I take the direct approach—and, surely, that cannot be friendly. Yet opposition is true friendship. Blake said that, and it accords with the general observation by Heraclitus that war is the king of all—if there isn’t strife, it isn’t real; and that includes friendship and love too. But I don’t make points that are tendentious, as most people do—I don’t think, “How can I be difficult?” or “How can I tease him?”. If I did that, it wouldn’t be real strife—it would be pseudo-strife, beneath which the real issue would always lurk. So it’s better to give frank opposition than to be “a fren”—it’s to be a real friend, since most people are too afraid to lose a friendship to say what they actually think or feel about a situation.
People hate-love it. They don’t like it but they do like it—perhaps they don’t know what to do with it. “So direct.” It’s not very English but what’s bad about the English is the way they get lost in politeness and clever irony and then you never know what they really mean—and perhaps they don’t know either, really. It can charm, but it’s also a dream that sickens and deludes. So I go straight in, not just for the sake of it but because there is something to say—if there wasn’t, I wouldn’t. I’m not after strife for its own sake. Besides, you have plenty of people who pretend to agree with you (or pretend to disagree with you—yes, that too), don’t you?
It’s often the case there’s something repressed in the interlocutor, something that secretly drives them. “Sooner strangle a baby in its crib than nurse an unacted upon desire.” The repressed desire will determine you, flip you over one day—cause you to do the opposite of your stated desire. It’s like evil: evil will win and win until the last battle—then the tiny repressed speck of light will reverse everything.