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or should not be broken off when the friends do not remain the same. It may be said that where the motive of the friendship is utility or pleasure, it is not unnatural that it should be broken off when our friends no longer possess the attribute of being useful or agreeable. It was those attributes that we loved, and when they have failed it is reasonable that love should cease. But a man might well complain, if, though we really liked him for the profit or pleasure he afforded, we had pretended to love him for his character. As was said at the outset,1 differences between friends most frequently arise when the nature of their friendship is not what they think it is. 3. [2] When therefore a man has made a mistake, and has fancied that he was loved for his character, without there having been anything in his friend's behavior to warrant the assumption, he has only himself to blame. But when he has been deceived by his friend's pretence, there is ground for complaint against the deceiver: in fact he is a worse malefactor than those who counterfeit the coinage,2 inasmuch as his offence touches something more precious than money. 3. [3]

Again, supposing we have admitted a person to our friendship as a good man, and he becomes, or we think he has become, a bad man: are we still bound to love him? Perhaps it is impossible to do so, since only what is good is lovable; and also wrong, for we ought not to be lovers of evil, nor let ourselves become like what is worthless; and, as has been said above,3 like is the friend of like. Should we therefore break off the friendship at once? Perhaps not in every case, but only when our friends have become incurably bad; for so long as they are capable of reform we are even more bound to help them morally than we should be to assist them financially, since character is a more valuable thing than wealth and has more to do with friendship. However, one could not be held to be doing anything unnatural if one broke off the friendship; for it was not a man of that sort that one loved: he has altered, and if one cannot restore him, one gives him up. 3. [4]

On the other hand, suppose one friend to have remained the same while the other has improved, and become greatly the superior in virtue: ought the latter to keep up the friendship? Perhaps it is out of the question; and this becomes especially clear when the gap between them is a wide one, as may happen with two people who were friends in boyhood. One may have remained a boy in mind, while the other is a man of the highest ability; how can they be friends, when they have different tastes and different likes and dislikes? They will no longer even enjoy each other's society; but without this, intercourse and therefore friendship are, as we saw,4 impossible. But this has been discussed already. 3. [5]

Are we then to behave towards a former friend in exactly the same way as if he had never been our friend at all? Perhaps we ought to remember our past intimacy, and just as we think it right to show more kindness to friends than to strangers, so likewise some attention should be paid, for the sake of old times, to those who were our friends in the past, that is, if the rupture was not caused by extreme wickedness on their part.

1 Cf. 8.13.5.

2 At Athens the penalty for coining was death.

3 Cf. 8.1.6.

4 Cf. 8.5.3.

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