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.

Share your opinions6 Opinions

Well it’s pretty obvious. If you can form an alliance of any sort with you enemies however obnoxious they may be, do everything possible to keep it. The alternative is war. Take the example of Russia.

‒ Philip J Lillies June 22, 2023

It is my designated time to take upon my duties to help others to think! I first had to journey my own soul! I’m in the right place and I’m greater knowing that someone relates to the understanding of friend / enemy and how to disperse yourself. I’m elated knowing the patience, betrayal, hindrance, forgiveness and all the endurances one may have encountered! Looking at it just from a positive perspective it’s like fresh fruit and a new start!

‒ Rie-Season April 2, 2022

I am speechless at the moment. I have been blindsided by those that were the closest to me and it had left me to be discombobulated and hanging on to a strand of my life. Some days I feel that it I’d better if I just died. But I think after that thought, of all that is incomplete. It is not my time yet. I must learn strategically how to maneuver through life and avoid other occurrences similar to this post occurrence. Who knows, the next occurrence very well could claim my life.

‒ Rontarian L Hooks March 3, 2022

Too bad each US President and his followers don’t read the Art of War by Chinese all around student of Life as I would like to call is what Sun Tzu was. Just might keep us from going to war or loosing anymore. I know it is taught in War Colleges around the world. General George S. Patton read Rommel’s book on Infantry Attacks. Gen. Patton learned to understand his enemy very well. And, there is George Santayana “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. which Churchill misquoted. Live and die with ignorance is not the way to go. Apply such things in your own personal life and you just might avoid a messy divorce!

‒ Jonathan November 26, 2021

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

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