We've heard the ads saying "Friends don't let friends drive drunk." Or, "Friends don't let friends smoke." They are played frequently and seep into our brains as though they are facts. These words sound noble on the surface. Underneath, however, these sayings intimate that not to follow these words makes you a bad friend; which can result in feelings of anger or shame.
The use of the word "let" is a problem. "Let" is synonymous with allow and permit. These are actions taken by parents and other authority figures. It is a form of power and control. Power and control are not within the aura of friendship. Friends are people who share common interests, and feel mutual compassion and respect. Friends enjoy each other's company and are there for each other during positive and negative life events. In fact, if a friend starts trying to control another friend...the friendship usually ends. In addition, controlling someone other than ourselves is basically an illusion. If it were an absolute truth, such entities as spankings and prisons wouldn't exist.
Within the beauty of friendship, it is more loving and realistic to suggest or offer help to friends. Rather than telling a friend that you won't 'let' him drive drunk, offer to take his keys. Or suggest he take a cab or ride with a sober friend. The difference here is that you are showing compassionate friendship without dominating or controlling. You have made the offer, now the decision is your friends. We all know that we all make bad decisions but we have to accept that and live with it.
Consider the awesome friends you have in your life. You love them. They make you smile and cry. You can continue to be a beautiful friend by being there. Not by "letting".