My kids have made wise choices about who their friends are, for the most part. There have been a couple of minor incidents where we were able to help them see that the people they were associating with weren't the kind of company they wanted to keep. I've never told my kids they weren't allowed to hang out with a particular child...I let them choose for themselves. My son had a friend that he had known for several years, but they didn't see each other on a regular basis. They would see each other a couple times each year.
It was one such occasion that the boys were together, along with several other kids. As the boys were playing soccer, the friend in question started harping on one of the other friends that was present, just because he wasn't as athletic. It wasn't cool to watch and we tried to calmly correct this situation, but it's tricky disciplining someone else's kid. Yuck. It was awkward, at best. After the gathering, we had opportunity to talk with our son. I told him that it was fun to see Kid A at the gathering because we don't get to see him very often. I reminded him that Kid B is a great friend and it's fun to get to see him on a weekly basis. And then I asked him if he had seen how Kid A was treating Kid B. He had. Did he like it? Nope. He then made the decision on his own that he probably wouldn't invite Kid A to hang around when there were other kids around. He actually hasn't invited Kid A to hang out at all after that. Bravo!
It's not that we want to just hang out with people that puff us up with empty ego stroking. It's not that we should only hang out with people that are just like us and believe everything we believe. It's good to be stretched sometimes. But our core circle of people should be people that are honest, and trustworthy, and fun, for sure. More than anything, though, I want to like who I am when I am with them. I want to be genuinely me, and still like me when I'm with them. I don't think that's too much to ask.
Do you like who you are when you're with your core group of friends and associates? Choose wisely because it will reflect on who you are--even if you are a person of integrity. In the book I read, it says "bad company corrupts good character."