Why You Should Be Best Friends With Your Enemies

I can hear you right now: “This is preposterous! They are called “enemies” for a reason! You have got to be kidding me!” Ok, you got me –I’m kidding. Go back to what you were doing. NOT. I do realize that the idea of becoming BFFs with your nemesis sounds ridiculous. And yet I insist that it is beneficial for both parties that you do so. Below is my subjective opinion based on the research that I did by not asking anyone but myself, so you know it’s true.

First of all, let’s figure out how and why the aforementioned archrival became the pain in your posterior. Not anyone can earn the title of “enemy” (you wouldn’t waste your breath on just any silly person you disagree on the favorite cupcake flavor, would you?). The individual you despise likely shares at least your level of intelligence or ambitions, and, under different circumstances, could be considered as one of your “circle.” With that established, the only unopened mystery box that remains is the reason you so wish they spontaneously combust. As you might expect, I have a theory here too. It is possible that your nemesis is a competitor in your chosen trade or industry, or maybe for a love interest. It is also entirely conceivable that the foe’s ideals, values, or beliefs are on the polar opposite of the spectrum from yours, especially when it comes to religion, politics, or ethics (do I dare talk about these?).

While I don’t doubt that the sheer thought of that individual (or individuals, bless your heart) makes you shudder, I urge you to put the emotions away for a minute and let me present my case for Admirable Person (you)-Deplorable Being (nemesis) friendship. Aside from “keeping your enemies closer,” the main reason you really should have a heart-to-heart with your foe is to make you smarter. Don’t raise the eyebrow just yet – there is a reason that the above-mentioned individual is not your friend. We tend to gravitate toward people that are similar to us. Naturally, to me, I am the most interesting and worthy person in the world, so I will surround myself with people that closely resemble me – in background, religion, tastes, or political position. Your nemesis’ views or principles are likely to be outside of your comfort zone, and that should be motivation enough for you to get closer. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t get on the soapbox to encourage you to convert your enemies. On the contrary, I want you to learn as much about their value system as possible. Are they a competitor in your industry/for a love interest? Find out what it is they are doing differently and better than you that helps pave their way to the top of the corporate ladder/love interest’s bedroom. Are they a workaholic? More detail-oriented?More personable or passionate than you are? Once you’ve identified their winning qualities, emulate. Use this opportunity to improve your own skills, which, combined with your existing virtues, will help turn you into a Superprofessional/Supercatch. Step two: dominate.

Let’s look at a different scenario: your foe’s beliefs or views radically diverge from yours and you just cannot stand his/her Libera-democra-publicanMusli-chris-buddistCarnivo-vegan behind. Fantastic! Befriend them immediately and figure out why they stick to their guns. That is, what makes the aforementioned “guns” so “sticky?” Is it the all-encompassing forgiveness of their religious beliefs? The benefits of the preferred taxation system?The health impact of their dietary preferences? At the very least, you will learn something about them. At the most, you will learn something about yourself. In either case, you win. You go into the conversation as a person armed with a set of ideas – not a bad start compared to not having a clue, for example – yet you come out as someone who possesses a much broader knowledge, slightly improved or confirmed-again beliefs, and one fewer enemy. Why am I so sure your rival will lose his/her status after your verbal skirmish? Theoretically, they are as intelligent and reasonable as you are. They might not be able to convert you, but they would certainly present logical support for their views (and you cannot help but respect a clever fella). In the case they aren’t, well, then you really ought to demote them from the position of nemesis to a minor annoyance and find yourself a worthy opponent. Then repeat the process.

And don’t forget step two: dominate.

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