest Warrant Is Issued
Last week, Mexican prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for the crime of femicide against one of her friends (the aggressor). She will be extradited back to Mexico to answer some burning questions. A local police report logged calls for medical help by her friends after 2 pm on the day she died. They claimed she was sick from alcohol poisoning. The doctor that arrived on the scene suggested taking Robinson to a hospital but her friends refused and were resolute that she remain at the resort. Some reports allege Robinson was already dead prior to the doctor’s arrival. Her father, Bernard Robinson, told “CBS Mornings” without the disturbing video that emerged, he feared justice would not have been served. Shanquella was his only child.
I cannot begin describing the torrents of anger and flood of tears I have been drenched in since I first heard this perplexing story. Like many people, I wished it was a bad dream and Robinson didn’t end up dying. Alas, it is true and her beautiful soul is resting in perfect peace. I pray for strength and comfort for the Robinson family and their loved ones during this difficult time.
I have a ton of acquaintances but when it comes to those actually sailing with me in the inner chamber of my ship called “friendship”, they are very few. Experience programmed me this way. Friends are good but you have to choose them wisely to avoid your friendship crashing into a high sea of betrayal, irreconcilable differences, or tragedy.
Frenemies are on a mission fueled by jealousy, anger, or resentment to destroy. Like a snake camouflaging in the grass, they exercise patience and unexpectedly strike with a venom of betrayal. It doesn’t matter if the friend used to shed premium tears on their shoulder, has been a fantastic blessing to them, or appointed them as the sole custodian of their deepest secrets.
How Can We Protect Ourselves From Frenemies?
Prayerfully commit your friendship to the hands of the Lord and seek the wisdom to navigate it. Invite the presence of the Almighty into the friendship and lift any worries or doubt to Him in prayer. Take every step with a new friend slow and steady so you don’t end up ruing why you were unknowingly entertaining an adversary. It is imperative to: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5.
Apply the brakes of discernment at all times. By so doing, you will establish a foundation of trust on which you can genuinely build the friendship. Give an arms-length to circumstantial emotion – it is fleeting and deceptive. You don’t want to wonder if your friendship was a smokescreen accommodating a delusion of embarrassing sorts. Do it right from the get-go.
Do not be fooled by outside appearances – not all friendships that glitter is laced with gold. Some friends are so toxic, especially the ones that compete with you nonstop. I normally take an inventory of those around me by applying a formula using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to assess if an individual is positively adding and multiplying goodness in my life or negatively subtracting and dividing my time, energy, and resources. Take inventory today – “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” -1 John 4:1.
Drop opportunistic friends like hot potatoes. They eventually drain your finances and leave you mentally and emotionally exhausted. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” – Proverbs 27:6.
No man is an island. We all need someone to talk to – a friend and not a frenemy. The bottom line is true friendship can last for a lifetime when it is effectively nurtured by wisdom and knowledge from above.
May Oyairo is the Founder and Publisher of MannaXPRESS.