I've been looking for an English equivalent of the Chinese, "不怕神一样的对手 就怕猪一样的队友," which has been, rather directly, translated as:

We fear not God-like rivals, but pig-like team members

and rather funnily enough attributed to JFK.

  • Did JFK ever say anything even remotely close to this?

  • Are there other idiomatic phrases in English that resemble "We fear not God-like rivals, but pig-like team members"? (i.e: who needs enemies, with friends like you?)

  • A different U.S. president, Warren G. Harding, expressed a similar sentiment: "I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies all right. But my damn friends...They're the ones that keep me walking the floor nights."
    – D Krueger
    Jul 13, 2014 at 14:11
  • Negli amici guarda mi Dio; negli nemmici mi guardo io. (This was taught to me decades ago by a new immigrant, so the spelling is not guaranteed.) Its meaning: Among my friends, God guards me; among my enemies, I guard myself. Jul 14, 2014 at 21:12
  • Questions about whether someone said something are more usual on history.stackexchange.com but someone here might know.
    – Stuart F
    Jun 17, 2021 at 14:03

2 Answers 2


(With apologies and thanks to Janus)

Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

It's sometimes used as an ironic twist on

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.


This is a quote, but it reads like a proverb.

A strong foe is better than a weak friend. (Edward Dahlberg)

I have also found other expressions of your version:

A weak teammate does more harm than the enemy.


What one should really fear is not a competent enemy, but an incompetent ally.

[Aside: I can't resist posting this quotation from Oscar Wilde which I found while doing research for this answer:

Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much.]

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