On Friendship by Cicero

I will now speak about friendships which occur, not between wise and good men, but which happen more generally. What is important is that one never breaks off a friendship in a disastrous way. If a relationship is not working, it is best to have the friendship slowly come to an end rather than to have it escalate into some sort of confrontation. It is better to unstitch the seams then to force it apart. If, however, there was some terrible and unfortunate act committed, then it would be only natural to immediately dissolve the union as soon as possible.

When it’s simply a matter of a shift in personality, in the changing of opinions or political views, then one must not allow a friend to become an enemy. One must act gracefully, recognizing that it is only the end of a friendship, and not a declaration of war. For if someone was once your friend, it is shameful to allow them to become your enemy. Therefore, we must make sure there are no rifts in our friendships, and if one has to come to an end, we must see to it that this happens in a peaceful way. A friend should never hurl insults at a former friend, but if received, one must accept them even still out of respect for the friendship which once was.

The best way to avoid the problems of dealing with a failing friendship is therefore to not become attached to just anybody. Pick your friends wisely, for those that are capable of being good friends are indeed rare.