If you want to avoid making enemies, it's important to be careful about your friends





Most personal enemies start out as friends, or apparent friends.

When you treat someone as a friend, it makes you vulnerable, because:

  • People you’re close to know things about how your mind works that they can use to manipulate you
  • Friends count on each other to actively treat one another well. If you count on someone and they aren’t actually trustworthy, you get hurt
  • Friends give each other the benefit of the doubt. If you give someone the benefit of the doubt and they don’t actually mean well, this gives them a large opening to do you harm.

It also means they know private things about you that they can use against you if they decide to be your enemy, and that people who perceive them as close to you might trust their opinion.

Sometimes you shouldn’t give people a chance to get close to you. Sometimes it’s not a good idea to allow yourself to become vulnerable in that way.

Not everyone is a good friend.

I wish I had known this sooner.

a problem here is a manipulative person would continue to act well specifically to get closer to you even if it takes time and then snipes you when you let down your guard so even if you’re wary they’re probably gonna get you anyway :,)

i’m not sure what to do about that because at the same time you can’t be a mind reader and understand everyone’s motives, and then it’s not necessarily more healthy to constantly feel like everyone who tries to get close to you is out to get you either, and the only (non-viable imo) solution would be to keep everyone away???

Yes, sometimes it’s hard to see coming and I don’t want to blame victims. 

That said: one thing you can look at is how they talk about and treat other people. People who tear down everyone they talk about are likely to do it to you, too.

Also important: sometimes you give a friend the benefit of the doubt and, although they don’t have ill intentions, they repeatedly fuck up in ways that are actively harmful to you or other people. It doesn’t make you a bad friend or a bad person if you stop giving them the benefit of the doubt in situations where these fuck-ups tend to occur.

For example: yes, some friendships occasionally involve drunken shenanigans, or being there for someone and helping them clean up when they puke in the toilet after a night of too much alcohol. This doesn’t mean you have to have unlimited forebearance with a friend who gets completely out of control while drunk, refuses to listen to anyone who says “you’re going too far,” pukes on your sofa, doodles on your shoes with indelible marker while you’re not looking, and makes no attempt to regulate their drinking habits. It’s perfectly justified to avoid hanging out with that person when there’s alcohol involved, or to let them clean up their own puke and take responsibility for their own actions. It doesn’t make you “no fun” or a “bad friend.”

This too. Boundaries can make friendships possible. Being a friend doesn’t mean you have to let someone into every single part of your life.