The meaning of a friend has been meditated upon by many people, including Aristotle.
A friend is typically defined as those persons with whom you have a bond of mutual affection that excludes sexual relations and family.
This bond however can be just as strong and complex as the ones we have with romantic partners and family. We support their ups and downs, accept their differences, and keep them around even when they behave badly.
But, when does a friend become more trouble than he or she is worth? Aristotle says when the friend becomes depraved:
The dissolution of friendship is warranted when one part has become depraved, since he has changed from being the person who was the object of friendship. Aristotle- Nicomachean Ethics
Aristotle himself must have struggled with giving a friend or two their walking papers. Today, friendship experts call these depraved, troublesome friendships toxic. It is not only justifiable to end such friendships, they say, but vital to your welfare.
…..Give yourself permission to move away from a friendship that is hurting you. Remember, even the great philosopher Aristotle gives you the okay to end friendships that take away from you. Some friendships are not meant to last forever.
If you decide it is time to let the friendship go, appreciate what you have learned about people and about yourself through the friendship.
Just because it may be time to let go of the friendship doesn’t mean you have to tear up the history you shared with the person. After all, this is your history.
Some people join us on our journey for a time to teach us about something valuable to our living, no matter how painful the lesson may be. You can find a way to part graciously, if you try.