RelationshipsOnly two relationships are possible-to be a friend or to be an enemy. Assuming there can be no neutrality, is this statement true?

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booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I do not agree with the statement. If I work with someone that I see only once a week, she is an acquaintance, but not my friend. She is not my enemy. If I meet my brother's friend one time, we are not friends, but acquaintances. We are certainly not friends.

The statement reflects an absolute, and when it comes to human beings, absolutes are difficult: there are so many shades of grey. We can have friends, casual or close. We can have acquaintances. Is my endodontist my friend or just the guy that does my root canal? (Actually, I like him...) But a doctor is generally not a friend, and hopefully never an enemy.

And in terms of enemies, I know that as a teacher, I have really annoyed some students; kids hate it when teachers follow the rules. I get that: I can be a pain. I do not look at these youngsters and think they are my enemies. I hope that even the person standing on my last nerve is not my enemy. He/she may certainly not be my friend, but I trust he/she is also not my enemy.

There are too many degrees in between friend and enemy. And thank God for that! (How hard would it be to send Christmas cards then?)

 

howesk's profile pic

howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

The nuances of relationships can't be so simply defined. What about the frenemies so frequently discussed in today's media? How do you know if a friend is truly a friend? Where do you draw the line between friendly acquaintance and friend?

I think it's an interesting idea to think in terms of friend or not friend, enemy or not enemy, because one can certainly be not a friend, and yet not an enemy.

rskardal's profile pic

rskardal | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

I think there are dynamics beyond what you've discussed. I think most religious people would suggest that their relationship with the divine operates outside of the perameters you highlight. I'm not an expert, but I think Confucians believe in the relationships between the parent and the child, the ruler and the subject, the friends, the older sibling and younger, and the teacher and the student. I think Christians and Muslims both identify their relationship with God outside the perameters you've set up as well.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

What about co-worker?  Now, there's an interesting relationship.  Not a friend, but not an enemy--at least not all the time. [just being facetitious and not trying to be like "George Bush"]

drrab's profile pic

drrab | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Ok. Pretty neat comments. But the quotation, which by the way is from the Cree ,does not allow for middle of the road, or neutrality.

So, as #7 pointed out we had a President who liked to use "Forced Choice." Many survey instruments are designed as forced choice also, with no opportunity to choose neutral (Or don't care). Yet this is how we have been trained to think: in either/or terms. But, what is the opposite of cold if not "not cold"? Surely, one does not necessarily have to be "hot".

lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I have to agree with the above posts, there are far too many types of relationships to classify everyone as either a friend or an enemy. People we have relationships at work is one example, they may not be friends, but they certainly are not enemies.

ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

The nuances of human relationships are fluid. They ebb and flow, and they cross barriers. This being said, it is not safe to say that relationships breakdown into either friends or enemies. My boss is my boss, and while I respect him, he is not my friend. My husband is my best friend, but he is also my lover. As access teacher has mentioned, there is a broad spectrum along the lines of human emotion and relationships, so it cannot be broken down into one or the other.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I have to agree with mshurn here in #4. Don't force us into some kind of George Bush dichotomy, where we are either "with" the United States or "against" them, whatever you do! With all of these issues, there is a wide spectrum that can encompass a plethora of positions. Between friend and enemy are of course many degrees, such as acquaintance, that need to be recognised.

larrygates's profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The statement you pose assumes that there is a certain polarity in relationships that can never be compromised. I do not agree. A friend is a person with whom one can share in varying degrees. A friend is one who will listen when one needs a sympathetic ear; will rejoice in ones good fortune, will pick one up when one falls, will not always tell one that which he wishes to hear; but will always tell one what he needs to hear. There are many people with whom one might have a cordial relationship; say a colleague at work, or a neighbor across the fence; but one does not share ones personal life with such a person. At the same time, that person is not an enemy. An enemy is a person against whom one must always be on his guard, can never turn his back. To assume there is no in between is a gross oversimplification.

clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I agree with previous posts.  What about "aquaintences?"  I would consider this a relationship that is neither friend nor enemy.  I also agree that there is a relationship that goes even beyond "friend" as in the case of mates, partners, lovers, etc.

As a parent, I would not consider my children to be my friends nor my enemies.  They are my children.  Certainly I have a relationship with them, but it is a completely different type of relationship from the spectrum described above.

mshurn's profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

No, I don't think it's true because it overlooks other gradations on the spectrum. For instance, here's the graph:

Friend                                      Neutral                                 Enemy

Neutral stands at the center of the spectrum because "neutral" means neither friend nor enemy. However, one can be less than a friend without being an enemy. An enemy, by definition, seeks to defeat, harm, or even destroy another. If I am not your friend, that does not mean I want to hurt you!

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In terms of personal relationships and those between countries, there are relationships of convenience or situation.  I have collegial relationships at work, some with people I don't particularly like, but who certainly aren't my enemies.  We have a working relationship because we need to, and because we work at the same place with the same goals.

Countries do something similar, actually most of the time (there are very few true enemies or true allies).  Israel is technically our "friend", but in the end, we both act in our own self interests.  We need each other for various strategic reasons, and so we have a working relationship.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Are we talking about people here or about countries?

For people, I think that there are other relationships.  Surely the relationship of lovers or spouses is different than friends or enemies (even if it has elements of both).  So is the relationship between parents and children or between siblings.

For countries, I might agree with the statement because there are no analogues, really, to these more intimate relationships that I was talking about among people.

keshia74's profile pic

keshia74 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

The nuances of human relationships are fluid. They ebb and flow, and they cross barriers. This being said, it is not safe to say that relationships breakdown into either friends or enemies. My boss is my boss, and while I respect him, he is not my friend. My husband is my best friend, but he is also my lover. As access teacher has mentioned, there is a broad spectrum along the lines of human emotion and relationships, so it cannot be broken down into one or the other.

This question is sonically haunting as it involves a definite shade of gray. There is no absolute here and good thing for human kind that there is not! I need that shade of gray- that area before an assoicate becomes a friend or a friend becomes a lover - or a lover becomes my confidente - and eventually my best friend- Or maybe not- maybe they will remain in their own titled box or entitled space. But it can not be summed up as friend or enemy. As I dont know you now--- What r you to me?

 

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