It’s better to have a….. (pause) smart enemy, than a dumb friend.
The speaker was sharing to their family-friends at a get-together about a proverb that they had heard. The pause in the middle took place as the speaker tried to remember the exact wording of the phrase, before finally remembering.
This proverb is quite interesting as it makes a point about relationships and how one should view the people around them. While it is unclear what culture this proverb is typically passed around, it can be viewed in a Western perspective on how relationships are prioritized. Often, in Western society, life and success is viewed in a very self-serving manner. What is best for me? How can I get myself to succeed and be on top? If we use that lens to understand this proverb, one can gather that this is making a point of a smart enemy that can be more respected, as they understand what it means to be self-servicing and doing the best for themselves. While with a “dumb friend”, they may be an ally, but they do not fit into the ideals of what a capitalist society would want, thus making it the weaker option to the “smart enemy”. While there could be many interpretations of this proverb, it is interesting to see how this would be interpreted in a Western, capitalist society.