“You are free to choose who you associate with.”

The general perspective her in the US is that everyone has a right to do what they want as long as they don’t impede on your personal rights.

Culturally, or at least growing up in a liberal environment, I seemed to have been taught to take it one step beyond and assume that we also have to accept their rights to free choice and be involved in their life – even if we disagree with them.

However, in truth, this is a falsity. In fact, I would argue that we have a fundamental responsibility to ourselves, and perhaps to the other party, to tell them when we are not interested in being involved with them for whatever reason, we might choose.

Now, this is not to say, we should do this willy-nilly, since how many of us have enough friends, that we can chance losing possible friends.  Every friend is precious.

However, we also can’t pretend that we sanction the actions of those people that we fundamentally disagree with.  To just “smile and wave” would not be morally responsible and further, isn’t true to ourselves.

I realized that I had a few people in my life, that for whatever reason, I don’t want to associate with.  They are good people.  But for whatever reason, I don’t think it is a healthy relationship for me to be involved with them due to certain actions that they have taken – or not taken.   I’m sure you have them in your life too.

In the past, I would have just “smiled and waved” but this time I decided I would take a stand, and suggested that we not continue our relationship.

Interestingly, in doing so, I realized that it make the rest of my friendships that much meaningful, since I am not just friends with anyone and everyone, rather, it is a choice, and one that I don’t take lightly.  So those friends that I do have, are people that I respect, and admire.

So think about your associates, and ask yourself if you still choose to be with them or not.  Then, if needed, take action accordingly.

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