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Ought we then to make as many friends as possible? or, just as it seems a wise saying about hospitality— “ Neither with troops of guests nor yet with none

1— so also with friendship perhaps it will be fitting neither to be without friends nor yet to make friends in excessive numbers. [2] This rule would certainly seem applicable to those friends whom we choose for their utility2; for it is troublesome to have to repay the services of a large number of people, and life is not long enough for one to do it. Any more therefore than are sufficient for the requirements of one's own life will be superfluous, and a hindrance to noble living, so one is better without them. Of friends for pleasure also a few are enough, just as a small amount of sweets is enough in one's diet. [3] But should one have as many good friends as possible? or is there a limit of size for a circle of friends, as there is for the population of a state? Ten people would not make a city, and with a hundred thousand it is a city no longer; though perhaps the proper size is not one particular number, but any number between certain limits.

1 Hes. WD 715

2 But cf. 8.6.3.

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