Today, I discuss when you should stop associating with someone.

Table of Contents

How Much Value Does The Relationship Bring You?

value relationships | friends bonfire

We should analyze our relationships based on value: does this person make me more virtuous? Do they decrease my stress? Challenge me in productive ways? And, do I do these things for them?

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” – C.S. Lewis

Despite the braying of collectivists, relationships are not a one-way street. Relationships should bring value to everyone involved and ensure the virtuous ends of individuals are met. Relationships that do not accomplish these goals should be reduced or eliminated.

Therefore, when looking at your friendships, you must ask yourself: how much value does this bring me? And, does this relationship serve my virtuous ends? Of course, value is deeper than money or resources: there is value in a friend who listens or a lover who provides emotional stability. A relationship is valuable when it helps you become the best version of yourself.

Lastly, once you determine a relationship’s value, you should understand the parameters. The intimacy, longevity, promises to be kept, societal expectations, and so on play a role in how you should approach your friendships. You are an individual. But, you are neither an island nor a completely autonomous being.

Be Critical Of Yourself

Self-improvement | person holding mirror

You can continuously improve. Sometimes, your weakness can sabotage relationships.

When you want to stop associating with someone, you have to understand what you want to accomplish. What is bothering you? What do you want from this relationship that you are not getting? Are you reasonable?

All friendships are two-way streets. You must take the time to determine if you are the problem. The best way to determine this is through self-reflection as well as personal improvement. If you are constantly working on making yourself better, you gain insight into the relationship’s problems.

Ending a relationship or reducing the time invested in it are not easy decisions. One way to remove your sense of guilt and pettiness is to pursue virtue. The more you improve yourself by removing comfort from your life, the sharper your objectivity becomes.

Engage With The Other Person

Communicate with others | people talking at table

Communicate your needs with your friends, family, and coworkers. Never seek passive aggressiveness or assumptions.

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

When ending or reducing a relationship, you must seek to engage with the other person. Excluding abusive relationships, everyone is worthy of an explanation or at least a chance. However, the effort you put forward is based on the relationship’s quality.

You can end a work friendship without much fanfare: the relation is based on a job and necessity. However, a familial relationship, especially a parental one, requires much more consideration.

What’s the best way to engage with others? Start by understanding what you want and how the relationship is not meeting your virtuous needs. Remember, this is not about your comfort or pettiness. If your parents are boring but moral people, then learn some patience. If your friend is helpful, but a little abrasive, then learn some courage. If your husband or wife can be a little distracting, then learn some fortitude.

Seek Self-Improvement For Both Parties

Value relationship | friends laughing

Remember, you must bring value to the relationship as well.

When you know what you want, then seek a way to reach that end with the persons you are talking to. You must serve the virtuous ends of others as much as they serve yours.

Therefore, are you failing to help your friend or family? You may need to improve. And we all know what self-improvement is: emotional control, better health and wellbeing, sustainable futures, responsible and meaningful goals, and so on. You should help people accomplish these goals a much as they should help you.

Remember, you do not have to end every relationship when there is disagreement. Sometimes, an honest, dedicated effort to change can help resolve issues. If you invest time helping others while improving yourself and nothing changes, you should consider ending the relationship.

Always Consider Reduction and Communication Over Elimination

Self-improvement | Man welding

Sometimes, you have to cut back on the time you spend with others as you improve yourself.

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” – Aristotle

Lastly, remember that you can always scale back the time, energy, and effort you invest in a relationship. Not every relationship needs termination when problems arise.

For example, if you want to lose weight, you’ll need more time to go to the gym, rest, and eat properly. Because of this, you may not have as much time to spend with friends and family. This reduction is inevitable when you seek to improve yourself. Therefore, elimination is not needed. Communicate with the people in your life. If you are trying to improve yourself, then let them know. If they mock or hinder your efforts, then you know what to do. But most people are amiable to your growth and will seek ways to balance their want to see you with your desire to become your best self.

Lastly, where can you cut the time that you waste? Are you playing too many games, binging too much television, or absorb in a myriad of distractions? Get rid of these things and reinvest that time into your relationships.

The Criticism Against Your Decisions Is Inevitable

Collectivist | Protester

Collectivists do not like free, capable, and responsible individuals. They never have and they never will.

People will complain about what I have written. But notice: I have not advocated for any whim worshipping. You should never end your relationships on a whim. You must engage with your community while respecting your own needs and wants.

And that’s what collectivists do not like. When individuals can leave relationships that do not serve their virtuous ends, then the lazy and disinterested are always negatively affected. Collectivists do not like the reality that individuals can and often do have wisdom. Especially when individuals have been encouraged to pursue virtue, build a sustainable future, and reduce their vices.

Thus, do not feel shame or guilt when you must move on. Some people are not here to help you. Reduce or eliminate relationships that do not serve your virtuous ends. And ensure you are doing your part to help those who are good to you.


  1. Which relationships are your favorite? Why? What value do the people you associate with bring?
  2. Have you ever ended a friendship or familial relationship before? Why? Do you believe you made the right decision?
  3. What can you do to ensure your friends, family, or partner is living their best lives? What are their goals, and how can you help them achieve their virtuous ends?

Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume. *Image credit to Unsplash.