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How to share a mutual friend with an enemy

Updated on December 16, 2010

There is an old saying: "The friend of my friend is my friend; the friend of my enemy is my enemy." But what if one of your friends is friends with someone you preceive to be "an enemy?"

Do you disown the friend? Or do you make peace with the enemy? Or can you maintain a position of complete neutrality on the issue of this uncomfortable alliance between a friend and someone who is not a friend?

I've found myself in an analogous position, when two friends of mine had a falling out, and one of them accused me of betrayal when I wanted to remain friends with both. It's not a good idea to require a choice, especially when the complete facts about the falling out are not well known.

The same thing happens in the relations between nations. Taiwan and China are not friends. Each has claims to being the true government of the Chinese people. Each, in theory, maintains that the other is illegitimate. In order to recognize the current government of mainland China, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan. But Taiwan is a friend of the United States, and China is a country that the United States wants as an ally.

Sometimes, the best policy is to wait and see. We can't dictate to others who their friends will be. But if there is a real reason for an enmity, then eventually the truth will emerge, and there will be realignments. There's always the possibility that the enmity you preceive is due to a misunderstanding, and, in that case, you might be the one to change your mind. But if your perception of the situation is more accurate than your friend's, your friend may decide to back you up in case of a war.

Despite the severed relations between Taiwan and the United States, China knows that if it attacks Taiwan, the United States will not stand by and let it happen.

Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Taiwan

Do you think that the United States should recognize the government of Taiwan?

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    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Ralwus, thanks for your comment. We can help the situation by keeping an open mind, but as you say, not everything is up to us and some things cannot be undone.

    • profile image

      ralwus 8 years ago

      Ah yes, I too have had these relationships. It is sometimes hard to overcome the desire to choose sides. I usually am able to be diplomatic and with patience help the situation. Sometimes I have succeeded in healing old wounds, but no always as some things just can never be undone. Very intuitive hub dear, and thought provoking as well. peace, CC

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Tinae1236, it sounds like you have found a good way to deal with a difficult situation.

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      tinae1236 9 years ago from dingmans ferry pa

      I had a similar thing happen to me just recently and the way I chose to deal with this is I am nice to the "enemy " as I can be to be good to the other friend and the reason we are "emenies " is only because he hurt me and won't apologize and until he does his new wife and I are friends and he has to deal with it. Like it or not.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Glassvisage, thanks for the comment. Hope this hub helped!

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

      Good Hub. It's never a good idea to make or present a choice. Nice example with the nations!