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Love Your Enemies: 7 Practical Tips To Turn An Enemy Into a Friend

Love Your Enemies: 7 Practical Tips To Turn An Enemy Into a Friend

It is almost universally agreed that one of the greatest and most challenging ethical commands is this: to love your enemies. Many people dismiss this command because they find it impractical, difficult, or downright impossible to follow. One way to apply this law is by learning how to turn an enemy into a friend. Here are seven practical tips:

1. Sincerely apologize

Have you ever heard an apology that went something like this: “I am sorry if I offended you”, or “I am sorry but…”. This type of apology will not work if you want to make an enemy your friend. You must apologize sincerely for your part of the dispute, even if you feel like you are not at fault. You must take full responsibility for it. You must say “I am sorry.”

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2. Forgive the person

Let them know that you forgive them for hurting you. Forgive them truly in your heart. They may remain hostile for a while. But, if you persevere and maintain an attitude of forgiveness toward them, they will eventually respond to your desire for reconciliation and peace.

3. Focus on their good qualities

This might be hard to believe but it is possible to find good qualities in almost anyone. When we have quarrels and disputes with people, it is very easy to fixate on the negative aspects of the person that are causing you to react. This prevents us from seeing what’s good about them. Do you best to step outside of this framework and you will be able to see their good qualities again. Make this your focus. Offer them sincere praise for the qualities you see.

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4. Speak well of them resist the urge to gossip

This is a crucial step. Gossiping about others, especially about our enemies, come so easily to us that it takes a superhuman effort to resist. In order to make this person your friend you must. When speaking about your enemy to others, speak well of them. What you say about others behind their backs will eventually get to them. When you respect them in this way, they will want to return the favor.

5. Discover what you share in common

Whether it be a love for a sport or a similar hobby, exploiting shared interests is a great way to connect with your would-be friend. Get them to talk about themselves and their interests. Invite them to a game. Try to get them to engage in a hobby with you.

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6. Offer help if they are clearly in some need

This is also an important step. Again, we often ignore the ways our enemies struggle. By opening your eyes and seeing life from their point of view, you will discover opportunities to meet some need they might have. For instance, someone may have just lost a close family friend. Taking the time out to express sympathy or to send a card can go a long way to making a friend out of an enemy.

7. Love the person

Yes, we have come to the hardest step. We think it’s impossible to love our enemies because we misunderstand the nature of love. It is not a thing that flow effortlessly, without requiring pain and sacrifice. This kind of love is shallow and fleeting. If it does not grow into something deeper, it is not true love. True love is a conscious decision and often requires focus and effort. Decide in your heart to love the person you now consider your enemy. Decide daily to treat them with compassion.

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Loving your enemy creates the possibility of friendship. Love is life-giving, even in harsh soil. Plant your seeds of love today and watch them grow into something beautiful.

Featured photo credit: Bergadder via pixabay.com

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Cylon George

A spiritual chaplain and blogger who writes about practical spiritual tips for busy people.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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