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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,1 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. 8.5.3.

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