In Of Mice And Men, Steinbeck uses the actions of characters to show the that one's desire for power is stronger than one's desire for friendship
"Gosh, you're a lot of trouble. I could get along so nice if I didn't have you on my tail." (7)
And when power is threatened, you may try to control your friends at the relationship's expense.
"But you ain't gonna get in no trouble, because if you do, I won't let you tend the rabbits." (16)
"...What's he have on his shoulder?" (26)
Often, friendship is sacrificed for power over others.
"That's the boss's son, Curley's pretty handy." (26)
George's attitude towards taking care of Lennie shows that he would rather have power to do what he wants than to have Lennie as a companion. The quote explains that George sees the freedom he would have as more important than his relationship with Lennie.
Similarly, the desire for power and respect from others can throw away old friendships.
"Candy looked a long time at Slim to try to find some reversal. And Slim gave him none. At last Candy said softly and hopelessly, 'Awright take 'im.'"(47)
The characters are about to enter the ranch, and George orders Lennie to be quiet so they don't lose the job. This action exhibits how George esteems the money from the job to be more vital than allowing his friend to have power to act for himself. This almost selfish action shows that when there is a chance for power, George doesn't care about his friendship with Lennie.
Sometimes, a desire for power can push others away.
"You got no right to come in my room. This here's my room. Nobody got any right in here but me." (68)
This quote shows how Curley bosses around the ranchers for little reason, and how this action has caused the ranchers to hate him. This reveals how Curley wants to control everyone around him, and because of this he has caused all his potential friends to draw away. This sacrifice of friendship for power shows how the innate desire for power trumps the natural desire for good relationships.
Ultimately, when given a chance to have power, even the strongest friendships can be thrown away to aquire it.
"No, Lennie. I ain't mad. I never been mad. I ain't now. That's a thing I want ya to know." (106)
This quote shows Candy giving into peer pressure, and being convinced to kill his dog. This reveals how Candy decided to kill the dog he loved in order to gain respect and social power among the ranchers by removing the useless dog. This shows how even strong friends will be thrown away for something that seems more important at the time.
This exhibits how Crooks is protecting what little power he has by pushing away those who want to socialize with him. This shows how the desire to have power can make you ignore or forget about those around you.
In this dramatic moment, George kills his best friend Lennie not only to protect him from the others, but by doing this George also frees himself from Lennie. Though their friendship was very powerful, in a agonizing decision George decides to destroy it for his own gain and protection. If he had protected Lennie, he would have gone to jail too. This action shows that in the end, even best friends can be rejected for a chance to have power.