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 3 Thoughts

3 Thoughts

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

ward off

Meaning: to prevent something from harming you

Example: Our government has doubled the number of soldiers at the border to ward off illegal immigrants. Read on


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