“You ought to choose both physician and friend not the most agreeable, but the most useful.” -Epictetus
That is not to say to us that we should be using our friends anymore than we use our physician, or mechanic, or anyone we have a reciprocal relationship with. If we remember however, that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, we will also remember how important our friend choices are.
We should all be aiming to be better friends. Better friends are the type of people who have friends that know without a doubt that they are valued by them. Our friends should know that we consider them important and that we will go out of our way to make certain that they can feel that. Like a lot of social interactions though, our act of making our friends feel important has to come from a genuine place.
It is easier to be genuine about looking up to our friends if they actually possess traits that we admire about them. It is hard to stay friends with someone we look down on or feel sorry for because we struggle to make them feel important. It is true we could likely find things to admire about just about anyone we encounter in life but if we are early in our journey along this path we should be making choices that are going to lead to success. In the beginning, that is going to mean choosing to associate with the friends that we naturally admire and developing the skill of making sure they know that they are important to us.
As we get better our circle of friends can grow infinitely larger based on our ability to find admirable traits in others.
virtus fortis vocat