Dry friction devices such as underplatform dampers are commonly included in turbine bladed disks designs to mitigate structural vibrations and avoid high cycle fatigue failures. The design of frictionally damped bladed disks requires adequate models to represent the friction contact. A widely used approach connects contact node pairs with normal and tangential springs and a Coulomb friction law. This simple model architecture is effective in capturing the softening behavior typically observed on frictionally damped structures subjected to increasing forcing levels. An unexpected hardening behavior was observed on the frequency response functions (FRFs) of a two-blades-plus-damper system tested by the authors in a controlled laboratory environment. The reason behind this unexpected behavior will be carefully analyzed and linked to the damper kinematics and to the dependence of contact elasticity on the contact pressure. The inadequacy of contact models with constant spring values will be discussed and alternatives will be proposed. The importance of being able to represent complex contact conditions in order to effectively predict the system dynamics is shown here using a laboratory demonstrator; however, its implications are relevant to any other case where large contact pressure variations are to be expected. The nonlinear steady-state simulations of the blades-plus-damper system will be carried out using an in-house code exploiting the multiharmonic balance method in combination with the alternating frequency time method.