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Etiquette Tips on Banqueting with Enemies...

Updated on June 1, 2012
Banquet seating
Banquet seating | Source

Ever heard the phrase,'keep your friends close and your enemies even closer.'

Actually when i think of this as strategy, it makes me think of Cleopatra's suicide. You know holding the asp to the breast. Yuck, what a horrible way to die.

But ever wonder what is worse, a bosom buddy that turns on you or an enemy from a far? Most people would be inclined to say that any close friend that becomes an enemy is harder to swallow than an enemy who has no intimate knowledge of you.

I tend to agree. But what happens when that enemy is someone in your own family. Someone who you have to see at family events, like weddings, graduations, family gatherings and reunions.

That is worse, right?

Not necessarily. Not if you have the right tips on how to handle those situations that are unavoidable!

Blended families tend to be the toughest to navigate these dilemmas but they occur in blood families as well for a variety of reasons that date back to envy and childhood jealousies. Pathetic right?

We can blame parents for this but more often than not it has to do with sibling rivalry, for whatever reason, children vie for the love and affection of their parents, and a position in the familial dynamics. This presents feelings of abandonment and insecurities, especially in blended families.

Parents are responsible to make every child feel valued for who they are, and letting them know how much they are loved.

Children of divorce already deal with self esteem issues and if one of their own parents aren't accessible to them that is even worse.

They are always trying to cope with the feelings of unfairness and defensiveness.

Banqueting with enemies is not exclusive though to families or blended families. Any organism that deals with day to day human interaction can breed a pit of snakes or the black crab syndrome according to my mother's philosophy, ( (that's Bahamian for rivalry, euphemism, if you ever saw live crabs in a cage you would normally see, some, usually the black ones pulling down others as they try to climb to the top of the cage)).

Controlling these highly volatile situations usually takes a very strong leader that does not play individuals against each other but harnesses their strengths and channels them for the best reason in the world.

Mutual success! Accomplishment and happiness!

But fair play is paramount! Honesty is a necessary tool and teaching is another. Whether you are relying on philosophical ideals or not, every individual needs to know what they are doing, because we are all from different backgrounds and have different experiences!

What i may consider a good way of treating someone may not necessarily be the same for another person. Which normally leads to miscommunication!

Knowing yourself makes all the decisions and actions you take a lot easier, if you know your own limitations and how much you can stand in a situation, you have won half the battle. Most of us know that we have in built reactions towards personalities we do not like, so no matter the circumstance they can get on our nerves.

When this happens you need to tell yourself to treat them kindly and then avoid them as much as possible, if you think interacting with them will cause problems. You know when you don't need to be in their company and compete with them.

Make up your mind before hand to treat them well and walk on the other side of the road - figuratively, so there is no reason for conflict and bad vibes.


  • Agree to play fair
  • Speak positively and include everybody
  • Encourage mutual respect
  • Have a common goal
  • Cast no blame
  • Generic dialog
  • Harness talent
  • Set the stage, seating
  • Encourage comradeship and fun
  • Agree to disagree for the sake of peace! Hold your dukes for another occasion.
  • Never say something behind their backs, that you won't say to their face, less fodder for bad behavior

Behavioral tips

  • smile
  • maintain eye contact
  • nod to acknowledge that you are listening
  • keep to neutral topics, like business, weather, movies, books etc
  • leave their company when you feel aggravated, best within ten (10) minutes
  • be courteous, let them speak without interruption

Last but not least, leave ill will and nasty comments for private sessions or not at all. Although easier said than done, lots of times bully's do need to be put in their place at some time but at a public gathering it is not acceptable and should be done privately!

Maturity does not come to everyone with age as expected. Lots of people also have trust issues, which lead to control issues and this all stems from issues in their own childhood. Small minded people tend never to get past similar issues.

They tend to be a little crazed about certain things and want to be recognized as the best usually craving the attention as adults that they did not receive as children.

In the meantime though they can cause a boat load of havoc and ill will.

These people are best avoided, but if necessary please stand up and fight, backing down only encourages the bad behavior. These individuals are normally bullies.

If you are having a sit down event it is better to place these individuals with their 'clique' or with strong personalities that are on par or higher. Because crazed people can tick off even the easiest of temperaments.

Your behavior and role

  • keep cool,
  • know your limitations
  • know your enemy,
  • be cordial and polite
  • listen don't react

On the job

  • document
  • ask for clarification
  • have boundaries
  • be encouraging
  • be professional

Always remember to listen to what someone says and not how they say it. This can keep you out of a lot of fights or disagreements.

It seems more and more that people have this feeling that they need to guard themselves. So defensiveness is a huge area that leads back to insecurities. Be careful!


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