“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.”

Jesus said :Love your enemies and pray for them who persecute you.

Why is there such a need of keeping your “enemies” in proximity even though by default, GOD has always made you a way that you have a “friend” who by default is always there with you-Like ALWAYS. Let’s find out.

I am sure most must have heard about the story from Ramayana, Ravan’s own brother(Vibhishana) went against him and joined the Rama group. Wasn’t there any opposition while he came to seek help and GIVE help instead? Lakshman(Rama’s brother) was reluctant for this. But Rama knew it was better to keep an enemy closer to him, not neglecting his friends. Result? We all know who died after “WHO’s” help. So, I feel the quote seems justified, ain’t it? Lets’s find out something else.



There are loads of companies coming forward every day,from small to big. I personally would always foster people to get to know their antagonists, but I find really strange when people don’t want to do this. You obviously don’t need to divulge estimated earnings, turn overs and the calculated risks that you are incorporating in these brief outings, but it’s always good to get the lowdown on what’s happening in your particular industry. And who better to get this from than from a like-minded business? Who knows, a casual conversation with the competition might help both of you learn something that benefits your respective businesses, and the industry in which you both work. So, the point, aren’t those people your “counterparts” of a healthy competition, who by popular saying are always regarded as being “enemies”, the same enemy you turned “frenemy” (mix of friend and enemy) while you were on a casual brief outing.


Let’s take another example. Rohit always came first in his school. Abhishek came from a different school during the half yearly exams and outperformed him. Rohit came second this time. He obviously hated this fact. But what was he hating more? He was hating the fact that someone was BETTER than him. Though not an enemy, he had inbuilt this whole scenario where he was the king of this kingdom(school in this case) and Abhishek had come out of nowhere, not only increasing competition but also a threat to his kingship now.

Apparently, they are good friends after 10 years of passing out from that school. Reason? This “enemity” that Rohit had incorporated, he actually took it in a healthy manner, tried to make improvements by learning from Abhishek. He learnt how to better himself. The result, it became like a to-and-fro motion. Both of them outperformed each other at some point of time.


Our PM recently visited Pakistan. Experts say that it was preplanned, but there is a buzz that this dynamic plan change was in fact
incorporated by the PM himself? It is like a “strategic diplomatic policy” where India is trying to keep an upper hand over relations. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Who knows may our new foreign policy might be to increase friendly relation despite turmoil’s on border, so as to compel them to think about their military support to the terrorist organization.

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Similarily, India-China relation nowadays is more like a love-hate relationship. China is know for anti-dumping duties levied on Indian imports, but as a matter of fact, regional cooperation is imperative for both India and China to counter the rising powers within the subcontinent. So, despite the sour relations mainly rooted from the border issues, Tibet issue and China occupied Kashmir, we go hand-in-hand with the Chinese and come up with RCEP, AIIB etc. to show our support for this integration.


So what is my point here? To illustrate it further :

You can come with lots of learning’s from the people you hate. Rohit was like THE SMART GUY in his school, until an inhibitor came to inhibit his kingdom .If he had followed the strategies which he had followed till now, he wouldn’t come first the next time. He obviously learnt a lot from his foe-turned-friend- a “frenemy”.

You have to keep your enemies close to understand their perspective and interests. Often it’s from opponents, adversaries or fence-sitters. They bring a different worldview, perspective and/or ideas on a subject of common interest. There are plenty of times when such a person can help challenge and inform your thinking and position on an issue.

You might benefit to a point where you have a chance to outwit your competition. Rama, no doubt, utilized this opputunity to win over Ravana. Had it been not for Vibhishana to come and join Rama’s army, may be Ramayan’s ending would have been something different.

I encountered my first enemies while I was in high school. I hated them for sure. Seeing as I was young and this was my first time
being bullied, I went home and cried myself to sleep almost every night. The insults hurt like hell and I didn’t know what to do with them.

Sometime later, I joined college. I was the mock to a lot of butt jokes cracked on me, specially for my height and for the clothes I wore. I cried, obviously. But was it the only solution that I had? I mean, was crying the only solution to people calling me stuff, making a fool of my shaggy clothes in public and insulting me whenever they had time?

But, luckily for me, I’d been bullied enough, and at this point, I knew better than to cry about it. Instead of internalizing public hatred and making myself miserable, I brushed it off like a pro. I made myself comfortable with things. See the connection how learning from the deeds of an “enemy” can have?


Apparently,people may find this a philosophical quote having little meaning, but I realized it had a Buddhist saying in this – Karma, let it decide who excels in life. At the end, it is just you and your life. People tend to pull you down by saying things to you, you need to listen to them and keep moving forward. Karma is truly-reliable; it will pay-off for sure. It will make you stronger each day, till a time you can fight through your deeds and not merely by the words.

But instead of relying wholly on this saying, in a literal sense, you need to keep away from an enemy.
For example : You are a girl and there is a guy who has been flirting around calling you names and disturbing you since time being. Of course that doesn’t mean you need to make friendship with him and go on a date on Valentines! It means it’s time either you complain it to the police, or tell this to your parents. Friendship with enemies like those would be certainly illogical.


Taking another example, you have a project at college. You have this opportunity of getting patents for the same. Your 4-years prior enemy comes, and tells you to help him in his project. While you are out, his friends (who in some cases are more your enemies too) ruined your project while you were out to help the enemy. I reckon it’s better to be reluctant helping individuals who
are jealous of you. A healthy competitor needs to be understood prior to making “frenemy”, and not just anybody. This means that analytical skills, logic, and a rational way of judging people’s nature needs to be with all the experience.


“Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” means to keep them close, as silent nudge, so you can look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Today, I am impregnable.” There will always be people who will try to stunt your growth, or restrain your progress. You mustn’t allow them to succeed, instead, you would allow yourself to rise above the hate.You need to act like a pro in such situations. In some cases even you will have to keep them quite close to you so you will know their next move, the same way Rohit did in school, the same way Rama did in Ramayana, the same way the business men do to learn from bigger players.

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