Why you should never trust friends and learn how to use enemies

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Be careful with friends, they can betray you quickly because of envy. But if you hire a former enemy, he will be more loyal than a friend because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them. 

The problem is that you often don’t know your friends as well as you imagine. Friends agree on things to avoid an argument. They cover up their unpleasant qualities to not offend each other. They laugh extra hard at each other’s jokes. Since honesty rarely strengthens friendship, you may never know how a friend truly feels. Friends will say they love your poetry, listen to your music, and admire you. They might mean those things but often they don’t. 

Therefore, when you work with your friends you will gradually start discovering their hidden qualities that may be unpleasant. Additionally, favors could become oppressive because you may not be able to work well with them since you are friends. This especially applies to business where sometimes you need to fire people and demand things from them. The friendship will constraint your authority.  

Your enemies on the other hand are an untapped gold mine that you must learn to utilize. When Napoleon’s foreign minister decided Napoleon was taking the country in the wrong direction. He knew it was time to turn against him. However, he understood the dangers of working against the emperor, he needed a partner. So, he chose the head of secret police, his most hated enemy, a man who had tried to get him assassinated.

He knew that The Head of Secret Police would not expect anything from him, and in fact, would work to prove he is worthy of his choice. A person who has something to prove will move mountains for you. Finally, he knew the relationship with the HOS would be based on self-interest and would not entail personal feelings. 

Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies. 

Book: The 48 laws of power by Robert Greene 

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