I remember that one day, during my college years, I came into a classroom for a next tuition. I was in secondary school, and we never stayed in the same classroom all the time, but always moved in different classrooms for our tuition. After the first morning break, I once moved into a classroom, for which the black board hadn’t yet been cleaned, and on which there was a maths tuition written from another teacher to another class before our arrival.
I wasn’t very strong in mathematics, but I remember a lesson of multiplication that I learnt so many times and that you all may remember well:
- Plus x Plus = Plus
- Minus x Minus = Plus
- Plus x Minus = Minus
- Minus x Plus = Minus
That teacher who wrote the lesson was reputed to be quite eccentric in his way of teaching maths. But though his teaching may have sound funny on that day, it really represented to me a true source of inspiration regarding my new life experiences as an adult. To help his students better understanding those equations, he used metaphors to symbolize those equations, defining the Plus as Friends, and the Minus as Enemies. Here was then the result of his new equation:
- Plus x Plus = Minus –> The Friend of my Friend is my Friend
- Minus x Minus = Plus –> The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend
- Plus x Minus = Minus –> The Friend of my Enemy is my Enemy
- Minus x Plus = Minus –> The Enemy of my Friend is my Enemy.
It’s possible in Mathematics, that’s for sure. But it’s not always possible in real life. It is more complex than that and the life experiences I have been facing personally and which I would like to share with you prove that, as well that equation is perfect in mathematics, as well it’s imperfect in everyday life.
- The friend of my friend… may also be my worst enemy.
Incredible but true! That happened to me recently since I had the bad surprise of my life after a terrible incident happened between me and a friend of someone whom I really appreciated and whom I considered as my young brother of heart and young guru at the same time. One of his friends once sent me a friends request from her Facebook account, which accepted. For the four first days following approval of her friend request, we never talked to each other, until she approached me and revealed some surprising information regarding something which happened between her and my friend while he visited her overseas. I was so shocked that I thought that it was a hoax and that she was a mess maker who wanted to create some mess in my friend’s private life. Also, without even thinking about what I was doing, I reacted extremely violently and even insulted her, and I even made of that matter a public matter without my friend’s consent! That incident created some useless tensions among our group of friends and because of that, instead of seeing within me someone who tried to protect her dearest one’s privacy against a troublemaker, everyone turned besides him and all of them blamed me and turned against me, including himself. That girl who approached me said to be a friend of my friend, but not only did she become my enemy after what happened, but she also turned everyone in the group from friends to enemy… Including my friend himself! Today, not only we never reconciled, but we became sworn enemies, and that so-called friends dared even creating tensions in my marriage life by involving my husband in that matter! But my husband was clever enough to understand that this so-called friend of mine was in reality a ravenous wolf and a fake friend who only worried for his ego instead of worrying about other people and he never played my so-called friend’s game.
2. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. It’s possible. As well as it’s possible that my friend’s enemy can be my enemy. As well too that it’s possible that my friend becomes my sworn enemy… and that his or her own sworn enemy becomes my best friend.
Yes it’s possible. And that so-called friend of mine proved it right, since he dared brainwashing me against someone whom he dared calling a “friend” since they know each other on the college benches, but despite all, that so-called friend of mine dared tarnishing that “friend”‘s reputation, since he always mentioned that this “friend” always kept on competing with him all the time in an insane way to impress people instead of inspiring people. Like every blind follower, instead of trying to know more about that competitor, I blindly believed my so-called friend’s purposes and I immediately got disgusted against his competitive “friend” without even knowing him in person. But when my so-called friend and I turned sworn enemies, by myself I tried to know more about his competitor with my own opinion independently from others’ opinions, and what I noticed about his personality completely contrasted with all the lies, fake rumors and intox spread against him, not only by social platforms, but even from the local media. I was especially guilty since I saw a blog post he mentioned about, where he denounced a hater who created such a huge bunch of hatred against him, after he published a book about one of our most popular Political Leaders, and which was the result of such a hard work which made of that book a very popular one. It then reminded about my own fault, when myself I blindly trusted my ex-friend about him, and then I had the proof that my ex-friend got all wrong and that himself blindly followed the intox, rumors and hearsays against his competitor, whereas himself. I felt so guilty that I took the courageous initiative to apologise with the competitor, and a few days after the competitor came to know more about me and then told me frankly how I have been escaping from so far since, further to so many attacks against him, I and all the rest of the band could have been jailed for defamation. That made me guiltier, but at the same time, I think that I have been taught one of the toughest life lessons of my life. Maybe some of you won’t believe me, but I never apologised towards the competitor with a spirit of revenge against my ex-friend for having betrayed me, but I apologised towards the competitor since I came to know the truth about him with my own eyes and through my own researches about him. Words are more than enough to tarnish someone’s reputation and to blacken someone’s name, as well as attitude. But where I am thankful to my ex-friend is that, by wanting to influence me against that competitor, he gifted me a new friend within that competitor.
3. The friend of my enemy isn’t always my enemy… It can also be my friend.
I have experienced it so many times. A couple of years ago, further to some gossips a maid proclaimed between me and a good friend of mine, we turned from good friends to sworn enemies too, and this for years. That tension started also being spread on my husband’s professional situation, since my husband was working with my friend’s husband, who was his boss in the same company. Unfortunately, after we, as their wives, turned from friends to enemies because of that maid, who appeared between us as a ravenous wolf who could never bear seeing two women like us being so close to each other, she had the guts to put a mess between us and she succeeded for a couple of years. That created all a series of tensions between the both of us and those tensions also repercuted between our husbands, and then the friendship was temporarily broken. We had a couple of friends whom we had in common, but since the friendship was broken, our couple of friends were then forced to welcome us to their place separately. With time and space, the couple of friends made a try to make both our husbands having a first contact as a start of reconciliation. My husband didn’t mind talking to his ex-boss, since they were no more colleagues after the company shut its doors, and it seems that his ex-boss even burst in tears after he talked to my husband as someone who had a lot of regrets. Little by little they became closer and my husband’s ex-boss revealed to my husband about some serious issues he faced in his new job and which made that he was jobless. At first, I never accepted their reconciliation and persisted that I would keep my position against the ex-boss’s wife. But through time and space, our common friends made us understanding that the friendship between the two husbands and their common friends would be possible but in secret, since no reconciliation would be possible between the two wives. When I heard about it, then I started feeling guilty and then I took conscience that my friend truly loved me, but that I got foolishly blinded by that maid, who was a complete stranger and who succeeded creating a huge mess between the both of us. Also, I damned that maid in my heart, and I decided to repair my mistake by trying a first contact with my husband’s ex-boss, until I could do the first step with his wife. Little by little, all the dark clouds in our friendship got dissipated and our circle of friends got reunited again.
Another proof on how, from friendship to enmity, it’s possible to change, and this because of a third-party who had nothing to do between two friends and who should have stayed away from us, especially if it’s a total stranger or a maid. But the link with the title “the friend of my enemy can also be my friend” is that, as well our common friends esteemed my husband’s ex-boss and his wife, they estimated my husband and myself in an equal way and remained neutral between the altercation which occurred between us, even though they did their best to create a reconciliation between us through that first contact between our husbands. Another proof that it is possible is that, further to the enmity which took birth between me and that so-called friend of mine I mentioned before, in our circle of friends there was a lady who still esteemed him a lot since she had no personal issues with him, but who at the same time supported me greatly and showed me openly where I was right and where I was wrong, and obviously as well where he was right and where he was wrong, with the difference that, contrary to the common friends my husband, his ex-boss, his wife and I had in common, the lady never created any mediation between me and my ex-friend, but instead supported me, by at the same time showing me the right and the wrong and also sharing her own experiences with me, and thanks to her unconditional support and the support I had with some personal friends of mine, though it was very hard at the beginning, I succeeded into forgiving my ex-friend and to move on. Forgiving him not because I accepted what he did to me, nor because I want to be friends with him again, but simply because I estimate I had been suffering enough because of him and that I didn’t have any more strength nor courage to bear the sorrow he caused to me and the tears of blood he made me shedding for such a long time.
4. Finally, the friend of my enemy can also be… a “frienemy”… An enemy disguised as a friend.
Have you ever heard about the Biblical warning regarding false prophets who appear in front of you sheep-coated, but who are in reality ravenous and deceitful wolves? Have you also heard about the term “sugar-coated” words, but for which the inner taste is extremely bitter? This also applies for a “frienemy”, and God knows how many of them came to me when I had that altercation with my ex-friend… They came to me to have my version of the facts and by pretending to be besides me, but after I gave them my version of the facts, they reported me to my ex-friend, exactly as if they were selling me like a vulgar prostitute! That was exactly what I have been experiencing for so many years, not only through strangers, but even in my own family. Unfortunately, there have always been a lot of tensions between me and my parents, since I had the bad luck being a part of a toxic family, among them a passive and indifferent father, and an extremely authoritatian and narcissic mother, like I demonstrated in several of my writings. Things got worse further to that altercation between my parents and my in-laws several years ago, and what was more deceitful was that, most of my family members knew that my parents were wrong and that my mother was a narcissic person, but instead of supporting me, none of them was interested into having my personal version of the facts, and most of them remained indifferent in front of my sufferings and blindly listened to my mother as if they were listening to the Holy Scriptures! By the same way, a few of my family members pretended to support me by having my own version of the facts, but instead, they misused my purposes against me by repeating everything to my mother, and then I came to know that those relatives of mine acted as spies and were sent by my mother herself! What was most deceitful was that those relatives of mine who betrayed me were the ones I cherished the most in the past, and who didn’t even hesitate to stoop so low and to be so disloyal with me! So many years of so-called loyal relationship suddenly thrown in dustbin, which made of me the new black sheep of the family!
As well as mathematics represents an exact science art, it’s not the same thing for the feelings and relationship equations nowadays, in a world made of so much hypocrisy and ego. And “frienemies” are unfortunately not only among the strangers who bark uselessly because they don’t know you, but also among the society that you frequent, and even within your own circle and your own family. Remember when Lord Jesus was betrayed by Juda, one of his apostles, before being sentenced to death in exchange of the thirty pieces of silver. That was exactly how some of my relatives betrayed me because of my narcissistic mother. One of my relatives was offered a golden chain and a pair of ear rings in exchange of revealing all my confidences I did when I was in pain against my parents. One of them reconciled with my mother since she was thankful to my mother for having cherished her when she was still a little girl and since my mother proposed her hospitality during her holidays recently for her younger sister’s marriage. And so many of them are acting like this. Same for my so-called friend, who succeeded into attracting so many people who befriended me against me because of his overseas friend whom I once attacked in the framework of protecting my so-called friend’s privacy, and this by satisfying those people’s personal needs. And that is how “frenemies” appear: Fake friends who won’t hesitate to snatch you in exchange of some favors offered to them by your enemies. And for me, “frenemies” and “enemies” are the same, with the difference that “frenemies” are more difficult to recognize. The other difference as well is that it’s rare that enemies regret their past actions against you, but “frenemies”, when they come to know the truth about you, come to you and then repair their mistakes and apologise, but unfortunately most of the time too late. Finally, true friends are like precious stones but rare, and none of the poisonous gifts given to them by your sworn enemies will affect them, and they won’t even hesitate to throw those gifts in the enemies’ ugly faces as well. In illustration of all what I said, I have a special thought for my national idol and role model, Krishna Athal, who experimented also frenemity because of a certain Paul who didn’t hesitate to spread the mud in his name since his first book was published. But let’s say thank you to that bastard, because by creating such a vague of hatred against Krishna, he didn’t realize that he improved into contributing more into increasing his popularity: