gets more use

"A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.”

What does the quote mean?

***** NOT A TEACHER *****


I cannot explain the “a fool [gets use] from his friends” part, but I think that I can explain the first part.

  1. I like to walk. Unfortunately, many bicyclists are afraid to ride on the street (I don’t blame them! Those cars are dangerous!). So they ride on the sidewalks. Those bicyclists are my “enemies.” I never know when one of them is in back of me. If I move to the right or left (not knowing that a bicyclist is right behind me), I could easily be knocked down. So I have gotten some “use” from those “enemies.” I have been forced to walk more carefully. Before I move to the right or left on the sidewalk, I look to the side or behind before proceeding.

  2. I have visited at least 10 different language forums in order to ask questions or participate in discussions. On one forum, there was a really rude person who would post very nasty remarks to me. And sometimes I would answer him with serious and reasonable replies, but he continued. So I got “use” from him in this way: He “taught” me to ignore rude comments on the Web. As the saying goes, I now refuse to dignify rude remarks with a reply.

Here is a short poem by Kahlil Gibran:

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.”