Be wary of friends, they will betray you more quickly than your enemies, for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and 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.
WORK WITH YOUR ENEMIES
It is natural to want to employ your friends when you find yourself in times of need. The world is a harsh place, and your friends soften the harshness. Besides, you know them. Why depend on a stranger when you have a friend at hand?
The problem is that you often do not know your friends as well as you imagine. Friends often agree on things in order to avoid an argument. They cover up their unpleasant qualities so as 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 that they love your poetry, adore your music, envy your taste in clothe, maybe they mean it, often they do not.
When you decide to hire a friend, you gradually discover the qualities he or she has kept hidden. Strangely enough, it is your act of kindness that unbalances everything. People want to feel they deserve their good for tune. The receipt of a favor can become oppressive: It means you have been chosen because you are a friend, not necessarily because you are de serving. There is almost a touch of condescension in the act of hiring friends that secretly afflicts them. The injury will come out slowly: A little more honesty, flashes of resentment and envy here and there, and before you know it your friendship fades. The more favors and gifts you supply to revive the friendship, the less gratitude you receive.
The problem with using or hiring friends is that it will inevitably limit your power. The friend is rarely the one who is most able to help you; and in the end, skill and competence are far more important than friendly feelings. All working situations require a kind of distance between people. You are trying to work, not make friends; friendliness only obscures that fact. The key to real power and collaboration is the ability to judge who is best able to further your interests in all situations. Keep friends for friendship but work with the skilled and competent.
Your enemies, on the other hand, are an untapped gold mine that you must learn to exploit. A person who has something to prove will move mountains for you. You destroy an enemy when you make a friend of him. Make it a pol icy of working with those who disagreed with you. But do not forget, without enemies around us, we grow lazy; an enemy at our heels sharpens our wits, keeping us focused and alert. It is sometimes better, then, to use enemies as enemies rather than transforming them into friends or allies. Without a worthy opponent, a man or group cannot grow stronger.
Such a strategy of constant conflict has several key components. First, be certain that in the long run you will emerge victorious. Never pick a fight with someone you are not sure you can defeat. Second, if you have no apparent enemies, you must sometimes set up a convenient target, even turning a friend into an enemy. Third, use such enemies to define your cause more clearly to the public, even framing it as a struggle of good against evil. A sharply defined enemy is a far stronger argument for your side than all the words you could possibly put together.
Never let the presence of enemies upset or distress you-you are far better off with a declared opponent or two than not knowing where your real enemies lie. The man of power welcomes conflict, using enemies to enhance his reputation as a surefooted fighter who can be relied upon in times of uncertainty.
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE
Although it is generally best not to mix work with friendship, there are times when a friend can be used to greater effect than an enemy. There are occasions, for example, where dirty work has to be done, but for the sake of appearances it would be preferable to have other people do it for you; friends often do this the best, since their affection for you makes them willing to take chances. Also, if your plans go awry for some reason, you can use a friend as a convenient scapegoat. Of course, after you play that card, you have lost your friend forever. It is best, then, to reserve the scapegoat role for someone who is close to you but not too close.
Finally, the problem about working with friends is that it confuses the boundaries and distances that working requires. But if both partners in the arrangement understand the dangers involved, a friend often can be employed to great effect. You must never let your guard down in such a venture, however; always be on the lookout for any signs of emotional disturbance such as envy and ingratitude. Nothing is stable in the realm of power, and even the closest of friends can be transformed into the worst of enemies.
Michel Ouellette JMD, ll.l., ll.m.
J. Michael Dennis, ll.l., ll.m.
Business & Corporate Strategist
Systemic Strategic Planning
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