There is an English expression, "If you can't beat them, join them."

For example,

After competing with Microsoft for so many years, he finally accepted the lucrative offer and joined as their head of software development. You know what they say, "if you can't beat them, join them!"

Is there a 成语 or 俗语 to this effect?

3 Answers 3


The essence of "If you can't beat them, join them." is "It is better to be practical and join the winning side than being stubborn and stick to one's own position."

The example you gave for this idiom, describes "識時務者為俊傑" (Ones who understand situations and act accordingly, are the elites) very well.


"Ones who understand situations are elites" means when the opponent is too strong to overcome, you can only conform to the situation to avoid meaningless lost"



21c's entry for join

if you can't beat them join them


souhu has an article entitled:


youdao's entry on 胜之 says:


The music industry is beginning to realize that they must adopt the "If you can’t beat 'em, join 'em" mentality when it comes to dealing with pirates.

another example of usage:


It doesn't seem altogether too common, and most likely is copied over and over from 21c, but if it is showing up in headlines on souhu I would imagine it is quite acceptable.


a qq article even put:


as the saying goes - if you can't beat them, join them.

  • I bet it is not a native saying, only a translation.
    – sfy
    Oct 30, 2017 at 3:23
  • @Jacob Yes, but there seems to be growth of usage.
    – Mou某
    Oct 30, 2017 at 3:24
  • 无力胜之则从之 is a bit different in meaning from "if you can't beat them, join them!"
    – dan
    Oct 30, 2017 at 4:14

I got this:

Walk close with your friends, walk even closer with your enemies.

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