Why You Need To Keep Your Enemies Closer Than Your Friends

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So I was sitting reading a very interesting chapter in the book “48 Laws of Power,” by Robert Greene, and it sparked an idea for a blog post. I never actually got this line, of keeping enemies closer when said in the past, but Greene makes some seriously valid points.

One idea which it sparked is, how often do you ask a close friend, or partner how you’re looking? The million dollar question right, and more often than not out of love, out of not wanting to hurt your feelings you are told, “Wonderful,” “beautiful,” “gorgeous!” “Fantastic.”  How often however do you hear the truth? (Not to say you are not looking mind-blowing 24/7)! This isn’t just about appearances, although the more obvious example, but could be about your performance, a skill, abilities to do your job even, as well as other things. While yes, us humans will always want and look for validation, it does strike me whether we are looking for it from the right people. This made me question our desires and passions. Our desire for the dream job doesn’t come from friends or family, it comes from us. Something much more internal. A dream, a goal, a wish, all of which are more often than not ours, not somebody else’s. Why then do we seek validation from others? And secondly if we do, are we looking in the right places?

Do we trust our friends? Would they tell us when we have cream on our lips, or let us walk around looking ridiculous? If a piece of chewing gum is stuck on your behind, it might be that a stranger ends up pointing it out, much, much faster than the person you may be with at the time. I am not saying strangers are enemies, but what I am saying is even though we ask for truth, we may not want to hear the truth. In turn this has created a domino effect of white lies. I am also not saying we should go out and hurt people’s feelings. I definitely agree life demands you to be somewhat diplomatic, for things to often work in your favour. However it would be nice to hear the truth, or a contrast view as opposed to agreement, seeming like protocol most if not all the time. (Unless it’s from a boss of course  ☺)

How many of you have had good news, shared it with a friend and got a fake excitement reaction back? Why is it harder for people closer to you to be happy for your success then a stranger? While an enemy may be jealous, it may make them strive to get competitive, and actually inspire to do better. Having an enemy may inspire you to be on your toes. Not to generalize all friends have a hard time celebrating your success, there are indeed the gems in all of our lives who support and celebrate us. On the other hand, there is definitely a whole bunch of people disguising themselves as friends, who do not wish the best for us… beware.

Going back to the “truth” then. I feel when you really want to hear something real and/or constructive, you are more likely to get it from an enemy, (or competitor, whichever word you prefer to use) rather than someone close to you. The white lies don’t always help you get better. It may make us feel good, but the truth is once more concealed. At the end of the day we have to accept we cannot always benefit from miss- information. Take the example of businesses. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, all competitive in the social media space. Yes there has been stealing of ideas between them, in the race for the better application, however as competitors how much do you think they have learnt from each other? …Tons! An enemy sets the bar high, and in striving to compete you more often than not get better.

We love our friends because we have something in common, we share good chemistry, we are on the same page, they are there for us etc. There are so many reasons to love the people we love in our lives, and they give us the feeling of belonging, of fitting into a group, of company and companionship. In an enemy we get none of these things, and therefore perhaps this is exactly why it is good to have a few ;) What do you think?