keep your friends close and your enemies closer

keep your friends close and your enemies closer


  • to keep a keen eye on enemies beyond what one might have on their friends
  • to be vigilant about the actions taken by enemies
  • it’s not a good idea to bother your enemies, be friendly with them but stay alert
  • another meaning could be, don’t hurt for your enemies by speech or behaviour to keep them calm and harmless

Example Sentences

  1. As a politician you must keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
  2. The competition in the business world today is such that it is best to keep your friends close and your enemies closer
  3. She has asked you to keep your friends close and your enemies closer because she has some reason to suspect foul play. She has not given me any more information.
  4. I have, in my life, always kept my friends close and my enemies closer.
  5. To keep your friends close and your enemies closer is just good sense in competitive sports. You never know what is going on behind your back.


It is common practice for people to be aware of what their friends are up to but most people ignore what their enemies are doing. This phrase acts as an advice for people, especially who are in a competitive business to be mindful of their enemies to ensure that they are not doing anything untoward. This vigilance would help people overcome any strategy that might have been planned against them.

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K 4 Thoughts

4 Thoughts

History tells us that its best to keep your enemies close and your friends/family/political allies even closer. There are times when they are the ones who blindside you. You know who your enemies are. You don’t know the political allies/“friends” who have it out for you .ie Who killed Julius Caesar after all the great battles he won for Rome? Hundreds /thousands of other examples.

- Thomas September 26, 2021

Too bad it’s off-mark, significantly. What it means must be taken by who said it and when. Sun Tzu, a Chinese military advisor/strategist/general during the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, some historians believe the book was a composition written and edited over several hundred years by many authors. Sun Tzu advises that it is wise to keep your friends and enemies close because these are people it is important to know and understand. If you want to be victorious in battle you should know your enemy better than you know yourself so you can always be ahead of him and wise to what he may be planning.

- CHRIS BUSENKELL, BS History April 14, 2021

Thanks for this awesome detail… It helped me so much… And I have written in my notebook 😍

- Kiran February 15, 2019

I love it Adele. I’m not copying your name I’m Adela for real.

- Adela November 6, 2017

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Idiom of the Day

under the radar

Meaning: off the radar

Example: They managed to stay under the radar for years, after stealing all that money from their friends. Read on


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