The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Thought You Knew: Some Enemies are Worth the Fight

3 min read

The most useful thing I learned in my sophomore year Introduction to Logic class came from one of my professor’s offhand comments.

“Not enough people have enemies,” she said, laughing. “There’s just something so invigorating about having an enemy.”

It struck me as odd because we’re always taught to befriend everyone, even if we’d rather not, and you’re certainly not allowed to openly dislike a person.

You all enjoy the thrill of hating someone, whether you’ll admit it or not. I’ve been in classes where I made friends solely because we bonded over a mutual hatred of another member of the class.

It’s not the most attractive characteristic, but if you’ve never made a friend because you both didn’t like the same person, I bet you’re responsible for a lot of other peoples’ friendships.

There’s just something immensely rewarding talking about how awful a person is. Sure, you have to endure their inane comments, grating voice and complete stupidity on a regular basis, but you also get to complain (something we all love to do, but not to hear) and you get to revel in one of the most basic human joys: the shared experience.

So, now that I’ve reminded you that you really do love to hate and of how much fun it is, let’s talk enemies. All those people you and your new friends don’t like? Those aren’t your enemies. They’re just there to help you warm up for when a real nemesis surfaces.

Real nemeses should be few and far between–not everyone is worth the effort it takes to actively dislike them.

My golden rule is that someone can only be my enemy if they’ve wronged me in some way. So, yes, that girl from art is beyond annoying, but she’s also nice and has never actually done anything to you on purpose. She is a nuisance, for sure, but not an enemy.

The true enemies are the ones who send you into an excited rage at the mere mention of their name. An enemy is not someone you hope to avoid and ignore.

Confrontation between your nemesis should never actually occur, as the mystique would likely dissipate as soon as you passive aggressively make eye contact then quickly avert your gaze, but you should never shy away from the idea.

I actually only have one true enemy, which is more than enough. It’s fun to seethe when some friends talk about how they hung out with her and obsessing over how terrible she is has become one of my favorite pastimes.

I never have to see her, but the possibility is always looming overhead. And, to make things even more exciting, she still comments to the friend who misguidedly introduced us about how she doesn’t like me.

Really, I couldn’t ask for a more perfect nemesis.

She started the feud the instant we met by openly hating me because I reminded her of someone else she doesn’t like.

I still tried to get to know her, thinking perhaps she just had a bitchy face and wasn’t actually a bitch, but it became pretty clear that I didn’t stand a chance.

This blatant disregard for social decency was concerning, as it’s a trait most commonly seen in people like Charles Manson, but ultimately I can only thank my enemy for reinforcing the valuable lesson that the answer to the age-old question “why can’t we be friends?” can be as simple as “I’ve hated you from the moment I met you for no real reason.” Plus, now if I’m murdered over the weekend, we’ll probably know who did it.

I could wax poetic about the importance of a good enemy for days, but most people don’t fall into that category. Much like finding love, finding a true enemy is a rare and monumental occasion and should be treated as such.